The Accelerating Train
If you aren’t experiencing it yet, you will. Each year goes by faster than the previous one. The reason is that, as you get older, each year is a smaller fraction of your life. I turned fifty-eight this year, so this year felt about twice as fast as when I was twenty-nine and more than four times faster than when I was fourteen.
Remember those “endless summers”? They now feel like a weekend to me.
It feels like I’m on an unstoppable accelerating train. I used to be able to look out the window and watch the landscape slowly pass by. Now I see only a blur.
And the only thing I know for sure is that this unstoppable accelerating train is going to run headlong into an immovable wall somewhere down the track, though I have no idea when.
If I believed this was my train’s final destination, this accelerating ride would be unnerving, to say the least. But that belief strikes me as utterly absurd. It reduces our life, and existence itself, to the most absurd and painful story ever told.
We randomly pop into existence as beings who assume that reality should make sense, but in the end, it does not? We long for good to overcome evil, but in the end, there is nothing truly good or evil? We long for our lives to have significance and purpose, but in the end, they do not, for in the end, nothing does?
According to this belief, the entire cosmos is an inexplicable, pointless, momentary hiccup sandwiched between two eternities of virtual nothingness. And the sickest part of this absurd and painful story is that this hiccup somehow produced beings like us who are, at the core of our being, completely incompatible with it!
The reason we embrace various beliefs is to explain things. But this belief explains absolutely nothing. In fact, it transforms our longing for an explanation into yet another absurdity!
No, the unstoppable, wall-bound, accelerating train that each of us are on cannot be the whole story. Our longings must be pointing us beyond the wall to an ultimate destination where things finally make sense, where good has vanquished evil, and where we discover the ultimate significance and purpose of our life, and of everything.
This is why the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the Gospel story that surrounds it rings true to me. Even apart from the compelling historical reasons we have for accepting the New Testament’s resurrection accounts, this story “fits” the innermost longings of our heart and mind. It makes sense our life, and of existence. It declares that good will overcome all evil. It proclaims that our lives have eternal significance and purpose.
If we truly internalize this belief, it transforms how we experience this accelerating wall-bound train ride. We are not part of the most absurd and painful story ever told. We are part of the most beautiful love story ever told! And the unstoppable acceleration of this train is not bad news; it is good news!
So as we say “goodbye” to the blur that was this last year and “hello” to the even blurrier year that is to come, I encourage us to remember, and to deeply internalize, the proclamation that Jesus Christ has risen.