This week I’ve been mentally compiling a list of self-evident truths that cannot be denied. You can ignore them but you can’t disprove them. Here is my list so far, with a few explanatory comments: 1. Life goes on. No matter what we do, life goes on. If we foul up, life goes on. If we hit the jackpot, life goes on. Whether we laugh or cry, shout or whisper, no matter what we do or how we do it, we cannot stop the march of time. A corollary of this truth is, Life is not a dress rehearsal. You aren’t going to be here forever so don’t waste your days sitting in front the TV, eating cookies, and dreaming you were in Cancun. You won’t be here forever so make the most of every day.
2. You can’t change another person. In all of history no one has successfully changed anyone else, although frustrated husbands and unhappy wives have tried every trick in the book. We tend to forget that the door of motivation is locked from the inside. We can beg, plead, cajole, threaten, and even bribe all day long, but people change when they are ready to change-and not before.
3. Only God can change the heart. This is the flip side of what I just said. The transforming power of the gospel rests on the truth that God can reach inside a person and he can change them from the inside out. This thought should give us great hope-and it should certainly motivate us to pray for our friends and loved ones more fervently than we do.
4. There is no growth without struggle. Or you might say, There’s no free lunch. This is true in everyday life and it is also true in the spiritual realm. Nothing worthwhile comes easily or quickly. And generally speaking, the more worthwhile something is, the more it will cost you in time, effort, blood, sweat and tears. Too many people quit when the going gets rough. If only they would persevere a while longer, victory would be theirs.
5. Everything has a purpose. If God is God, this must be true. Nothing happens by accident. This includes the worst tragedies and the unexplainable heartache that good people often endure. Most of the time we will only dimly understand why God allows certain things to happen. And sometimes we see nothing at all.
Faith is a choice, not a feeling. As I get a little older and wiser, this truth seems ever more important. God never asks me to explain the unexplainable. He simply asks me to trust him. That’s where the choice comes in. Faith chooses to believe in God even when I don’t feel like it.
That’s my list so far. Further suggestions will be most welcome.