Tuesday, April 10, 2012

And the data will set you free

While waiting in line for a bagel, I asked people if they knew where a certain store was.  Before I could put the question mark at the end of my sentence, the guy next to me sprang into action.  Like the Clint Eastwood of old, he pulled his smart phone from its holster faster than Dirty Harry Callahan facing a gang of evil punks.  With breathtaking speed, he rifled through screens, web pages, search engines and maps.  I was amazed at the velocity and poetry of his fingers flying across the screen.  Before you could say, “Go ahead, make my day.” he discovered that the store had gone out of business.  Turning to express my personal thanks, I grabbed my bagels and started to leave.

“Now wait just a minute” he barked, “I bet we can find another store just like it.”  With my arm in one hand and his smart phone in the other, he continued his frantic search by shouting voice commands into his handheld device.  As his voice moved the decibel meter ever upwards, so too his level of desperation rose.  Other patrons in the bakery started sliding away as the volume and intensity of his commands grew, and grew, and grew.   It quickly turned into one of those times that you just wanted to melt, find a crack in the floor and slip away quietly.

Now, if I was looking for a store to pick up my new kidney transplant, I might have wanted to go the extra mile in finding an alternative.  Not knowing where the closest fabric store was located is not a crushing blow to me, my wife nor will it have a dramatic impact on western civilization.  Life was going to continue on planet Earth.

With enough information instantly available, he truly believed the solution to my fabric store problem (or any problem for that matter) was within reach.  Unfortunately, this incident is neither strange nor abnormal to us.  Our culture has a belief (dare I say faith) in the idol of instant information.  There seems to be an ever accelerating demand for more data (most of it useless), and the ability to get to it right away.  In all areas of life, we need to know more.

Bob Woodward of Watergate fame recently said “The truth is not on the Internet.  The truth resides with people[i].”  Bob’s insight and clarity is spot on.  When we go looking for truth, it will not be found in a cold repository but rather in a relationship.

When looking for truth, meaning and purpose in life, it will only be found in a relationship.  And the only person ever claiming to offer a relationship addressing both truth and our deepest needs and longings is Jesus Christ.  Take a moment to look at three of his truth claims;

  1. The truth starts with Jesus – When Jesus said that he was the way, the truth and the life[ii], he is making a totally unique and extreme claim that truth about life is only through him.  Jesus claims that he can unmask our twisted view and show us ultimate reality, releasing us from ourselves and all that pains us.
  2. The truth frees through Jesus – As we look for freedom from the prison of pain, loneliness, fear, guilt and shame, a relationship with Jesus brings us to true truth.  He said that as we follow him, we will know the truth and he will set us free[iii].  The offer of freedom from all that haunts, hurts and harms is exactly what we desperately need and long for.
  3. The truth speaks through Jesus – Jesus claimed everyone that is of the truth hears his voice[iv].  When we go looking for truth, Jesus promises that he will speak, giving us strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

I know that there are many who are in desperate need and pain.  As you think back on Easter and the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, isn’t it also time to think about our own need for resurrection?  Resurrection from the pit of petty selfishness, arrogance and pride… Release from our personal prison, where we have hammered out the handcuffs that bind us.

I have found Jesus to be the truth that has set me free.  Free from myself, my past, my pain and anxiety.  Along with that freedom has come the power and desire to change, living for him and others each and every day.  I invite you to turn to him for yourself.

[i] WashingtonPost.com, April 4th 2012
[ii] John 14:6
[iii] John 8:32
[iv] John 18:37

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