I recently met with an old friend I hadn’t spoken with in a long time. I received a message from him out of nowhere, and he and I, along with a mutual friend of ours, grabbed a burger and caught up. He said he was sorry for being out of touch for years and went on to tell me why he’d been in hiding. He’d withdrawn from many friends for years and even hid certain parts of his life throughout the course of friendships. He had blatantly avoided calls and texts, and with every evasion, he withdrew deeper and deeper into his own personal darkness. But he was coming clean now and I admired his willingness to be candid and humble in a completely new way.
I listened to him share with us what he’d only ever told to very few people. It wasn’t easy and I’m sure he wasn’t thrilled to be saying it. Confession is good for the soul but it can be miserable to begin. While he was taking us deeper into his story, I kept thinking about hope.
Hope in darkness. Hope in loneliness. Hope in trial. Hope of a future. Hope that we do not have to stay the same. Hope can be a road that is hard to start down at first, but it leads us to redemption.
It sounds silly at first, but while he was speaking, I couldn’t help thinking about our lungs. Many people who smoke for years always say they want to quit, but they never begin the necessary steps it takes to quit. Some can quit cold turkey, but for most, it requires a weening off with nicotine patches or gum. The amazing part about quitting smoking is lungs restore over time. They somehow rebuild themselves and affects of the abuse slowly fade away. I believe our lives, like our lungs, are made to rejuvenate and be restored.
I saw a short video recently featuring an astrophysicist speaking about the matter in the universe and where we came from. She said the exact same elements which make up the human body can be found in stars. She concluded that all humans are stardust. Even though it sounds like something someone tripping on acid would say, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t stoned. And I, even as a Christian, have no problem believing what she said is true.
The Book of Genesis gives us one sentence on the creation of man:
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
So mixing science and faith, I can conclude we are made from the dust of universe, filled with the breath of God. The breath of the lungs of God fills our lungs today. We’re designed to be creatures of restoration and to shine like stars. (Philippians 2:15)
Redemption, as with any change, is not an instant moment. It’s a process. It takes time. I look forward to watching my friend’s life restore and the path it takes him on. I sincerely believe it is a path of hope, not condemnation.
Our lives, no matter how dark and hopeless, can be restored. We are full of the breath of God. Moving from death to life is an everyday occurrence. It’s as natural as breathing in and out.