I was captivated by Peterson’s chapter on perseverance, and then flipped to the chapter on obedience and was drawn in even more. I once fell really hard on my head while skateboarding alone with some friends at a skate park. I remember intensely calling out to God in my mind as I lay on the ground paralyzed by the shock and pain of the accident. In this moment of fear, God was the one thing on my mind because I didn’t want to hurt anymore. Peterson told a story about a man in a hospital who cried out for him to pray to him when he was in a lot of pain, and even when he was hallucinating and afraid. This man, like many people, thought of religion as something to help him with his fears. He wasn’t interested in Peterson’s prayers when he first got to the hospital and was feeling mostly all right. Religion has become this false cliché which is all about a God who only shows up in the midst of crazy moments and pain, but is idle and blurry when all is green and seems to be going just fine. As a matter of fact, the most religious places in the world, as Peterson said, are not churches but battlefields and hospitals. We, as children of God, need to be radical about Jesus. We need to be passionate about the Kingdom of God. Perhaps the most powerful lesson is having people watch you live your life. People watched Jesus live ordinarily and it transformed their lives. So, I think the first step of reconciling this world is to first reconcile our personal ways of living, so that we can be accurate examples of the radical Jesus we are in relationship with.
Peterson’s chapter on perseverance resonated with me because I’ve constantly had something in my life that needed to be overcome. Whether it be the loneliness as a result of losing my friends due to my newfound Christian faith way back in middle school, or the insomnia that was slowly killing me all throughout high school. But, I know Jeremiah 29:11 well. I’ve recited it a trillion times to help me persevere and trust that the God I live for knows what He’s doing. The way in which one handles failure says a lot about that person and their relationship with God and ability to persevere. I know we can’t be perfect. We don’t even know what perfect is, but the endurance of our faith isn’t up to us, which is why we can keep going. The tragedy is losing faith. I never want to lose faith in God. I only want to grow in my belief that the Holy Spirit knows what’s happening to me and is allowing it to continue for a good reason. God would rather me be angry with Him than ignore Him, so I will continue to pray and rejoice in the joy that my life is in the hands of an almighty God rather than mine which will grow tired, and in fact, they already have.