A Poisoned Well, We Drink

This world is a dark and lonely place. It has been poisoned by death. As such, its inhabitants are also poisoned at birth and will walk their paths to an inevitable end.

It’s a sobering thought. The end. That moment we all face where our machines stop. That vision alone fills my gut with a knot of utter hopelessness. Because no one escapes.

It’s one of the great mysteries of this bitter planet. Transition. Moving on from this mortal coil and in to something else. We will all stand at that doorway. Some will approach it slowly and fearfully. Others will be shoved through it. But we will all go through it.

Then again, who’s to say there’s a doorway? We only have metaphors to describe something that we cannot really know about. It’s the ultimate riddle. This is something everyone before us has done, but we still know nothing about it.

I love the lyrics of Robert Smith (The Cure). In the song, “Where The Birds Always Sing” he wrote:

The world is neither fair nor unfair
The idea is just a way for us to understand
No the world is neither fair nor unfair
So some survive
And others die
And you always want a reason why
But the world is neither just nor unjust
It’s just us trying to feel that there’s some sense in it
No, the world is neither just nor unjust
And though going young
So much undone
Is a tragedy for everyone
You always want so much more than this…
An endless sense of soul and an eternity of love
A sweet mother down below and a just father above
For living on in others, in memories and dreams
Is not enough

It’s not enough. Legacy. Is that really all we have? What does my legacy mean to me when I’m dead? Nothing. Set your eyes to searching through your entire life inventory and see if there are things that matter to you once you are dead. They can’t. Legacy is for the living. It’s for those of us who haven’t yet succombed to the poison. We need to keep those souls alive in our memories. We need them to still have relevency and meaning…  So that ours can have meaning.

Solomon was the wisest man in history. What did he say about life? Vanity of vanities… all is vanity. Like chasing after wind. He concluded his thoughts with this in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

I used to think that Solomon was adding a slightly hopeful twist for the world to the end of his book. But now I think he meant to say that the world and everything in it is hopeless, but God is outside of this world and in Him is our only hope. So if we focus on Him and keep His commandments, there is a place for us outside of this world.

This world has been poisoned. The venom infected the very earth and all of us. But it began with us. It is humanity who poisoned paradise and brought certain death. The world was not created this way… nor were we.

One of my other favorite songwriters, Bill Mallonee (Vigilantes of Love) wrote an amazing song called “Struggleville” where he talks about the human condition. In this song, he colorfully describes mankinds transition from paradise to a poisoned earth:

They are building a new gallows
for when You show up on the street
polishing the electric chair
they’re gonna give You a front row seat
heard a sneer outside the garden
salutation so well heeled
“welcome all you suckers to struggleville”

Suckers indeed. Struggleville indeed. How did it come to this? How could Adam and Eve be so stupid? It’s easy for me to ask that now as I read the Bible. But I want to conveniently overlook the many times I’m deceived by the serpent every day. I want to pretend my sins don’t have consequences. Surely they don’t carry the same weight… the same poison that Adam and Eve’s did.

But that’s where I’m wrong. I continue to secrete the very same poison into everything around me. So do you. And we are all dying for it. What’s done is done. Sin brings death. We will die.

Why do we do this? Why did Adam and Eve make such an incredible mistake? Because they didn’t really know God. Because we don’t really know Him. I would like to think that we would trust Him a lot more if we completely understood His love for us… If we completely understood His faithfulness and His Word.

See, I know these things academically. That is to say, I know in my head that I can completely trust Him. I know He is a loving God. I know His promises are true. But that knowledge doesn’t trickle down to my heart nearly enough. So I listen to the serpent who tells me that I need to fend for myself because God has left me. Then I take that to heart.

It is a little baffling that Adam could walk with God but take the serpent’s word. I’d like to think that I would have at least said, “Hey snake, let me run this by God first”. But obviously that didn’t happen. Again, what’s done is done and we are all dying with it. We are all perpetuating it.

In keeping with the only hope that Solomon found, we must surrender our lives to God. Jesus defeated death when He rose from the grave. This is our hope. There is another kindgom that is free from the poison of sin and death. We have been given access to it. All we have to do is believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died on the cross for OUR sins. We must repent of those sins.

I implore you to carefully consider this. This world is not going to get better. And, yes, you will likely die. We must find a way to place our hope in Him and focus our attention on His kingdom. It is truly the only lasting hope that we have here on earth.