Ah! Sweet mystery of life — Michael Cassidy


A monthly column by Michael Cassidy, evangelist, author, Christian leader and founder of African Enterprise whose ministry in Africa and the world has spanned more than 50 years.

Life is a funny thing. So poignant. So pleasurable. So painful. So full of promise. So made of mystery.

I wonder how you look at it. I know I often stop myself and wonder at it all. How odd it is to be a human! To think. To reflect. To feel. To laugh. To weep. To worship. What strange and extraordinary creatures we are! Amphibians between nature and super-nature. Curious combinations of mortality and immortality. Souls. And bodies.

And what a breath-taking and bewildering reality is this in which we find ourselves! We never arranged it. We never set the stage. We didn’t organise the sun or stars. We didn’t supply and endow the earth. We didn’t arrange the composition of the atmosphere. We didn’t create ourselves. We didn’t put ourselves here. But we are here. That’s for sure. You and I. And the planet we inhabit. And a vast universe around us. All very odd.

People rushing by in a blur in Santiago, Chile. (PHOTO: mauro mora)

Stand back
This leads me at times to stand back and look at the headlong rush of people — hither and yon — on foot, in cars, in planes. All very busy. All very pre-occupied. And all very fixated on this temporal reality, as if that is all there is. No apparent awareness of the shortness of it all. Or the futility of it all — unless God is there.

Then one opens the paper and reads of man’s inhumanity to man. Our heads reel with this trauma and that tragedy. Our minds marvel at the power struggles of little humans who see their advent to power over their fellows as something of momentous and ultimate consequence. But tomorrow the wind has blown them from the scene and from the memory and life goes on. They were not so important after all.

Finally our hearts and emotions are kept on a switch-back of undulating emotions — now joyful over a baby’s birth, now mournful over an old man’s death — now borne on the wings of romantic love — now shattered by the cruel consequences of divorce — now striving fervently for some self-appointed goal — now slumping with a secret sigh and asking: “What does it all matter, anyway?”

Perhaps it was this sort of reflection and realisation which led one of the world’s leading actors to say to a friend of mine who met him on a plane: “Life for me is all questions with no answers.”

And I suspect that is true for so many. Especially if they find the time or inclination to stand and stare.

A man looking up at the night sky. (PHOTO: Greg Rakozy)

For myself, I know that when I stand and stare I am thankful, just so very thankful for Jesus Christ and the meaning He gives to life. Because I just can’t imagine living without meaning. That must be the ultimate nightmare. To see life as a cosmic farce. As a gigantic chemical and physiological accident happening in an empty, random, chaotic, godless and inexplicable universe. That would be more than I for one could live with.

So I rejoice that Jesus makes the centre clear. There are blurs at the edges. But the centre is clear. That’s the thing — getting the centre clear by finding it in Him and by grasping deep down that He is the image of the invisible God … all things were created through HIM and for HIM … and in HIM all things hold together … (Colossians 1:16-17). For in HIM the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9).

And the ultimate wonder of wonders, midst all the mysteries, is to realise that each of us can come to fullness of life — IN HIM (Colossians 2:10).

Ah! Sweet mystery of life.

One Comment

  1. Hugh G Wetmore

    This brilliant piece captures so well the mystery and the Centre of Life! Thank you, Michael.