Seeing the best in life's challenges

God’s Design: The Experience of Contrast

This is my personal answer to the question “Why did God make the world this way?”

First, don’t get hung up on the issue of “who” God is.  That’s another discussion.

I’m talking about the fact that most people, if you asked them, would say they don’t understand why things have to be the way they are.  Most people aren’t totally happy with how the world is.  We have problems, there is evil, why can’t people just get along, why don’t they understand, etc., etc.  That’s what I want to talk about.

After much reading and thinking, an obsessive amount, yes, and attempts to look at this question from my personal, Christian upbringing as well as from other points of view, in my head, I have come to an understanding that makes sense to me.  So, I’m sharing.  As always, I don’t expect anyone to necessarily agree with me, but maybe someone will find it interesting.

I read an analogy a few days ago (thank you Paramahansa Yogananda!!), and I’ve tweaked it in a way that works really well for me.

“Why can’t we all just get along?  Why can’t everyone be kind?  Why does there have to be evil, and greed, and hate?  Why is it so hard to understand each other?”

Well, let’s just imagine that the world was one big whiteboard.  All love and light and goodness and happiness.  In this light, whiteboard world, only good things happen.  The only color pen is white.  So everyone can write on the beautiful, glowing whiteboard all they want.  It is always compatible, always pristine, always glowing.

This works really well if the purpose of one’s time in this kind of place is to bask in the glow and rest.  And at a certain level, we all get tired at times and wish life could be this way.

What IS the purpose of life?  Is it to take it easy?  If it is, it sure seems that either God really messed that up, or He is playing a REALLY bad joke on us.  And why in the world would we need all the “instructions” in the Bible to tell us how to live in an easy world?  We might like the idea of not dealing with problems and conflict, but that’s obviously not how the world was designed.

So maybe that’s not the reason we are here.

What if the purpose of life is to experience, learn, grow, and understand Love and Light.  How best to do that?

The first chapter of the Bible talks about how God created the Earth with Opposites.  And He describes them ALL as good.  Hmmm … isn’t it interesting to notice that opposites give you the most contrast?

The best way to see white chalk is to write on a blackboard.  When you are trying to see clearly, and learn from what you see, you don’t get mad that the board is black, you are grateful for the contrast that allows you to see.  How can you learn about what LOVE can do, unless there is something to compare it to?

Jesus talked an awful lot about loving each other and spreading light.  (The common theme in his advice is that we need to try.)  He also gave a lot of examples about how the world (of contrast) reacts to people who spread the light (not always so good.)  He talked about being “in the world, but not OF the world.”  All this makes total sense if the reason we are here is to practice Love and learn about how to be LOVE in the presence of the opposition (opposites or CONTRAST.)

When this life is all over, and we have learned as much as we could, then what?  Do you really think God put us here in a playground of contrast, gave us this amazing environment with so much variety, so that in the end, he could tell us that we were PLAYING and LEARNING the WRONG WAY?  Would you ever do that to your own child?  Take them to a challenging new place where they could learn and play, then get mad at them on the way home for getting dirty and playing the “wrong way?”  Of course not!!

Jesus gave great advice for how to learn the most in this playground.  Of course we are going to get dirty, and fall down while we are trying out everything here.  But if the point is to learn and grow in LOVE, then there is no point spending time arguing about who is doing it RIGHT and who is doing it WRONG.

It is only FEAR that keeps anyone from going for it and getting the most out of the experience of life.  And Jesus also told us not to be afraid.  But if you DO want to experience fear, this playground will provide plenty of experiences where you can be afraid and learn about that too.  Contrast again.

There are always those kids (or adults) who want to make up rules about how to play on the playground.  The adults might want to keep the kids “safe” or make things “fair.”  They don’t want there to be so much contrast because they don’t like the extremes.  There are kids who like to take control and have everyone else play their game by the rules they set.  There are plenty of sets of rules, and they might be fun to try out for a while.   But if we get too attached to the rules, then we are limiting our experiences.  Someone might want to impose their rules on others, but that is saying there is a “right” way to play and a “wrong” way to play.  Whose rules are you following without even thinking about it?  Do you think God focuses on rules or do you think He wants us to do the best we can?

My goal is to learn as much as I can about love while I am here on this Earth.  I’m going to do it my way, the best way I can.  I’ve already fallen down plenty of times and I have learned a lot that way.  I’m also having a blast.  I am all done with fear, especially the fear that when I’m done, God is going to tell me I did it wrong.  And I’m not worried that anyone else is doing it wrong, either.  (Jesus also said not to judge others.)

Why can’t we all just PLAY?