When Life Hits Us Head-On

On my recent visit to Superman’s hometown of Metropolis, Illinois, I purchased several pieces of Kryptonite. The store had a barrel full of this mineral. I asked the attendant if it was real. She assured me it came from genuine meteor fragments! Whether this is true or not, at least I now have a conversation piece, though I wonder why a place to honor the Man of Steel would stock the substance that makes his knees buckle.

We remember Kal-El (aka Clark Kent) was born on the Planet Krypton, and the fragments of the now-destroyed planet make him as weak as the rest of us.

I’m convinced that all of us are vulnerable to a Kryptonite-like substance called life. Life often hits us head-on and our knees buckle, too.

I visited with a nice couple lately who told me about the death of the lady’s mother and the recent cancer diagnosis of her dad. She also told me her younger sister had died, and that she and her husband took in the sister’s son to raise. The young man is now grown and gone and living a profligate life.

Life hit them head-on.

We struggle with the tragedies of life. I’ve often remarked to our congregation how most of us take on the care of aging parents, though this is an area we’re not instructed in nor often prepared for. Sometimes these duties include dread diseases like the afore-mentioned cancer, or dementia. And there’s often financial challenges when dealing with senior parents.

We struggle with bad choices. I had a relative who died prematurely due to his addiction to cigarettes. I’ll never forget watching him with a cigarette in one hand and an oxygen mask in the other. Even at that stage he couldn’t quit his habit.

We struggle with our mortality. Death stalks us. Young people don’t think much about death, but seniors think about it when our bodies won’t do what they used to do. Death is among the top three fears people have. Even believers who have the assurance of Christ’s friendship shudder at the thought of death, feeling that we have much remaining to do in our lives.

The apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament about his mysterious “thorn”; a bodily affliction or a tortured memory, we’re not sure. He said he earnestly prayed for God to remove it, but the Lord determined not to do so. Instead God gave him more of his presence to endure and survive. Paul lived his life in partnership with God despite his weakness.

Life often hits us head-on. We should hear the triumphant testimony of Paul and seek God’s partnership to endure and survive just as he did.