I recently finished reading the phenomenal book “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel. I had wanted to read it for a long time and was assured that it was a powerful book; one that would make even those who never believed in God knows He was real. Immediately, I was intrigued. This is a fiction book about a boy who practices three religions with passion: Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
It was his discussion of faith and meeting Jesus Christ that first touched and stirred me. I read this book slowly, which is uncommon for me. I usually devour books with rapid intensity, speed-reading large portions of dialog at a time. This story, however, compelled me to read slowly and to truly embrace each word and each thought. Here is just a sampling of what captivated me so…
…and what a Story. The first thing that drew me in was disbelief. What? Humanity sins but it’s God’s Son who pays the price?
…What a downright weird story. What peculiar psychology. I asked for another story, one that I might find more satisfying. Surely this religion had more that one story in its bag—religions abound with stories. But Father Martin made me understand that the stories that came before it, and there were many, were simply prologue to the Christians. Their religion had one Story, and to it they came back again and again, over and over.
That a god should put up with adversity, I could understand…But divinity should not be blighted by death. It’s wrong. The world soul cannot die, even in one contained part of it. That is tantamount to letting a part of Himself to die. For if the Son is to die, it cannot be fake. If God on the Cross is God shamming a human tragedy, it turns the Passion of Christ into the Farce of Christ. The death of the Son must be real. Farther Martin assured me that it was. But once a dead God, always a dead God, even resurrected. The Son must have the taste of death forever in His mouth. The horror must be real. Why would God wish that upon Himself? Why not leave death to the mortals? Why make dirty what is beautiful, spoil what is perfect?
Love. That was Father Martin’s answer.
This Son…who goes hungry, who suffers from thirst, who gets tired, who is sad, who is anxious, who is heckled and harassed, who has to put up with followers who don’t get it and opponents who don’t respect Him—what kind of God is that? … This Son is a god who spent more of His time telling stories, talking. This Son is a god who walked, a pedestrian god—and in a hot place, at that—with a stride like any human stride, the sandal reaching just above the rocks along the way; and when He splurged on transportation, it was a regular donkey. This Son is a god who died in three hours, with moans, gasps, and laments. What kind of God is that? What is there to inspire this Son?
…He bothered me, this Son. Every day I burned with greater indignation against Him, found more flaws to Him…I couldn’t get Him out of my head. Still can’t. I spent three solid days thinking about Him. The more He bothered me, the less I could forget Him. And the more I learned about Him, the less I wanted to leave Him.
Wow. That’s just pieces of about 6 pages in the book, but they speak so deeply to me. And, for those that don’t know Him, it is such a deeply real depiction of the questions and longing that go with searching for God. Who is He? This doesn’t make sense? Why would He die for me?
The answer is always the same.
I wish I felt more like little Pi more often; I wish I could try and trust and love and search for Him the same way. Because I want the last sentence I above to be my life… “The more I learned about Him, the less I wanted to leave Him.” The more I learn about Christ, the more I want to be near Him, to be loved by Him and held close by Him.