Friday, June 22, 2012

Facing the Challenges of Life

"Don't forget the challenge God has given us" is the headline of the column on spirituality in the Korean Times. The columnist  reminds us that wars are far from being a challenge in maintaining national sovereignty but are contemptible killings in a brutal fight for victory.  In no way is this how we should be living up to God's goodness.
The word 'challenge,' in a Korean dictionary, means: to face head-on in combat, also used  as a figure of speech when facing any difficulty, or to better some record. We use the word often when referring to adventures like climbing mount Everest,  but most importantly, the columnist says, the word 'challenge' should be part of our searching for the meaning of life.

In our daily lives, we are continually being challenged. Many find the challenge beyond their strength and choose to avoid it. Challenges usually contain both danger and adventure and  should be faced squarely. Challenges are part of life and are given to us by God. 

However, we tend to forget this reality and think that challenges originate from our earthly circumstances; we do not see them as lifting us up to a higher and superior way of living. We should be sensitive to this reality, and not see challenges only as a way of bettering our material life.

At the end of life everything can become a challenge to us, and a responsibility. Challenges, whether coming early or late in life, have formed or are forming who we are. A boxer strives to be the best he can be: a champion. We are striving for the virtuous life, a life of freedom and responsibility. Without this freedom and sense of responsibility, we  are not living the beautiful life, the life of virtue.

The  beauty of life can be experienced daily by accepting and overcoming the challenges that come to us daily. If we look back and only see the zealousness of our life, our successes in avoiding the challenges of life, considering them our consolation, then we will not be able to say it was a life well-lived. A life without challenges amounts to a life that is lived too shallowly.  What are the challenges that we face today?  What efforts do we make to live the life of a free person? Are we pridefully fooling ourselves into thinking we are champions? The challenges that allow us to transcend the concerns of our ordinary life and to live the life of faith are only given to humans. We should face these challenges courageously until the day we die.

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