Some messages are so great that a paraphrase, quote, or summary just can't do them justice. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, for example, is the greatest story of God's love for us, but when we try to explain it to others, it's hard to summarize how much Jesus loved us, as well. We memorize and quote John 3:16, and from that we can grasp how much God loved us to give up his one and only son. Still, if we reduce the Gospel to just that message, it can feel like Jesus is just the obedient, big brother we can never live up to--and whose blood is on our hands, no less. Until you read all of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, you will never fully grasp the power of the love Jesus has for us. His sacrifice wasn't just about obeying God, the Father. Jesus loved us, too. I could quote a few Bible verses to try to prove my point, but unless you discover those gems in their context, they will still be verses without the full beauty of the Gospel.
Why am I bringing this up? Aside from the fact that it's Holy Week, this is the dilemma I've had reviewing "Man's Search for Meaning," by Viktor E. Frankl. I finished it two weeks ago and was hoping I could brilliantly apply some of my own life's insights, but words fail me. Words fail me--just what you want to read when you clicked on my blog, right? Here's my best attempt at a review.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl survived his imprisonment in Nazi concentration camps from 1942 to 1945. He used his observations and suffering in the camps to build on his theory of logotherapy. Logotherapy holds that man's quest to find meaning and purpose is what drives us, and as Frankl quotes Nietzche, "He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How." As I wrote earlier, a quote can't fully convey the beautiful message of this book, but if I had to choose one, it's this:
"The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity--even under the most difficult circumstances--to add a deeper meaning to his life." --Viktor E. Frankl
That quote rang so true to me as I listened to friends and family of Dr. Chris Atkins speak at his funeral. Our community has suffered a great loss in his passing. To try to convey the impact Dr. Atkins made on this earth, words fail me. No paraphrase, quote or summary can do justice to his memory. The people he brought to Christ, though, they know. They witnessed the full beauty of his story.
I'm including a link to a beautiful video called "Before the Morning," by Josh Wilson. Please continue to pray for the Atkins family and the wonderful congregation of the Evangelical Free Church.