A Home Anchored In Reality
Anytime we seek to understand the life of a person it is helpful to explore the seeds that were sown in their youth and what type of environment those seeds took root in. Rather than be biographical it is my desire to simply expound upon factors in the life of Edwards that I find interesting, timeless, and helpful not only for my own life but also for the lives of my wife and children as I desire to provide for them an environment where the seeds of the Gospel can have deep roots and distractions are few.
As I looked at the colonial, puritan home of Edward’s childhood, the first thing that struck me was that it was a home anchored in realities, namely harsh realities. In a time when the mortality rate was high and life expectancy was short it was hard to escape the specter of death from which we so easily and eagerly insulate ourselves in modern, western society. Now there is nothing new under the sun and we would be fools not to observe that even in the 18th century there was no shortage of vanity or exhibitions of futility. When we observe the excesses of European aristocracy and even the largesse of the American upper crust, we see that even with the grim reaper near at hand man has sought to escape the reality of the inevitable through “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life”. So though it may have been hard for young Edwards to ignore the grim realities of life at that stage in history, it was still possible. The fact that he seems to have faced those realities with a certain matter-of-fact calm I believe can be found partly in the fact that the puritan home he was raised in was anchored in and elevated the value of objective truth, God’s truth revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
The practical result of creating an environment, home or church, where objective truth is central is that there is little room for self-deceptive insulations from reality and wasting of thought, energy, and time investing in fantasy. The desire to depart from reality and withdraw into the safety of our own illusions is a form of idolatry. When we do not create a life, a reality based in objective truth, we are creating something that we believe is better deserving of our affection and attention than God. Death, for example, is one of the harshest realities that we face and we try our best not to think about it or to insulate ourselves from it, rather than facing it in light of the objective truth of God’s word. As believers a view of death that is bold and based in truth should first of all replace fear with joy and anticipation of glory and secondly motivate us to mission as we consider the true end of Christ-rejecting mankind.
A life rooted not in fantasy but in objective truth is a life unwasted. It is a truly happy life and one that frees us to use the greater capacity of our mind and emotions for the glory of God. It is time that we stop daydreaming and we begin meditating on God’s word. We should consider our last breath, only taking consolation in the Gospel and examining in light of truth if we are in Christ. As parents we can do our children a great service by feeding the young minds of our children with glorious reality. They will not be morose, but truly joyful in time as the Gospel takes root. We should take care what movies they watch, what books they read, lest we find that they go into their adult lives without a firm grip on the realities in life viewed through the glass of God’s absolute, objective truth.
I am challenged to examine my own life. I am shocked with the amount of time that is spent in petty fantasies and imaginations and the urges I feel to feed that desire for non-reality. May God grant us the grace to be joyfully sober, rooted in God’s truth. That is true reality and is above and beyond the bounds of our feeble, vain imaginations