Monday, January 28, 2008

"The Tyranny of Circumstance"

In the following piece by Robert Lois Stevenson, he contrasts the difference between Faith and hope, in the context of a marriage. I though it was very insightful and the applications to our overall outlook on life, and our faith in God are apparent.

The greater virtue is “Faith--- Hope is the boy, a blind headlong, pleasant fellow, good to chase swallows with the salt; Faith is the grave, experienced, yet smiling man. Hope lives on ignorance; open-eyed Faith is built upon a knowledge of our life, of the tyranny of circumstance and the frailty of human resolution. Hope looks for unqualified success; but Faith counts certainly on failure, and takes honorable defeat to be a form of victory.
Hope is a kind old pagan; but Faith grew up in Christian days, and early learnt humility. In the one temper, a man is indignant that he cannot spring up in a clap to heights of elegance and virtue; in the other, out of a sense of his infirmities, he is filled with confidence because a year has come and gone, and he has still preserved some rags of honor. In the first he expects an angel for a wife; in the last, he knows that she is like himself—erring, thoughtless, and untrue; but like himself, also, filled with a struggling radiancy of better things, and adorned with ineffective qualities….”

I especially liked the line—“The tyranny of circumstance and the frailty of human resolution.”
By the time you are thirty or less, you have come under the tyranny of circumstance. You find yourself in situations that you may have not caused, but that are bringing great hardship to you. It happens to all, hopefully your seasons will be short. Then he speaks to “The frailty of human resolution”. We can quote Paul’s frustration but we all battle with failed resolutions in our marriage, child rearing, faith towards God, the list is endless. It is a fact of life and “Faith” picks up and moves on.
Then I relate to Hope’s impatience that he cannot “spring up in a clap” to maturity. But not to leave this thinking it is melancholy, because Faith has abiding deep within, though struggling, a radiancy of better things.

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