I have been reading a book I randomly pulled off my shelf, which I've had around for years, old, yellowed, brittle, published in the 1885, "The Life And Works of Washington Irving, Vol. 2" . . . and have been going over his highly detailed accounts of the adventures of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the "New World".
I am astounded to learn just how wild, intense, incredible, dangerous and intrepid were the experiences of this devout, mystical man and his crews throughout his various voyages and expeditions. Pick any one month of his years of exploration and political intrigues with "the sovereigns" Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand and each one could provide more than enough adventure, detail and drama for a thick book or epic movie.
As I've been enthralled with the various tales of Columbus' (mostly mis)fortunes and astounding recurring encounters with threat and near death--as often happens when I'm looking into different human histories--I am struck by how much that is fantastic that has gone on in such lives . . . is forgotten, uncared for and/or simply marginalized later into a few trite paragraphs of coverage. Truly, as Solomon recognized, "all is vanity." Or, as Kansas melodically reiterated a few decades ago, "all we are is dust in the wind."
It reminds me how insignificant and vaporous the details of a life generally are within the cacophonous march of time and the multitudes, even when a life is filled with extreme high adventure and so-called "accomplishment".
Then I thought of God. And how--because HE IS, and HE IS WHO HE IS--each and every life is precious, indispensable . . . whether it is led quietly in the shadows or blazing atop some pioneering outpost. And a type of analogy came to mind. . . .
Let's say the wicked--the haters of God who seek to build their own kingdoms like to build according to the pyramid style. Such movers and shakers put themselves as the capstone, while beneath are the many stones (lives) they stand upon to have made themselves the pinnacle of some glory. They do the same thing in macro, where they construct a scheme--a "pyramid scheme"--via politics, wars, interpersonal machinations and social engineering. Notice that in a pyramid you can take out a stone here and there and the edifice will still stand. Single stones (or lives) that have gone in to make up the Babel tower can be discarded while the capstone (the self-glorifying architect of the pyramid) yet remains.
Individuals in such a scheme are interchangeable, not important in and of themselves . . . they can be pulled out, broken, tossed aside and the thing still stands. "The end justifies the means" . . . "individual sacrifice for the greater good" is a common by-line within any God-hating cult of personality or totalitarian pyramid scheme.
God's way, however, is more like a "house of cards". Every single card (life) is absolutely critical, whether at bottom or top, within the whole architecture of the structure. No card (no life) is inconsequential, regardless of face value (ie., 3, queen, jack or ace). If you remove even just one component, the whole house crumbles. God values and has a purpose for each and every individual in HIS scheme. None are superfluous. Every life is fitted perfectly into the vast, intricate detail of His plan and construction. And because it is so delicate yet so huge, it is obvious that BUT FOR His omnipotent, omniscient power, it would fall. He holds it all together.
And there is nothing left to "chance". There are no accidents, no frills. Every part is divinely placed according to His overarching goal--that His glory be manifest.
Such were my thoughts pondering so many lives led . . . "great" and "small". . . .