Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Life Is Wonderful

A friend recently made me a mix CD, and the opening track was "Life Is Wonderful" by Jason Mraz. Not being much of a Jason Mraz fan, I'd never heard it before, but after one listen the song had captured me. From the few Jason Mraz tunes I've heard on the radio, I knew he likes to use clever wordplay, but I was unprepared for how deeply these seemingly simple lyrics would strike me. I don't know anything about Jason Mraz and whether or not he had God in mind when he wrote this song, but listening to it tells me something true about my faith.

It takes a crane to build a crane
It takes two floors to make a story
It takes an egg to make a hen
It takes a hen to make an egg
There's no end to what I'm saying

It takes a thought to make a word
And it takes some words to make an action
It takes some work to make it work
It takes some good to make it hurt
It takes some bad for satisfaction

Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la

At the beginning of the first verse, I thought this was just going to be another clever wordplay song about paradoxes and trivia. Which came first—the chicken or the egg? But the rest of the song recolored the first verse for me. We live in a marvelously complex world, don't we? It does take a hen to make an egg and an egg to make a hen, and each of us is made up of billions of complex organic parts that all work together in amazing and sometimes mysterious ways. What an amazing world God has created! We can observe it, but we can't always explain it. I listened to this song as I walked to Bible study yesterday, and as I looked around at the world around me, I was overcome with awe. The sky was so blue and there were all different kinds of blooming trees with foliage ranging from verdant green to blushing pink. There were birds and butterflies and passersby on bicycles, and God created all of it. In that moment, all I could do was breathe it all in and feel amazed and blessed.

But the verse goes on. Our world is not only composed of many interlocking parts, it's also filled with conflicting emotions. We experience joy and pain, love and sadness, and all of it swirls together to form our life story. We get hurt because we dare to care, but our love is rewarded most strongly when we suffer for it. The more work we put in, the more something means to us, and each drop of blood or sweat can be precious. God put us here to learn about him and to grow in love, and sometimes that hurts. We have growing pains and suffer betrayals, but along the way we learn the beautiful truth about what really matters. We experience good and bad as our lives come full circle, but along the way we learn that life is wonderful, as is the God who gave it to us.

It takes a night to make it dawn
And it takes a day to make you yawn, brother
And it takes some old to make you young
It takes some cold to know the sun
It takes the one to have the other

And it takes no time to fall in love
But it takes years to know what love is
And it takes some fears to make you trust
It takes those tears to make it rust
It takes the dust to have it polished, yeah
Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la

Sometimes I think that God allows us to experience night (both real and figurative) so that we can learn what dawn really means. It's a blessing to be able to more fully comprehend the joy of the morning and the triumph over all darkness—even the grave. The burdens we bear for God make us stronger, and perseverance is healthy for our hearts. We experience so much in this life without truly understanding what it means. God has permeated our lives with layers of divine meaning, and it takes us a lifetime of learning and spiritual guidance to even begin to comprehend what's there. But God truly does use all things for the benefit of those who love him—even fears, tears, rust and dust. In the end we will be polished and perfected, and we will spend eternity living with our loving Father. Life is wonderful, indeed!

Click here to read the full lyrics to the song or to listen to it. (The "Listen Now" link is in the upper left corner of the page, beneath the title and beside the picture.)

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