This is an assignment I had to write for my Destiny and Calling class at GCD.
Mathematical genius, inventor, grandfather of the computer and modern risk theory, renaissance thinker well versed in physics, philosophy, and theology as well as mathematics, among the most elegant prose stylists in the French language, Blaise Pascal is one of the supreme human thinkers of all time and author of a great masterpiece of Western literature—Pensées. With such credits to his name, Pascal was thought of as a genius to the mathematical society, however he also dealt with some physical ailments that cause deteriorating depression, awful, wracking pain from a disease ravaged his bowels, legs and feet and he had bad circulation in his legs. To add to a life wrought with such torment and celebrated with such pomp, he had a dramatizing experience that nearly cost him his life yet paradoxically gave him life.
On the evening of November 23rd, 1654, at the age of thirty-one while Pascal was driving his carriage through a lightning storm, his horses got scared and jumped over the wall of a bridge. The horses plunged to their deaths in the Seine River, but because the leather straps that connected the carriage to the horses broke, Pascal was saved. Although he was not physically hurt, this accident affected him psychologically. This event so impressed Pascal that he decided that this was an act of God and became a true believer. Much of his work was then centered on theology. In his work Pensées, Pascal claims to prove that belief in God is rational with the following argument. “If God does not exist, one will lose nothing by believing in him, while if he does exist, one will lose everything by not believing. We are compelled to gamble.”
Pascal had an allegiant addiction to gambling. Yet the night he brushed elbows with eternity, gambling took the side stage to his newly found faith. He had spent years developing a habit that became his calling, his destiny, his defined purpose yet the allure of the chance couldn’t stand as a hero when he saw the waters of the Seine and the horses plunge that drew their last breath. His carriage held him as the arms of God and he watched in horror as his life flashed before him. He felt that chance on eternity was not worth gambling for. He needed a sure hero, a savior that was promising and faithful. This, he found in Jesus.
We all have found something in our lives that assured us blindly that it could take care of our needs, support our inner addictions, and fulfill our longing desires. Yet for some of us, we have found it lacking in its promises because there was no sure law or barrier to hold it to its promises. For some, as myself have, we have found a God who promises us life and peace, an eternal reward in His presence yet for others, they have found these promises baseless because they can’t find truth in His words. They have not experienced a peace that passes all understanding or a life that when held up to the light is not cracked or broken. They find the words of the bible are shallow and misleading. They find Jesus to be the anti-hero because he cowered to the Romans rather than “bringing his kingdom to destroy them.” There are some of us who look to Him as the hero because his word is being fulfilled and will fulfill itself in the future. We have faith that he will fulfill those promises just as he has fulfilled previous promises already.
A hero is worth emulating in the sense that they are courageous, unfaltering, integral, caring, and selfless. They find that when the world is being brought down, there is no other answer than to give up one’s life to make it better for someone else, if only for a moment. That’s why we find heroes in service men and women; military, firefighters, police, farmers, pilots, and the occasional John Doe who performs courageous feats to save a life.
Yet I myself find a worthy all surpassing hero, one that exemplifies heroism. His name is Jesus, because of what he has done, is doing and will do for all of mankind. He first created us and through Him we are held together. He then took on flesh and lived a life of service toward His creation only to give up his life through a brutal execution after being badly beaten and ridiculed for the life he lived. He then rose from the dead, ascended to Heaven and speaks on our behalf to the Father. He gave us His Spirit so that we may be led how to live life like he does. But how do we do that in the 21st Century? How do we emulate a person’s life that lived in flesh 2,000 years ago?
Feeding the homeless, taking care of the poor, loving your neighbor, having compassion toward the weak and giving to those in need are acts Jesus routinely performed. Not only are these physical needs that people have but are also spiritual needs. When we desire to emulate Jesus’ work we desire to feed the poor and homeless, help our community neighbors with whatever need arose; bring food when neighbors are sick, help them catch a dog that got away, help with furniture when they move in or out, mow their yard, having compassion toward those who seem to live in the dumps of life and never get their head above water. Also tending to those needs is not only a physical act but a spiritual one as well. How can we help when they are spiritually sick, spiritually in need, spiritually homeless? I would argue that Jesus didn’t necessarily come for our physical needs even though he provided, he came to assist with our spiritual needs.
When our hero is Jesus, we are inclined to be faithful to His teachings. Being faithful to God means being good stewards of our resources where He has planted us and with the gifts he has given us. We can get crazy with trying to impress people with excellence yet miss the spiritual mark and they leave without a clue about Jesus. We are not asked to be perfect. We are asked to be faithful. When we are faithful where we are planted and with the tools we have been provided, man’s idea of excellence can wane and Jesus can still be exalted and people still accept the saving grace of God.
A hero inspires us to be like him/her. Not for the rewards of fame and glory but for the success of others. A hero gives us the desire to see others win. A hero gives another person a chance to live. A hero saves lives. There are many heroes yet none is a better hero than Jesus. If we all inspired to see Jesus made into a hero in our own lives, imagine the exponential impact that would be made from our community to the world. Making Jesus our hero would have a global effect and that was His mission all along.
 Guinness, Os (2003-10-09). The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life (p. 80). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
 Smalley, Audrey. “Pascal.” DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS, STATISTICS, AND PHYSICS – Wichita State University. Accessed February 20, 2015. http://www.math.wichita.edu/history/men/pascal.html.