Love your life, and you lose it. Hate your life, you’ll have it for eternity. And in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “God chose the foolish things in the world to shame the wise.” Really?
How can we find instruction in these confounding statements? Are we commanded to be fools, and hate our lives? Probably not. Maybe we are being asked to stop clinging to old-fashioned notions of love and wisdom?
I think we are told that our struggles—with knowing and not knowing, love of life and fear of death, certitude and doubt, love for some and contempt for others—are good and important. I also believe Jesus was encouraging us to share our struggles; he knew that our salvation lies in service to and with one another. Jesus was very open about his own conflicts with those around him:
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28)
When I read this verse I thought, “That’s so Jesus.” Jesus, the embodiment of all the pushing and pulling of what it is to be human, takes it to the divine.
I’m not feeling too good about this. Should I pray, “God, help me?” No, I’m here in this place at this time for a reason. “Thank you, God.”
God, you are with me through all my attempts to better understand your will. Let me always remember your generous gifts, and be thankful.
— John Frazee