“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” -John 10:10
Thief (Satan) = Steal, Kill, Destroy.
Jesus = Abundant Life
Choice seems easy, right? When you boil it down like I did above we can feel pretty dumb, because so often we choose the Thief. And so often it comes down to fear. What are we afraid of?
Jesus tells us not to fear. In Mark 5:36 Jesus says, “Do not fear, only believe”. Why are we afraid to trust Jesus?
It’s not in our head. It’s not something we reason out, “Well let see, the almighty and loving God of the Universe loves me and wants me to be in Heaven with Him forever, but this evil demon is making a lot of sense, hmmm…” No, that’s not it. Fear comes from the heart. We are afraid because we don’t trust God.
It started from the beginning. Adam and Eve were told by the Thief that God lied to them. That the fruit was good and that God was holding them back from their full potential. We are afraid to trust God to come through on His promises.
I think there is a second part to it as well. We are afraid of what will happen if God does come through. What if He does hear my prayer? What if He asks things of me that are too hard? What if there is (gulp) suffering involved? We are afraid of getting too close to God, because we don’t know what it will be like, and what if we don’t like it?
To this I can offer the witness of the saints. The saints live life abundantly. They allow Jesus into every part of their lives and Jesus makes every part of their lives abundantly better. And time and time again, in reading about these saints, I find out that they suffer, often a lot. And time and time again, these saints ask Jesus if they can suffer for Him more! They are addicted to love of Christ! Their joy is so great when they can suffer for Jesus, that they can’t get enough!
“Suffering will raise my spirits, and far from discouraging me will give me the strength necessary to correspond with Thy grace… Oh, how much I realize that by doing what the goodness of Jesus wills, every cross is changed into joy, suffering even becomes too pleasant! He has neither cross nor fear who is closely united with Jesus.” -St Gemma Galgani
We actually know this lesson well. Everything worth anything involves suffering… and the more it’s worth, the more suffering involved. Being physically fit, education, a well paying job, marriage, children… they all are great things to have and they all involve suffering to get and keep them. This is because of sin. Because of the Thief and how often we choose him. But if we choose Jesus, our suffering is turned into Eternal Life.
Jesus, I trust in You!