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 struggle to really 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. They ended up not trusting God. We too are afraid to trust God to come through on His promises.
Follow Jesus no matter what? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I loose my job? What if my friend gets mad at me? What if I offend the neighbors? We know Jesus told us that He is worth more than all these things. However, do we trust Him? The choice is ours. Nothing is worth holding on to if loosing Jesus is part of the bargain. Our choices reflect what we trust in. We much learn to trust Jesus.
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 true love causes suffering, and the saints 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.
So, will loving and trusting Jesus more involve more suffering? Only if we do it right… and everything worth doing…
Jesus, I trust in You!