Everyone has a cross to bear, it is our very dignity, and it is true suffering. It must not be diminished nor taken from us. It reminds me of the priest in The Brothers Karamazov who told the bereaved woman that there would be no comfort, she was to grieve and cry and wail. Grace is not the absence of suffering, it is something greater and richer. Grace and love allow us to own our sufferings and failures, to be a terrible example to others of how God grants happiness and success. There is a strange comfort and freedom in being free to grieve and fail and doubt. There are serious consequences when we deify personal transformation and morality and success. The freedom to be transparently weak and normal and sinful speaks to others far more than the pretense of moral fortitude.
I hear talk here and there about how many people are seeking bigger houses and cars and what not. I don’t think many people think this way, even the most shallow and materialistic. BMW and Mercedes don’t sell cars, they sell significance. That is what we are starved for. It is very liberating to realize that you are not invited to anyone’s parties anyway, the rich people or the smart people or the influential people or any of the other significant people. Everyone is trying to define their significance by who they exclude if you think about it.The poor are insignificant and that is the main reason we recoil from serving them. They are aliens because we are on the road to significance and they are not. We think we are righteous because we are are not materialistic, and yet we seek just as false and shallow a significance.
I believe God in Christ loves us, raw, like a pearl that is perfect at first glance, that we are already significant because we exist. Once we begin to act from a belief that in the eyes of God we are already significant, we find freedom and simplicity. I am in the process of selling most of what I can get away with getting rid of so I can live more clearly that way. It’s not a command, it is an invitation to a party. I want to go to that party. It isn’t some frightening reality, it is an invitation to freedom and adventure.
“(A Song of Ascents.) When the LORD brought back the captive ones of Zion, We were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, And our tongue with joyful shouting; Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” The LORD has done great things for us; We are glad.” Psalms 126:1-3, NASB.