“Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend somewhere alone in the bitterness, and I would have stayed up with you all night, had I known how to save a life.”
“Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
Jesus, Luke 9: 23-24
Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? To save your life, you have to lose it.
I have, I think, a deeper understanding of this passage in recent years. My life isn’t what I expected. It isn’t turning out at all the way I set out for it to go.
Many good things I couldn’t have anticipated have come to pass in the last few years. But many bad things I would have done nearly anything to avoid if I could have, have also happened.
This is not the life I asked for.
Which is where the Luke passage comes in. The harder I try to save that life, the harder I try to get my own way, reality be danged, the less engaged I am with the life I have. The more I focus on what’s been lost, the more I find myself “alone in the bitterness.”
The truth is, the life I have is better than the life I wanted. It’s a deeper and more challenging life than the one I wanted, to be sure. It’s a harder life. But it’s a much better one. And the closer I follow in Jesus footsteps, the less I wander off following my own agendas, the better it gets.
Sacrifice is a part of life. It’s the nature of life on this planet that some thing dies so that something else can live–from microorganisms up through plants to us.
More and more I’m learning that you’re always sacrificing something to obtain something else in life.