“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ~ C.S. Lewis, “The Four Loves”
I thought of that quote this week as I watched my daughter struggle with a sick dog (he’s on the mend!). Lewis is 100% right; the other side of the love coin is often pain. That’s why the minister asks in front of God and the world if the couple will commit to each other “for better or worse, good times and bad”…because there will be worse and bad times will come.
That’s all part of living in a sinful, fallen world. But Americans, in general, and American Christians, in particular, go out of their way to AVOID suffering. We don’t want anything to make us uncomfortable. The problem is, suffering can’t be avoided. Jesus told us it would come. He said, “they hated me so they will hate you…they persecuted me and they’ll come after you, too.”
Any truly loving relationship involves a willingness to share experiences – good and bad. That’s true with your relationship to Jesus, too. I think that’s what Paul meant when he said: “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death…” (Philippians 3:10, NLT).
Here’s the good news – when we suffer the “right way,” Jesus says we are blessed (Matt. 5:4, 11) and find God’s favor (1 Pet. 2:20). Want to find out how to be blessed and find favor in difficult times? Join us Sunday and we’ll talk about it!