Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.
– Jesus, Luke 17:33
Jesus’ mother, Mary, understood the crucifixion in a way that no other could because of her immense experience of his death. Imagine her profound joy in his lasting resurrection. By the depth of pain she experienced through her son, the height of her joy was even greater and more profound in the revelation of his Love and Life!
Being “people of the third day,” us protestants tend to spend little time with the pain and death of Christ. We skip to the victory, glory, and happiness of the resurrection, but with a fraction of the depth because we spend so little time with the incredible reality of pain and death. These things need to be honored.
We often avoid pain at all costs. We can’t see or think of it as being anything more than a one-dimensional haunting experiences. If we find ourselves stuck in its grips, all our energy goes toward numbing, distracting, or “healing” as quickly as possible. Being present to it (without wallowing in it) is not an approach we are taught or given a model for, but it is in allowing ourselves to feel the lows that we are able to appreciate the highs. Fear has to be removed.
Mary wasn’t worried about being overwhelmed by grief or sorrow. Her concern was for her son. She loved him and felt every whipping, strike, and insult he received more than we could imagine. She had no “joy set before her” to help her get through it. It wasn’t about what was on the other side for her. It was about her love for Jesus.
Do you love Jesus even without any joy set before you? Is the love of and relationship with Jesus enough? If it is, our fear of pain and sorrow will be diluted in our love and relationship with Jesus; in all and through all. Aversion from pain or happiness or people groups or discomfort is aversion from Christ.
“Christ Jesus, grant me a sensitivity to the suffering within myself and of those around me, with heart and mind that fully appreciate Your Love.”