1. The Wounded Healer
In his book, “The Wounded Healer”, Henri Nouwen asks: “Who can listen to a story of loneliness and despair without taking the risk of experiencing similar pains in his own heart and even losing his precious peace of mind? In short: Who can take away suffering without entering it?”.
As if life’s troubles are not enough, Jesus asked us to take on the troubles of others – not to talk of the troubles that come for humbly and non-violently standing for what is right/just/good, which brings us face-to-face with powerful enemies.
The most effective healing/service to others is by those who went through the suffering themselves.
2. Discovering What’s Valuable Than Life Itself
2.1. Paradox of Abundant Life
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25). The gospel writers quoted this saying of Jesus more than any other. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly”. The paradox of life is that abundant life is found in taking on the troubles of others and taking courageous stands for justice (especially the injustices that impact others). Jesus was a liberator and a spiritual freedom fighter – so should his followers be. That adds to our trials and tribulations but gives us abundant life.
2.2. A Treasure More Valuable Than Everything
Jesus said, the kingdom of heaven “is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field”. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If you have not discovered something you are willing to die for, then you are not fit to live”. Seems like the irony of life, that life’s purpose/meaning can be found only by finding something more valuable than this life itself.
3. The Cross Precedes the Crown
More from Martin Luther King Jr:
“We are gravely mistaken to think that Christianity protects us from the pain and agony of mortal existence. Christianity has always insisted that the cross we bear precedes the crown we wear. To be a Christian, one must take up his cross, with all of its difficulties and agonizing and tragedy-packed content, and carry it until that very cross leaves its marks upon us and redeems us to that more excellent way which comes only through suffering”.
To follow Jesus is to go through what Jesus has gone through. That includes the cross. Many times we need the crown without the cross. Does not work that way.
All we need is faith – sounds easy, but it is a faith to take up the cross and follow Him!