Earthly life is not meant to be easy. Our life is a drama that we’ve entered into, a rich story that we cowrite, sunsetting page by page, turning day by day, ebbing and flowing with highs and lows. Planet Earth is a perfect, tiny testing ground swirling about through the vastness of the mysterious cosmos.
Suddenly, one day will be our final page; one hour… our final sentence. At that point, our lips will speak from the fullness of our heart, and we will either profess God as a friend or foe. His light will cast upon us and it will either feel like warmth or as a painful burn, depending on our disposition.
God is love and and in his love he wouldn’t force us to love him back. He gives us that option, and we have the duration of our earthly life, however long it may be, to decide.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live.—Deuteronomy 30:19 (RSVCE)
If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice. [The Lord] has placed before you fire and water: stretch out your hand for whichever you wish. Before a man are life and death, and whichever he chooses will be given to him.—Sirach 15:15-17 (RSVCE)
When life seems particularly hard or frustrating, I try to call to mind how little I know, how I don’t see the big picture, and I pray to see the present challenge as a chisel permitted by God to take aim at me, the often thick-headed block of marble that I am. We all suffer at one point or another, and we are called to see it as an opportunity to grow. We must be tried, challenged, and chiseled in our preparation to enter the kingdom. We must be honed for heaven.
In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.—1 Peter 1:6-7 (NABRE)