“Never forget that life is nothing but a growing in love and a preparation for eternity.”. Christoph Probst
I read this quote this morning. It was in a letter written by a young man to his mother in 1943. He was awaiting execution by the Nazis for the crime of opposing them. It is a reminder of the proper perspective I ought always to be cultivating. For I come from Love, I’m accompanied by Love, and it is to Love that I journey. As St Augustine so famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
Whether I realize it or not, my life is a school of love. Everything God allows in my life originates in his heart of love for me: my welfare, my healing and my flourishing. For everything is meant to strip me of “lesser things”: things of this world that I grasp and hold on to because I secretly fear that I might miss out on something. Or I fear that God isn’t going to provide me with what I need, that he somehow won’t come through for me. I might even wonder if he’s perhaps withholding something good from me to punish me – things that I think will make me happy and fulfilled. That profound distrust of God’s goodness runs very deep within me, revealing itself in subtle ways that sometimes surprise me even after all these years.
There are many “no’s” in me, many resistances to what befalls me in life. I draw back, try to find another, easier path around my suffering. Yet Christ Jesus, who desires only my best life, points not only to his own Cross, but to my smaller crosses as well. He urges me to pick up my cross daily and follow him in self-sacrificing love. If I choose it, I actually can put aside my selfishness, pride, ambition, and self-indulgence and say (and really mean) “not my will, but thine be done”.
If I choose this narrow path – again and again in small, daily ways – the King of Love is given permission to extend his rule and reign in my life. By his grace, I then actually make progress in this school of love. For I am getting ready for the end of my life when I shall face Jesus, stripped of everything except the supernatural life he has given me that enables me, finally, to see him face to face and enter into his joy forever.