We all know that children don’t understand the nature of reality very well. They have few tools and so very little experience. That is why, as parents, we have to interpret life to them, day by day and step by step.

But, honestly, I wonder how much more younger adults “get” life. I love younger people and spend much time with them. But I would say the single biggest communication gap comes in the area of suffering and disappointment. I don’t think you even begin to understand these things until you are at least middle-aged, and “enlightenment” continues on from that point. Please read on because I know this sounds depressing, but ultimately, not so-quite the opposite.

Young people know that “life is not perfect”. Older people know that life almost kills you with disappointment and grief. I would go so far as to say it is God’s settled purpose to do that very thing. Truly. You will see. But, as always, the bad news comes before the good. When we have been overwhelmed and destroyed by life, it becomes obvious there are only two choices. You can either rise up in the power of the Holy Spirit and live “in Him” or you become bitter. Two alternatives.

The first is so biblical, isn’t it? Odd that the necessity of it should surprise us so much. I guess it is because, early on, we think that we will voluntarily embrace life in the Spirit: “It is not I that live, but Christ who lives in me.” We don’t. Mostly, it is forced on us by adversity and suffering.

But it can become a way of life, in the interest of sheer survival. To raise the white flag and let God have his way. To “let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also.” Dearest aspirations. Identity. And so on. I haven’t been called to let go of all of that, yet. But I have been called to lay down enough to know what happens next. The big hole is filled with Christ, Christ and Christ again. Death in the Bible is always the gateway to life. No, not life – Life Himself.