Indeed, life is short. When we hear of young people dying, it mostly comes as a shock, a frantic surprise. It is impossible for a young person to die, we think.
Yet, reality sets it, that indeed, we can all die anytime. As the Philosopher once put it, “The moment we are born, we are old enough to die.”
The death of Inday Ruping, for instance, sent shock waves to many who know him and love him. It was impossible for him to die, he was too young.
Jesus was even younger. He was 33. And he died a more excruciating and humiliating death.
If life is short, so what? Then we better live it truly. It’s the only one we got. But how?
Jesus of Nazareth has the answer. He said, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
This is a bold claim. Anyone who makes this promise and does not know what he is saying, is a megalomaniac. But if it is true, coming from the Son of God himself, then it necessitates serious consideration.
Psychologically, I believe this pronouncement strikes right at the heart of anyone’s mental health.
For many, life may only be about family, work, career, achievement, status, wealth, and relationships. Is it wrong to pursue them? Not at all. But the truth is, they are not enough.
Why? Because we can lose all of these. These are transient, material possessions which can rot, decay, and die. And if our lives find its meaning only in these things, losing them is as sure as the rising of the sun in the morning.
When you lose them, what is left with you?
Jesus offers an alternative; loseyour life for his sake, and you will find it.
How? Psychologically, this demands detachment from the lures of this world. This is what the Buddhists and other eastern religions try to preach and practice.
But Jesus’s demand is more than detachment. Because if we are detached to our worldly security, to what do we anchor our footing then?
Jesus said, in Him! Again, this is an audacious assertion. How in the world can we find life if we lose it in Jesus?
Let me share something with you to illustrate this. As a psychologist, I rely much on my theories to help people. Theories are ideas from those who studied my field deeply.
But when I am already in my clinic, encountering bare souls, mostly in pain, I cannot operate with my theories alone. I need to bare my soul as well and meet them as I am.
The same thing with Jesus. Losing life is meeting Him in person. He is not just an idea. It means knowing him intimately, studying about him, discovering his personality, and most importantly testing his claims.
Anyone who genuinely meets Jesus, is never the same again. We begin to see who we really are; flawed beings who need a Savior.
This is a very powerful reality. Unless we recognize that we cannot save ourselves, and only Jesus can, and He actually did, we will continue to lean our ladders on the wrong wall and will find our lives crumbling sooner, as everything in this world is indeed crumbling.
But if we recognize that we need saving, our humility will allow us to see realities beyond our present awareness and consciousness. We shed our pride, and when we do, we find peace. Then a new life emerges, a true life only possible in Jesus.
Indeed, if we lose our lives for his sake, we will find it. We are born again, in the spiritual and psychological sense. We become a new being. We are resurrected from the dead. And we bear fruit; some 30, some 60, and some a 100.
Life is short, with whom are you living it?