Again, thanks Paul for your thoughts on this passage. Here are mine.
I divide this Logion into 5 parts:
1.) If you are searching – it’s a choice for you to search or not. But if you are then…
2.) you can’t stop until you find…find what?
3.) when you find, you’ll become troubled…why?
4.) trouble gives way to wonder…that’s a relief!
5.) in wonder you will find rest, i.e. be settled and confident in what you believe.
Now, what might this all mean? Let’s take a stab at it now.
If you’re reading this, you probably are a person who is seeking truth in your life. Searching for God. Searching for the Spirit. Why? Well, I think we all want to feel connected to God, be present to the Spirit, be “awake” in our lives and not just float through. If you’re on this path, it’s a veritable calling. You can’t turn away, you have to keep going, searching, trying to connect. But notice Jesus says “If”. Not everyone answers the call. But if you do, read on Jesus is saying.
In life, your life, my life, all is “well” until something knocks us off course and we are left questioning things. If it’s serious enough, and let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion it is very serious, those questions might even be existential in nature: Why did this happen to me or my loved one or whomever? Did I “deserve” this? Is God punishing me? Who am I now, in this new situation? What am I here for? What I believed before doesn’t hold true now, what do I do?
In other words, if it’s truly existential, the belief system you were operating in is now broken. But you’re still trying to hold it together, live in the old paradigm even though something huge in your life has happened to question it. You even defend it. That’s human, we want to cling to what we know or at least thought, was true.
But if what you believed is truly broken you have nothing to hold onto… you fall. You go into a kind of spiritual freefall. It could be a mid-life crisis, it could be a divorce, it could be a loved one dies unexpectedly, a child maybe. I’ve experienced all of those things and they generally have left me to one degree or another, questioning myself, questioning God, questioning everything I did or should have done. I, and I’m sure you, know what it is to be left “troubled”.
What do we do when this happens? We go through the stages of grief first generally, if we allow ourselves to (and if we don’t we’re really in trouble). Denial, anger, bargaining with God – it all happens. We pray, we ask for help, we realize what we thought was safe, isn’t. This stage could take months or even years. What we believed is no longer true. We need to find a new way to believe, a new way to live within this new paradigm, this new life that’s been thrust upon us. In any case, we’re likely in a kind of freefall.
So what happens then? I believe God catches us, stops us from free falling, at some point. This is where we can pause and reevaluate our lives. This is where we see God clearly and feel close to God in a way maybe we never did before. That closeness, that realization, saves us. What we now believe is new. We’re filled with wonder at God’s love, God’s mercy. Jesus said (paraphrasing) “when your burden is too heavy, let me take your yoke”.
This is where we find ourselves anew. By the grace of God of course. We can’t do it alone. That’s why Jesus came here, to prove to us that we are not alone, ever. It is here that we find ourselves placed in the Body of Christ. That’s what this “reigning” and “sovereignty” is about: we find our place, we are secure in our place with God.
Finally, we can rest. We’ve gone through the crisis. We come out the other end maybe tired, maybe exhausted, maybe drained, but with a new way of seeing life, a new way of seeing God in our lives. This is the wonder of it all.
Blessings on your journey.
PS, that’s the Garden of Gethsemene in Jerusalem.