“No gain without pain”. It’s a hard fact of life – of all aspects of life (whether material, emotional, spiritual, physical, the world and nature, or the universe) – that the only way to transformation and freedom, to abundance and new life, is through death, whether it is physical death, falling, letting go, failure, or losing something. It is inevitably painful and will usually involve darkness, isolation, breakdown, loss of control, risk, rejection, unrecognisable change and re-organisation before there is eventually re-creation and growth, transformation and new life.
How often would I much prefer to stick with the security and comfort of the known, the status quo, “just let me finish doing this”, rather than let go and risk the process of transformation and change? “Better the ‘devil’ you know than the ‘devil’ you don’t know”. But I wouldn’t be here, nor would my children and grandchildren be here, without death and new life, change and transformation. Nor would the world be the beautiful and amazing place it is.
Clearly, not everything that happens is God’s will, as many Christians claim. And God is not controlling all that goes on in the world. But the good news is that he is present deep within us and within every aspect of the evolving and changing world, and goes through death thousands of times every second as he continues to be involved in creating, sustaining and bringing new life out of death.
Many, from all races and traditions and eras, have shared insights and shed light for us on the way, testifying that God is there, at the heart of all life and growth. But God supremely showed us the Way in Jesus, when God himself became fully human, experienced the effects of humanity’s sinfulness and suffered the limitations and painful process of failing, letting go, losing everything and dying – which resulted in nothing less than the Resurrection, freedom, new and eternal life. That is the Way.
Ultimate physical death releases us to live a “life of creativity and newness in love, one with God in the transformation of all things” (Ilia Delio). But all other forms of death, on the way to this ultimate ‘end’, release us into some aspect or experience of new life and creativity.
My earlier reflection on “God Is At The Core of Each One of Us” (about half way down the REFLECTIONS page) also gives me confidence and insights into new life after death. Since God, who cannot be destroyed, is at my very core, giving me my being and creating me from within, I cannot be annihilated.