” I came so that they could have life—indeed, so that they could live life to the fullest.” (John 10:10 The Common English Bible)
This past week I had the honor to meet Dr. Edith Eva Eger, a woman who is now close to 90 years young, and I say young because I honestly believe that she has a younger spirit than I do. Dr Eger has endured much in her life because she and her family were victimized by the Holocaust: forced to relocate from Hungary to Auschwitz, where her parents were killed. Forced to dance for Dr Mengele because she was trained in ballet.
She would say to herself, if she could survive this day, then tomorrow, she’d be free.
“They could beat me, and they did, and they tortured me, but they could never, ever murder my spirit,” she said. (source)
Meeting people like Dr Eger help you re-think what the abundant life is all about.
When I was younger, I thought the abundant life would be something akin to “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” with Robin Leach. If you’re too young to remember that show it was like Cribs on MTV.
Then there was the time in life when the abundant life was just having a life with no troubles—a don’t worry be happy kind of existence, or a Your Best Life Now to the Power of Positive Thinking level of exponential happiness.
I have come to realize that the abundant life is neither of these things: not a life with a house that has enough square feet of living space for a small country or a life that is free from suffering. The abundant life is a life that abides in the knowledge of being loved by God who is present with us in the whole of life.
There may not be a clearer image of the abundant life than the one that the psalmist paints in the 23rd Psalm. The psalm is packed with poetic imagination that invites us as the readers or hearers to look for a life where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are lacking nothing.
This psalm doesn’t show a life that is free from suffering or sorrow; this psalm speaking of enduring those seasons where the path of life leads us through valleys of darkness because we trust that God is there with us, leading us through those moments, bringing us out of those moments into seasons of green pasture and still water.