Daniel 12, Mark 8:22-9:1
Are you satisfied with this life?
I’m not talking about whether or not you were able to afford the tri-tip, or if your favorite restaurant was open on the holiday. If your belly is full and your spouse and kids are cooperative, of course you’re going to feel satisfied. But when the balance in your checking resembles a jingling piggy bank, or when it seems like no one is on your side and there’s no one left to please, life feels pretty miserable. How do you keep going?
Let me ask you this: Do you treasure contentment and purpose? When’s the last time you examined this aspect of your life?
I confess that I’m no expert; I’m 32, and my daughter will be turning two in few weeks. My life doesn’t resemble that of a seasoned soldier or a single mom. But I know for sure what suffering is like — all humans are exposed to plight — and in great suffering, we all need to know there’s something to live for besides simply surviving.
The Bible proposes something unusual. Rather than suggesting we try harder or attempt to contrive some optimistic perspective on things, we’re encouraged to let go.
After Daniel receives a truckload of prophecy, he asks the angel for the ending and meaning of all this information. The angel says that this is not for him to know, and ends the book with a shocking command:
But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.
In Mark, Jesus is busy healing a few folks in quite an unorthodox manner, but He takes a minute en route to ask His disciples who He is. After Peter’s correct response, Jesus informs them that He’s going to suffer and die, which Peter quickly contests, prompting Jesus to respond quite harshly. Then He tells His disciples something similar to what Daniel heard, and I believe something that few Christians are willing to actually do:
When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.
Living with purpose means living for beyond the end. Yes, both Jesus and the angel in Daniel are talking about death here.
We cling tightly to the pleasures of this life, the trivial conveniences of phone apps and coffee breaks and three day weekends. Those are all great, but they’re temporary, and when they’re over, it’s back to disappointment.
We must experience a life inversion, a recognition that while your own life is indeed valuable, living simply for yourself is a waste of time and resources. Lose yourself, and live for Christ right now.