It's sometimes, maybe even more often than we like to admit to others, difficult to survive. Each day, all that life throws at us, hit after hit slamming into us with the weight of a freight train. How many times has it come down to a choice, pay the electric bill or buy food? How often has there been no choice? Another layoff, another defeat, another funeral.
If we live long enough to count up and reflect on our years of life we'll notice more and more ghosts. The regrets, anxieties, and guilt that haunts us. They punish us for living. Family and friends can show up for us, but the hits just keep coming.
We drink until we can't stand up. We taste gunmetal. We close our eyes and pray for strength to stop caressing the barrel and just pull the trigger. No more difficulties. No more surviving. No more of life's freight trains slamming into us. We know it's not very pious but we pray to die anyway.
We pray to die but the gun drops onto our lap. The strength doesn't come. God, it seems, doesn't listen to impious prayers. Now we can add suicide to what we're able to survive. Another defeat. The world continues to spin. People keep on the move. Nobody calls or texts. Nobody sees or hears our ghosts. So we sober up as best we can, stand up, and live because we've got no choice.
But, even when life is more about survival than simply living, Jesus still breathes life into us and carries our guilt. He favors us even when we choose to turn on ourselves. He suffers in us because, as the apostle writes, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) Whatever pain we try to own, we end up struggling against Christ in us who refuses to give in and give back our pain.
Jesus is the Savior of Christians too. We too often forget that. He dies for the sins of our brothers and sisters in the Church. He dies for the unbaptized jerks too, who won't help us when we're in need. He dies for those who are beyond our reach. He dies for everyone who's naive to their guilt and those who are crushed by guilt. There is no pain that Christ didn't suffer on the cross for us.
This is how God reaches closure with us. When we look to Jesus nailed up on that cross, that's God's final goodbye to our sin-blasted survival methods. No more unanswered questions. No more long goodbyes. No more tear-drenched caskets because in the power of Jesus' resurrection we're given the strength to live and move and have our being in him.
We don't get to survive anymore. We get to live in the power of Christ's resurrection because the man who makes this possible is also our God. And yes, life will still suck more often than not. Life's freight trains will continue to slam into us. Bills must be paid, whether there's money in the account or not. We'll attend more funerals. We'll keep a bullet chambered just in case.
Do we want to pull the trigger and check out? Somedays yes, most days no. Does that mean God doesn't listen to our prayers? Of course not, because "I believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:24) Of course not, "because all the promises of God find their Yes in [Jesus]. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory." (2 Corinthians 1:20)