Following his jubilant entry into Jerusalem (which Christians celebrate on Palm Sunday), Jesus told his disciples, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:23b–24). Pay attention to that pivotal unless and understand: without the fatal fall, no glorious resurrected life can be lived.
From this divine paradox, it follows that there can be no compassion without passion, no responsive loving-kindness unless there first comes suffering. Until God ultimately mends all of creation’s broken pieces, there will come suffering.…
“You will know the truth,” Jesus said to those who trusted him, “and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32). By his clear-eyed honesty, Jesus revealed holy, ironic wholeness. Denying pain would intensify it but facing hard facts of life and death would lead people deep into reality, the only place where God eternal can be found.
From Richard Roh