While it would be nice to have a life of material ease, it is more important to have a life of spiritual struggle and growth. This life is a chapter in an ongoing story, the beginning hidden from us as surely as is the end. What we attain to in this life means everything in what is yet to come. Worldly riches are not important for that next phase. Our spirituality, fidelity, and humility are what we take with us to the next experience and those found lacking in those qualities will have their progress hindered.
Yes, we need things of the world to survive in the world, but only just. Should we amass too much of the world for ourselves, we risk denying it to others in need of those resources and then our spirituality is in jeopardy. Should we covet the riches of others, we fall into the same jeopardy. Should we instead strive to gather more spiritual experiences, to be more charitable, to live more with faith guiding our actions, then we take on the challenges of the spirit and enjoy what can unfold to be the most fulfilling moments possible of our lives.
Yes, it is more difficult to live in the middle of a spiritual challenge. It demands of us study, contemplation, meditation, fasting, prayer, and faith. It demands of us that we surrender our priorities and accept that what we ultimately want is not necessarily something we know best at this point in time. It means we await the clarity that comes with divine inspiration and then make the sometimes difficult choice to trust in that revelation with only faith to go on – not a shred of proof will shine a light on our path.
So be it: Our faith leads us to a greater light. It is a personal journey and one person’s steps are by no means the same as another’s. For those who choose to walk in faith, it is like passing through a dark and rough landscape, with only an iron railing to hold to as we press forward to our hoped-for destination. There is no proof that the rod will take us to where we want to be, only an assurance from someone who says he knows it will work out. We don’t even know for sure if that person ever got to where he wanted to be by holding to that iron bar. We have the choice to hold on for our own sake or to let go to see what happens to those that choose to wander off in the pitch blackness that surrounds us. Some head into the darkness and emerge in a vast building, clothed in rich apparel, bedecked with the tokens of great wealth. They mock those who hold to the iron in the wilderness. At the same time, they do nothing to help anyone trying to join them. They also have nothing more than those riches. Those who hold to the iron railing retain their faithfulness, which will be so important to them in the tests that lie ahead.
The search for spiritual truth is not easy, but it is worth doing.