Read John 10:10
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NRSV)
This is at once a very comforting and very disturbing text. We all want to eagerly claim abundant life, life to the full. That is the comfort. It gets disturbing when we take a cold, hard look at our own lives and the lives of others.
Unless we live in fantasy land we realise that many of Jesus’ followers are not having an easy time of it. They can be poor, sick, imprisoned, persecuted, depressed, demented. It seems being a Christian doesn’t quarantine us against such misfortune. So what is this abundant life Jesus seems to promise?
It can’t be constant prosperity or good health since so many of Jesus’ followers then and now don’t experience these things. It can’t mean comfort and ease because elsewhere Jesus says we will have hardship and setback.
Perhaps we need to redefine what we mean by abundance of fullness of life. In our Western culture it is equated with material plenty and success. Perhaps abundance of life is our living creatively, boldly, and humbly in a broken world which is yet shot through with laughter and hope. Brokenness may become abundance once we bring that brokenness to a God who holds us in his arms whatever may happen. Life to the full is perhaps life in those arms.