I sighed when I saw what my “assigned” reading from Harvard Classics was today. St. Augustine is not my favorite, not for what he says but the language is hard for me to follow and I read it so slowly. But today I got a couple pretty good lines!
“Yea, the very pleasures of human life men acquire by difficulties, not those only which fall upon us unlooked for, and against our wills, but even by self-chosen, and pleasure seeking trouble. Eating and drinking have no pleasure, unless there precede the pinching of hunger and thirst.”
How’s that for truth? No matter how much we have, we always seek more. We don’t appreciate what we have until it is gone. When we seek and work to find something, whatever it may be, the reward is sweeter when we have worked hard to get there.
“Thus with the baggage of this present world was I held down pleasantly, as in sleep; and the thoughts wherein I meditated on Thee were like the efforts of such as would awake, who yet overcome with a heavy drowsiness, are again drenched therein. And as no one would sleep for ever, and in all men’s sober judgment waking is better, yet a man for the most part, feeling a heavy lethargy in all his limbs, defers to shake off sleep, and, though half displeased, yet even, after it is time to rise, with pleasure yields to it, so was I assured that much better were it for me to give myself up to Thy charity,”
Two things here. The first one is that I love analogies, especially when they were written hundreds of years ago and would be written about the same way today. It reminds me that humanity is really no different than it ever was. The details of life may have changed but the principles will always be the same. How many of us don’t want to wake up from a pleasant and comfortable sleep? Even though a gorgeous day filled with happy activities and loving faces looms before us, the transition is never pleasant. He’s saying it’s the same as following Christ. The pleasures of this world may be warm and comfortable but they can’t last forever and we shouldn’t want them to. Jesus Christ is beckoning for us to follow Him and it will be so much more wonderful, but the transition from one to the next can be a huge barrier to cross and it can be uncomfortable. We must use our will to move from one to the next even greater thing!