In a speech given in 1971, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser famously said that “life is not meant to be easy.” He was subsequently lampooned and immortalised for lacking compassion, but the full quote, originally by George Bernard Shaw, is this:
“Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.”
Shaw in turn was echoing words spoken almost two millennia earlier. Life is meant to be abundant and delightful. But the moment we take our eyes off our relationships with God and with one another … the moment we focus on things instead of people … the moment we become “me” oriented … the moment we become protective of our possessions, rights, and privileges … the moment we become insensitive to the needs of others … then we become like black holes that suck the joy out of life … and we become tight, like a camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle.
“Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Jesus, Luke 12)
“For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Jesus, Luke 18)
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (Jesus, John 10)