What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, . . . Jesus asks, ‘Do you love me?’ We ask, ‘Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your Kingdom?’

Henri Nouwen
In the Name of Jesus (Crossroad Publishing Company, 1992), 59.

A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves. Unlike your experiencing self—which is absorbed in the moment—your remembering self is attempting to recognize not only the peaks of joy and valleys of misery but also how the story works out as a whole. That is profoundly affected by how things ultimately turn out. Why would a football fan let a few flubbed minutes at the end of the game ruin three hours of bliss? Because a football game is a story. And in stories, endings matter.

Atul Gawande
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (Metropolitan Books, 2014), Kindle Location 3382.

One of the crucial mistakes I’ve made is to judge God by the present condition of my dreams. When my dreams seem to thrive, I figure God is for me and that He must indeed be strong and able. But the test of faith comes when the path to our dreams look like it’s swerving off course. . . . It’s not hard to confuse God’s favor with our personalized version of the American dream. But God’s favor is far bigger than that. It was God’s favor that led Jesus to the cross of Calvary.