I’ve been reading a book about Suffering, and I guess it’s because I have so many questions and answers that are not fulfilled. That why would a God so good permit such bad to happen. That why would He allow His children to suffer. There are many whys and of course, when I do have such thoughts, I tend to get angry with God.
Often times it’s hard to believe that the same God who loves and blesses, is the God that takes away life when He means to, and the God that permits abortions and the mindless bombing of people. But as I read the trials and pains of sufferings of people, I see a profound understanding of who God is. That God Himself suffered mightily, under His captors and the Cross. He did not permit His Son Jesus to escape a horrible and terrible death, so what more us?
Why suffering? Well… A few things that I can draw from is that suffering is a part of a process that results from the decay of the world. That this world isn’t where we were meant to belong. We are placed in a world that is fallen. Suffering is a part of the world that we live in, and it stems from sin, disobedience, and it affects everyone, even the innocent.
Also, in those recounts of people who suffered greatly with sickness and disability, they were left angry and disillusioned, shouting at God and hoping for healing or an answer to why THEM. Why did THEY have to be the ones that suffered and not others. During such wrestles with God, there is a realisation that despite the physical condition being torn, and weary, the spiritual aspect has grown much. That the person has become closer to God, and has become acquainted and also have a relationship with Him. To be close enough to want to question Him about the very existence of being, and why suffering even occurs. I think that’s what the Lord wants. To have a relationship with us. And sometimes, the only way He can reach us, is by bringing us through suffering. When doors close at every end, and we wonder why. That we question our life, what we went through, and the things that happen to people around us. I often question why my friend had to die from cancer, when there were some others I have known that have recovered from chemotherapy. Why grant him a short period of rebound and recovery, to have him be put back to school, and then in a few months, deteriorate and eventually pass away? Why give the family false hope, and make them suffer?
He was teaching all of us, his family, and the friends around Him, to continually hope, and trust, even when we could not see. To also grasp the solemn idea of death, and the fact that none of us will live forever. This life is not permanent, and while we are here, what can we do to help the people around us, and what can we do about knowing suffering. The ‘megaphone of suffering’, as quoted in some books, is a universal loud hail that everyone knows and understands. In hospitals and all, we see this scenario, that it matters not of status, race, religion, position, that people bond and find peace. That the pain is the universal emotion that people feel. It binds, even more strongly so than happiness does.
There is a prime purpose for God. And one thing that I know is that God has the control of the whole universe. And we have no idea how it works, and how morality is SUPPOSED to work as God planned it. When Job angrily questioned God, he was met with a set of rebukes, asking Job whether he could control the weather, or control the beasts and birds of the earth as God could. If we have no knowledge on the workings and being of the world, what more would we not know on the moral supremacies and knowledge of God? That really struck home for me, as I often find myself getting angry and shouting at God, for shutting doors, for letting hurtful things happen to me or others around me.
As I read more, the thing about suffering is that it is also a hallmark of a Christian’s life, that the people who are ‘blessed’ are ironically the poor, meek and lonely. It’s a strange concept, but the fact that they understand what it means to have faith, to have faith when there is little reason to, their faith is solid, strong, unchanging. And with that faith, and surety of the existence of God, they experience joy profound. Christians don’t walk an easy life, and we should not expect to live comfortably. I always wished I could stay in the comforts and confines of what I am comfortable with, but the Christian’s life is marked with tribulations and sufferings. Like how Paul the Apostle suffered greatly at the hands of the captors and people who hated him and persecuted him. And many other martyrs of faith. With struggles, come perseverance, and the knowledge that it bears an inner fruit, that is rich in experiences, joy and also a solid faith.
Suffering is a part of life. And while I am in danger of becoming cynical or pessimistic about things, one thing I know is that God is using this opportunity, in m understanding of suffering, and the people around me who have suffered, to be a vessel for him perhaps. That He made me think of things like suffering at a young age, perhaps for a much greater purpose. My deep fear is that I will be struck down by some disease or some ill fated event, but I also know that God may use me, and my understanding of suffering someday. That He will either bring me through something even greater than now, knowing that I will able to show His glory, or that He will use me to help others going through an immensely painful time of their life. One gift that I have by God is the ability to listen and draw the innermost struggles and pains of people. That they are able to tell me their struggles easily, and I guess this links up to the very idea of suffering. With a more complete knowledge of suffering, and having experienced it in some amount, I can help them. Maybe even professionally as a career. I know not of what my calling is, or what will happen good or ill. But I know that God will use this chance for me to grow in faith.
Though I find that life is somewhat bare, with fewer things to rejoice for, I am reminded that I am but a small person in this universe that is trying to understand something bigger than myself. And despite my misgivings and comparisons with people, I am blessed. That I would not be who I am today without my sufferings.
That I would not have known empathy to the lonely if I wasn’t bullied before.
That I would not have known kindness and showing love to the outcast, if I had not been an outcast myself.
To have witnessed the loss of a relative and the outcrying grief of a family, to understand death.
To have had closed doors and difficulties, to appreciate hard work and the will to carry on.
To have had a broken heart to know what it feels like to be rejected or forgotten by someone.
To have seen death firsthand among my friends, and met people with cancer, to learn how to comfort and be a presence that soothes.
To grapple with feelings of loss and anger, only to understand the loss of others.
To have experienced the sinking black hole of defeat and low self esteem, to feel for another and guide them through how they feel, because you have been there before.
These things…. I see that they are for larger purposes than mine. Despite misgivings, I know Lord, that it is your will, and my life is under your care. I trust all these, mean something. And the sufferings of my family and friends, greater in amount and intensity, or affects them greatly, serve a purpose too.