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Suffering comes in many forms and impacts everyone slightly differently.  Theologians like a good chat about suffering because of the oft-quoted argument against the presence of an almighty god that, were they to exist, would not allow suffering. There have been religious orders with underlying tenets detailing why suffering exists and how we are to respond to it.

It has been said that society’s attitude to suffering has changed since the invention of labour-saving devices and modern medicine. In the past, things that we complain about would have been borne stoically. In recent times we have moved beyond simply wanting a comfortable life and have sought to remove all suffering such as pain, doubt, isolation and so on. I am not sure it has worked all that well.

I know my own response to suffering has varied  markedly over the years. At one time I would ask “why?”, at another I would wonder what I could learn from the experience, at another I just wanted the suffering removed.

We are told that Jesus learnt obedience through his suffering and I am not really sure what that means. I am sure you could write volumes about it but for me it is a mystery still to be explored.

I do know that I am not a huge fan of suffering and would wish it on no-one, and I think I know that pain has a good way of drawing our attention to that which is important, and I know that I cannot judge someone else’s suffering by how I might respond under those circumstances (because let’s face it, we don’t know what those circumstances are), and that is about all that I know. I cannot tell if God “allows” suffering or wants me to “learn” from it. I just know that I have a really sore knee right now and I would like it to stop hurting. That is not to trivialise the subject in any way, but such sharp pain does lead your thinking somewhat.

I wish you wholeness.

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