Saturday, 30 March 2013

Why suffering?

I may have written about this before, but one needs perspective so often. I don't pretend for a second to know of others' sufferings. I only know the loss of my parents within 5 months of each other rocked my faith a couple of years ago. Not knowing some intellectual answers didn't help me. 'Why do we have to have this life and not just be in heaven?' I remember asking myself, and also wanting books from my parish priest to find answers.

One answer that has helped me since then is the lack of contemplation of heaven. No one ever talks about it. We remain silent about God's greatest gift, I think largely because we don't believe it. It's just too good to be true. And in some senses our lives are like a more immediate heaven that doesn't require belief. (Here I don't intend to insult the suffering souls grappling for an answer in their anguish, just explain the general silence.)

My beloved parents on holiday in Austria. Now with the Father. My mum used to tell us she'd look at these views and think 'what must heaven be like?' My brother recalls my dad at a reservoir in Scotland revelling in the view and making a discrete Sign of the Cross from his wheel chair in the last weeks of his life.
When I have started to contemplate it, I have begun to realise that in heaven we may wish we could show this great God just how much we love Him, as a relatively paltry effort in return for eternal, never-ending bliss (I could go on).
It's a simple truth, verified by experience, that proof of love is to sacrifice for the one we love. When we die we can open our hands with offerings of suffering to show we understand the enormity of the gift of eternal life.
But I am truly humbled by those who can, in the midst of great involuntary suffering, say 'I love you God', as we stumble on clinging to faith, not fully knowing the One we talk to. Even Christ felt forsaken on the Cross but called on his Father. Do I suffer? Yet somehow Christ suffered more. I distinctly remember this forsakeness helped me, He had gone through this before me. But I remained hurt inside for a long time, and probably still now subconsciously the trust in God hasn't fully returned. It's a work in progress.

One day, standing before God, I will be properly ashamed of that lack of trust. But, like admitting sin, the first step is to recognise it's there (or in the case of  trust, not there) and work on it. He has, after all, made the first move in making me and giving me true freedom to respond. Then he's shown me exactly how.

No comments:

Post a Comment