A Theology of Suffering
Girlfriend night. Summer brought up a very interesting thing that God whispered to her and it got me thinking too. (I love how that happens!)
This is not a theological position; that would be worthy of at least one volume and years of study. I was thinking about this after meeting at Girlfriend Night and listening to what Summer shared. One of things that struck me was that we often want an answer and for God to get us out of the situation immediately. That is natural. And often it feels that God is silent. BUT, I think that is because we are notorious for wanting the “right” answer and we are not willing to really listen. We don’t like silence. We don’t want to wait. We live like we have one ear and 2 mouths (we don’t want to actively listen). When we do wait quietly, God can actually fill in the silence with His own words.
I do know everyone experiences suffering. Occasionally it is the result of our own poor choices, defiance, or other self-inflicted reasons. Sometimes it is the result of other people in this broken fallen world. But I am convinced that it is primarily the way God chooses to refine us, even when it seems to have no rhyme or reason. Suffering is just that: It is the act of going through pain, distress and hardship. I wonder when people started equating suffering as evidence that God does not exist, or at least is not a good God. Such thinking is so myopic. It assumes that humans are at the center of the world and that God exists to make us happy. Perhaps that is why so many people reject God when they are in pain and why they avoid suffering at any cost.
When my kids were hurting one of the best ways to comfort them was to whisper in their ears. They would quiet down to listen. Sometimes they would even push their ear into my face so they could hear even better. I like that word picture for a powerful loving God who whispers in my ear when I am suffering, The key is to learn what his voice sounds like so that I can hush myself and listen. That does not take away the hurt but is calms me in spite of it.