"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Suffering, Redeemed

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As a chronic pain bearer I keep my eyes open for commentaries on pain and suffering.  These act as reminders to my soul about how I should think about my pain, that help me keep my eyes focused clearly on the cross as the only answer I need.

I’m reading a new book, “Endearing Pain” by Colleen Peters out of Winnipeg, documenting the experience of a woman with progressive MS.  There are many pieces of wisdom I will need to integrate before I am able to comment.  Some of it hits quite close to home, in only the way that words from a person that has lived chronic pain can understand.

I’m also reading Elaine Scarry’s book, “The Body in Pain” where she begins by describing how pains unspeakable nature disenfranchises sufferers by stealing from them the ability to describe their experience to the non-sufferer.  This aspect of pain can leave those who bear it in intense loneliness.  In that regard I am thankful fir my community that reminds me I am seen and real.

The first gift from Peters is a multitude of quotations she offers, that pointed me to this Christianity Today article from August 2009 by law professor William Stuntz:

Such stories are common, yet widely misunderstood. Two misunderstandings are worth noting here. First, illness does not beget virtue. Cancer and chronic pain make me sick; they don’t make me good. I am who I was, only more diseased. Second, though I deserve every bad thing that has ever happened to me, those things didn’t happen because I deserve them. Life in a fallen world is more arbitrary than that. Plenty of people deserve better from life than I do, but get much worse. Some deserve worse and get much better. Something important follows: The question we are most prone to ask when hardship strikes—why me?—makes no sense. That question presupposes that pain, disease, and death are distributed according to moral merit. They aren’t. We live in a world in which innocent children starve while moral monsters prosper. We may see justice in the next life, but we see little of it in this one.

Thankfully, God gives better and more surprising gifts to those living in hard times. Three gifts are especially sweet.

Which reminds me of the dialogue between Gandalf and Frodo about Smeagol…where Gandalf comments, many who have lived deserved death, and many who have died deserved life, be careful how you judge.

Stuntz goes on to indentify three gifts that change the nature of suffering:

1 . God redeems life’s curses.

2. God brings about a change in the character of suffering.

3. God remebers those who suffer.

Worth a read.


Written by sameo416

March 20, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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