I found God when all I knew was suffering!
All around me appeared disappointment, a bleak outlook at each day's sunrise, and the fear of closing my eyes to a sleepless night. This could be the very scenario of too many people who have lost all hope of a better tomorrow. Yet, it seems to be the one common adversary of too many of our society that forgot the edicts God gave all of us regarding the use of prayer in our weakest moments. See the Lord’s Prayer: “and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.” (cf Mt 6: 9 ff).
Of course these areas of significant needs can promote deep disturbances within the depths of our psyche without even mentally challenging their presence. All we can see or sense are visions of untold maladies that threaten to undo our ability to call upon God. The promise of better days are ahead if we just wait and pray, trusting that God is aware of our dilemma and is in the process of changing the outcome.
Naturally, we watch some ministers telling us to have a positive outlook and believe that God’s help is on the way if we will only trust in his Omnipotence of perfection. It is here that the presence of God will in fact emerge in spite of our weakest moments in life. (“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear.” “Do not worry about tomorrow’ tomorrow will take care of itself . Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”) (Mt 6: 25, 34).
We need to take a look at suffering and its very element of producing anxiety, depression, and a multitude of unhealthy aspirations that plague any of us. The results of tragedies, be it on a national or global scenario, or within the lives of ourselves. It won’t be necessary to list the many or even a few periods of pain, physical or mental, that affect most people from day to day. What we need is to compare the suffering of Christ to ours. However, his suffering was for a divine purpose that began with Adam and Eve’s rejection of God’s command which was for their own benefit. So, how could we compare our suffering with that of Christ? It isn’t found in the depth of the loss of something or someone that becomes the issue. It is the willingness of each of us to accept an answer that goes beyond the finiteness of man’s intellect. We find the loss of someone or an entity that was close creates an emptiness that can only be filled with God’s fullness of grace and eternal completeness.
Imagine, if you can, if God would have decided in his just mercy to spare his only Son from his Incarnation to his resurrection, and kept the kingdom of the Holy Trinity without any disruption because of humanity and their constant rebellion before the throne of God. That says a lot, yet that was the price that God himself took upon the divine mercy that knows no manner in spite of rejection of his love to his creation. Without that one criterion of an everlasting love for his people we would never have been part of God’s reality and a sharing with him throughout eternity.
Each of us, because of our direct disobedience towards God’s mercy, the suffering of Christ should have been the ultimate debt for us to suffer. That is how deep the mercy of God is! Taking our place, through suffering then dying the ultimate pronouncement reserved for the worst of human criminals was the deepest love a creator would offer to you and me. This is suffering in the most exclusive manner of filial love, becoming Agape Love for us.
Ralph B. Hathaway