Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Why Does GOD Allow Suffering?

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I am sitting here at the Mayo Clinic thinking about suffering...the massacre is all over the news...I am surrounded by people with varying levels of health...and I personally am coping with my own pain and difficulty as I have literally been a human experiment while attempting to find a diagnosis for excruciating pain that has been with me since the beginning of August. In this context, some thoughts occurred to me that I felt compelled to share....

In times of terrible suffering, as in the wake of this massacre in Las Vegas, it is human to question what kind of a GOD would allow such horror to exist in the world! This question - Theodicy - is among the most difficult in my humble opinion.

As a survivor of multiple rapes, along with the current personal suffering that I endure due to chronic health issues, I contemplate this question often. In fact, I said to my father last night that my theology says that GOD LOVES my rapist as much as GOD LOVES me. Imagine that for a moment? And yet, after years of contemplation on this, I am at peace with this reality. GOD LOVES the shooter as much as GOD loves those he murdered. And we know this because GOD LOVES those that tortured and killed Jesus just as much as GOD LOVED Jesus himself - Yet it is human to be completely appalled by this theology! I suppose this is why Kierkegaard said that we should be offended by the gospel! Revenge thinking is so much easier.

I am still a neophyte at theology, but I feel that there should be no easy answers to questions of theodicy precisely because GOD meets us in the questions. If you are like me, then, and you feel the pain of uncertainty...perhaps we can all have the courage to lean into the unknown. Perhaps we can keep asking questions, because then we give GOD a chance to answer.

There is only one certainty that I possess in the midst of the massive unknown that I will call faith - it is that GOD transforms all suffering into beauty. I know this because I have experienced it so many times. GOD stands with those that are enduring pain, pouring out abundant GRACE and COURAGE. In the same way that feces becomes the organic matter that feeds new growth, my painful experiences morph into new blessings if I can rest in LOVE.

With that, i will pray the prayer of St. Francis

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
not so much seek to be consoled as to console
to be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life

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