How are things going?

How are things going?

Perhaps for most of us, most of the time, our life ticks along in a fairly predictable manner. But then there are the times when everything falls apart. A diagnosis of serious illness, an unexpected bereavement, serious financial difficulties - whatever the cause, our life seems to fall apart. How can we cope in situations such as these?

For some Christians, a major and painful crisis sends a shockwave through their faith in God. They have read and been told that God loves them, and yet this loving, caring God has somehow allowed a disaster to happen. How can this be? Is talk about God’s love no more than pious words?

For other Christians, the pain and suffering we experience in this life somehow deepens their faith in God and draws them closer to God.  These Christians accept that the world as we know it is far from perfect. The Bible talks about this imperfection, and expresses our human yearning for a better world, a transformed world. In the New Testament, Christians are urged to work for the Kingdom of God, that is the transformation of the world so that it better reflects the love, mercy, peace and justice of God.

Other Christians ponder the mystery that Jesus, the fullest revelation of God’s nature and life, was tortured and put to death on a Cross. In other words, God himself, in Jesus Christ, has known human suffering in all its terror and agony.  When we face up to the reality of pain and suffering in our own lives and in the lives of others, we are also facing up to a reality which God himself experienced. Pain and suffering do not separate us from God, but rather brings us closer to him.

And for some Christians, the reality of pain and suffering leads to an intensification of their life of prayer, and their desire to help fellow human beings in their own suffering. There is a sense in which the pain and suffering in our own lives leads us to deepen our relationships with God and with one another. God does not make our lives a bed of roses. But he does send us his strength, so that in our distress we may have the strength to comfort others.

We are all different and all our situations are unique.  But God loves each one of us, and I believe that He is able to bring good out of the most painful of experiences. This has been my experience in my own life; and I hope and pray that it will be your experience, also.

Fr Jason