Why Suffering? (part 1)

My friend tells me how his mom has an undiagnosed disease that makes her blow up at family reunions or get in cars and drive until she gets lost. She will throw things at her family members and scream terrible curses. She whispers to herself all day and is draining to be around. My friend lowers his head and says, “Sometimes I just wish God would take her home.”


My friend thinks she is this way because she has been raped several times, been cheated on by more than one previous husband, and was abused when she was young.


What makes this suffering even more unfair is that it was her own sacrificial love that ruined her. She decided to take a prolonged vacation from work (the only thing that kept her sane) to nurse her dying mother and when she finally went back to work they had eliminated her position. That is what my friend thinks ultimately broke her.


So why all this suffering for a person that just doesn’t deserve the pain? God, why don’t you take your daughter home and relieve her of this pain? It’s gotta be better up there.


My friend says that sometimes when he takes the time to walk with his mother in the park she begins to smile again and lighten up. And my friend’s step-dad sounds like an amazing support to her too. He has stayed by his wife’s side through all of this. He is patient and completely loves her, even still. He takes her shopping and cleans the house because she can’t. These are beautiful things in my eyes, like diamonds.


I don't believe God causes suffering, or usually gives it to us, but instead He has put us in a place with free will and consequence, which is the greatest gift, but like every great thing, it can become just as painful. What I think God probably does do is he lets the temporary consequences happen, and then gives us the chance to redeem them for heaven, in a sense. Here's one way I think he does it.


What if suffering fades like grasses in the fields but acts of love are eternal, like diamonds.  Suffering is temporary, it can only last as long as a lifetime.  But what if God and his hosts see every loving deed and remember them forever. The longer my friend’s mother lives the more times God gets the opportunity to say, “that is my son walking with his mother. And there is her husband still holding her tight at night. That is beautiful.”


I bet it is better up there, but what if it’s better up there partly because of what we do down here? Maybe every time my friend walks with his mother and shares her burdens with her, or her husband makes dinner and eats at her side, it makes them more beautiful to our heavenly husband. Maybe the beautiful deeds of my friend and his step-dad are the diamonds added to their wedding garb that will forever attract God to the bride he chose to love.


So, why suffering? I don’t know. But I do know that it is the pains taken to extricate precious stones from mountains that make them so valuable. If love were not difficult, the deeds might be commonplace and worthless like the piles of pennies gathering dust in my car. But taken from deep within a mountain of dirt and then carefully, masterly cut, the glimmer of these diamonds will be the pleasure of our husband, the twinkle in his eye, as he looks on us and and is ever assured that what he made, and what he paid his life for, is good.


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