Friday, January 21, 2011

In which I attempt to explain myself . . .

There's a great little story up here, on People for Others, a blog which I enjoy very much.

Today, though, I find that I don't agree with the story.  Because:

There are people look to God for help all the time and pain and suffering still abound.

There are people who do not evince the slightest awareness of God and goodness and grace still abound.

I don't pretend to know what the connection is between the grace of God and the human glance toward God.  

There are people drenched in, saturated with, the grace of God, whose lives are filled with suffering.  People who extend themselves to the furthest inch to contribute to the repair of our world and are rewarded with . . .  more repair work to do.

It seems, in fact, that to know suffering, whether in one's own life or in the lives toward which we offer care,  is one of the surest means for coming to know God.

It also seems that to know or to observe suffering is one of the surest means by which we can drift far from God.

I do not pretend to understand the causal connection, if there is one.

I only wish that the answer were as simple as human effort, or lack thereof.


  1. I thought the same thing when I read the story this morning.

  2. Thank you for capturing that mystery so well and putting it in a jar so we could look at it. So very hard to understand these complexities of life, and anyone who thinks they have it figured out or over-simplifies it, is suspect in my book.

  3. Well, you know what my response would be.

  4. Yeah, I don't like that story. (Don't know the blog, so not rendering any wider judgment!) It's glib. I hope to goodness God is not glib.
    In my own life, I've had one very hard era (mid-30s) when I felt completely abandoned by God and another (the past two or three years) when I've felt completely embraced. I can't explain it, on my side or on God's.

  5. SB, I've found that it's difficult to talk about the experience of God's perceived absence without people rushing to assure you that you're wrong and thereby trivializing what may turn out to be a significant spiritual experience.

  6. I didn't like that story, but your response is stunning. Your power of observation and grace in communication is tremendous.

  7. So glad that you wrote this about that story. It is important for us to look at the things that don't make sense and NAME them, rather than pretending that they do make sense, or making non-sense out of them. I can't stand pretending anymore, and it seems that some religous frameworks depend upon it. I don't belong there. The truth will set us free, as hard as the truth is, at times.