Okay, the height of the irritating things about God is how we see or don’t see His role and concern in the hard things of our lives. One of you asked about Job. I had to dig out this entry which has been hanging out in my saved drafts for awhile. It is long, but I fear one of the worst things we can do is to try handling these difficult things with easy answers. I tried to dig a bit, I hope it helps…
God seems more comfortable with our suffering than we do. I wish this were not so, it makes it hard for us to be comfortable with Him. At the least it seems He may not care. At the worst, we fear He takes a certain amount of sadistic joy in our pain. Now be certain, neither of these stances is consistent with the overall revelation of God, but face it, when you are in pain, and He seems OK with it, theological reason provides NO relief. It is human pain that causes many people to view God askew, and even judge Him. In some cases, it can cause people to turn away from Him. Sadly, this may even intensify their pain. Not because He punishes, but because pain increases proportionally to your distance from the Healer.
So what is it He sees when we suffer? Fair warning, no answer to this question will ease human pain.
I think that two very important shifts may help us think a little more like God about human pain, in all of its forms.
First we must see suffering through the lens of eternity, not time.
Second, we must view suffering and even death from the perspective of both realms and not just the material world.
Our good friend, Dr. Caroline Leaf, tells us that we have the brain cell capacity for 3 million years of memory. So consider how you might view your current circumstances after, oh, say, 2.9 million years of living in paradise. Living in Paradise with access to full understanding. Our seventy to ninety years here, are like the snap of a finger. Such a sliver of all that we are made for. An important sliver, but a sliver nonetheless.
While we are here, balanced precariously on top of this sliver, our eyes are blinded, our minds are shrouded and our hearts are darkened. At best we see a smudged reflection of all-that-is. Yet, because it is all we see, we operate as if we have the complete picture. Have you ever been angry with someone because of what you saw or heard, and carried that anger until you had the whole story? When you discover all the pieces of the story that you did not know, things make much more sense.
The emotion may not go away immediately, but, give it a few days. A few years. A few centuries. Once we see fully we will have a lot of time to re-orient.
Now for the big shift.
We must at least begin to see now, in the present, that God sees our pain and suffering differently.
I do not believe He is using our pain to teach us. But we can learn. I do not believe God is pleased in any way with our pain, but He is pleased with us.
The worst things that we as humans suffer are, death, suffering and injustices. all three of these things are contrary…in direct oppostion to…the Nature of God. Remember, God is the Spirit of Life, the Source and the Giver of all aliveness. He is the Comforter and the Righteous Judge. These things that we suffer, death, suffering and injustice are the polar opposite of His Nature on earth and in our lives.
Here is the question we all face…as does He. Can His nature be eradicated in any given situation by the onslaught of such opposition?
In the face of hate and evil, can Love remain?
In the great Injustices of life, is there a scale that can ultimately balance it all?
When A Life ends on earth is the Spirit of Life defeated?
These are not just questions for God to answer. These are questions for us to answer. If we allow these great opponents of The Eternal One to consume our minds in the moments (or years) of our experience, then we answer one way. When in the middle of the storm, we can reserve a corner of our soul for ongoing connection to the Ultimate Outcome, we answer another way.
Job, the Bible character whose name is synonymous with Suffered Inustice, Loss, and Anguish faced the crisis of answering these questions in the immediacy of his circumstances. He began to allow his circumstances and his experience of them, to blot out the three million year, Universe-sized, Invisible realm. Is his window of time on earth capable of overwhelming the Truth of the Goodness of God? For a time it seemed it may…at least in his experience. No circumstance can change the truth about the True One. Circumstances can, however, change our understanding, our perception, our belief in the Truth about the True One. God graciously reminded Job that the picture was much larger that the one he could see.
When in human experience, an overwhelming circumstance proves incapable of overwhelming us, a great and Cosmic shift happens. One kingdom, the kingdom of the deceiver, loses ground. Not just in the moment but from that moment on. The Kingdom of God gains not just ground but a new beach head.
In the book of Hebrews Chapter 11 we read a really irritating teaching. In summary, the writer says that those who believed and died the death of Martyrs receive a greater resurrection. You mean God rewards us for being willing to suffer? So, maybe He really does like our pain? Be careful…the war is against you and I believing the Truth about God, in the midst of our earthly experience.
The word here, translated “resurrection” carries many meanings. One of the meanings is “revelation”; a word describing the crossing over of God’s perception into our realm of experience.
While we see death as an end, God sees death as a transition. A “crossing-over”. So, I have to wonder, what door opens when the crossing over occurs? And is the crossing over a one-way transaction? Do we only lose our residents to that other realm, or does something come back into our realm when the door opens.
It is not uncommon to read of martyred missionaries, who appear to have made no headway in the culture where they labored. Years after their death, the Life of God breaks out in culture transforming ways.
When Steven (who seemed quite happy to make the crossing-over) was stoned to death, the Life of God, got ahold of a nearby murderer, and turned him into a life giving Apostle named Paul.
Or my favorite story. At the moment of Jesus’ death, we read that the veil in the Temple, the Physical barrier between the two realms, tore in two, opening up access again to the Spirit of Life. But what if we keep reading? (Matthew 28)We will find that when this “crossing-over” happened, the bodies of the Saints which were in tombs in Jerusalem, came back to life (or did Life come back to them?) and walked around the city. This is what the eyes of men could see at the moment of the Greatest Injustice, and the Death of the Life-Giver. Dead bodies got up and walked.
What if God can see what we cannot in our moments of Suffering, Injustice and Death? What if He can see how the linkage between two realms opens up? What if He can see that we, as we cross over to heavenly realms, and keep our eyes focused on what little we can see of Him in those moments, open the door for the Forces of Heaven to be unleashed on the earth? He is not happy that we suffer. He is, however, overjoyed when Life overcomes death, and Justice overcomes Injustice. God, give us eyes to see.