Pain and Suffering III

Pain and Suffering III


A (visibly distraught): I’m appalled.  This is outrageous!  What kind of monstrous God would allow such horrible circumstances?!  Why should someone such as she be subject to such suffering, when the rest of us don’t have to be?!  There would be no justice!  There are those who have suffered far more than you or I could even imagine!

B (raising his hand to calm A down): Let me suggest this – the greater the suffering, the greater the potential lesson(s) learned, and the greater God’s eternal reward of happiness.  Furthermore, the greater the suffering required, the nobler and more resilient the person required to suffer it.  By being subject to the terrible suffering that brain cancer would entail, Mrs. Maynard, and each other person in her same circumstance, would of necessity have to have been a very remarkable person indeed – God will not allow us to suffer “more than we can bear” (unless, of course, we subject ourselves to it by our own rebellious choices).  God knew that she and others could take such suffering, because of the stature of their person.  Basically, when one becomes subject to great suffering, it’s not that God doesn’t care about you – on the contrary, He’s paying you a great compliment.

Let me further clarify, that I don’t claim to be Mrs. Maynard’s judge; only God could be her true Judge.  May I suggest that perhaps because of her lack of knowledge of this and other kinds of spiritual things, her suffering in the next life may not be as bad as I have implied above – if she even suffers for her action at all.  If this indeed is her fortune in the next life, then God will have decreed it appropriate, and who am I to criticize the judgments of God?  (This does open the question of how she learns those lessons she missed by avoiding the suffering, but I’m not going to go there.  A lot of people believe in grace, including myself – so perhaps it may come into play.  Who knows.)

What I’m really trying to say with all this is – suffering is a part, even an essential part, of our lives, by divine design, and if we try to circumvent it by committing suicide or by some other way, we’re only making it worse for ourselves, in general, in the next life.  The same goes for any choice we make contrary to God’s will.  We make the choices we do because we think they’ll help us be happier, and if any of them are inconsistent with God’s will, then they must eventually yield less “net” happiness than following God’s will would have (meaning that even if we enjoy a momentary pleasure at first, later on we struggle enough to yield a net “loss” of happiness on our original choice), since God always wants the best for us.  Therefore, if we make a choice against God’s will to avoid what we perceive to be great suffering, we will necessarily have to end up enduring more suffering than we would have, else God is wrong about what makes us happy, and God is never wrong.

A: Ummm…I’ve already made truckloads of bad choices in my life…and I’ve also already suffered plenty.  Are you telling me I’ve got tons more suffering waiting for me in the next life?  If so, I don’t really have much of a reason to look forward to it.

B: This is exactly what makes grace such a great thing.

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