Thursday, 4 January 2018

A d v e r s i t y

"Everyone of us was made to suffer, everyone of us was made to weep"
Walking on Broken Glass - Annie Lennox.

'We all have our crosses to bear, don't we', was the comment this morning.
It was apt, because I've been thinking this past week about similar considerations.

Pain and suffering. We're all made to suffer, says the song.
Were we?
And if so, why?

There's been many times recently when I've discovered that why we so often 'bleed' is because of the deep scars we carry... from "home" (broken families) or our youth (abuse is clearly far more prevalent than many ever imagined) or those many cruel circumstances that acted to thwart or twist us in some way.

Is it all really necessary?
I wonder what kind of man a genius like Alan Turing would have become if he hadn't been so wickedly nailed under the floorboards at boarding school, or, come to think of it, if his family hadn't seen it necessary to send him to such a place (I speak from experience... Perhaps I'll write more on all of that sometime).

In Aaron Sorkin's movie about Steve Jobs, there's a line towards the end where the brilliant yet flawed thinker confesses to his estranged daughter, "I was made poorly".
There are huge consequences of what we really are. To reference another film, the candid portrayal of the true story of Johnny Cash, Walk the Line, really shows how this works, particularly through the relationship between father and son.

In sin, acknowledged David, the great poet, I was conceived and brought into life.

Is that the reason?

It's a premise that most of us want to push away, at least until we have to own up to some deeper truth about ourselves and about the pain of dislocation we all bear.

I've spent some time here over the years here talking about the remedy, but there's another aspect to suffering for us when we understand that we're rescued by grace. Hardship can then take on another dimension.

In the opening of his prison-written letter to the Christians at Philippi, Paul can express thanks for his dire circumstances, not because they were not arduous, but because they were part of a package that was producing a deeper understanding and experience of God's great and transforming love in the core of our pain-stricken world. A man who had once been consumed by zealous hatred of others was now content to sit in a cell for those he had once wanted to kill because he had been released from the cancer of sin by the joy of God's healing of reconciliation and peace through His Son. The palpable result of genuine rescue is that it allows us in our present circumstances to see, even amidst the deep and very real pains, that healing is present, and that wonder means that the day approaches when all tears, all sorrow, will end.

The harsh and bitter hurts of suffering may not yet be gone, but they can at least now be woven into a manner of being that is approving of and seeking to give what is truly excellent - the righteous fruit of healing righteousness that has been bestowed to us, leading to a completion that means our trails will be folded in to that increasing peace and rich life that is finally fully unfolded when creation is eternally made whole.

Perhaps today, our "crosses" can remind us of that cross, that cost to heal us, so we can cleave to something true in all our pain.

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