Perception and Suffering

Suffering seems to be the topic for today.  Everywhere I’ve turned there it is.  It has been on my mind because of a distant relative’s accident, today’s meditation was about it,  and the chapter in  my book that I ‘m leading a group through tonight is on suffering.

Actually I love the topic.  I believe suffering is the greatest alchemy–when I’m not the one suffering.  Even when it comes close,  commonly held beliefs get rattled.  Why would someone who has been a machinist for 40 years accidentally cut off his hand?  And worse, this was a joyful friend of God!

Yes, I know God doesn’t protect us from everything bad.  He couldn’t or there would be no true freedom.  I’ve said it many times.  But I don’t mind admitting I’ve struggled with this one–had several conversations with God about it.  Humans want things to be fair!  And this doesn’t seem… but why?  He had an accident.

My problem is that I want God to protect me and all His friends from accidents.  When He doesn’t I get nervous.  Why is it worse when there is no warning?  If you go off to war, you hope for protection, but understand the odds of coming back without a limb, but when pain and loss come out of the blue, our minds reel.

I’ve based my security on the belief that “All things work together for good to those who love God and walk with Him.”  It has taken me through a few accidents of my own, a failed marriage, deaths.   But what does it mean when you are an onlooker.  Would you dare say, “Good will come from this, you’ll see”?

I actually do say this to clients, but not at the beginning; not without assuring them that their feelings are appropriate, that the pain won’t last forever, that they will heal, that hope and life will come back, and that God is with them in their suffering and has a plan for their restoration if they can believe it.

I marveled as I saw the healing that had come to the little girl who was abducted and spent 18 years in a back-yard hovel.  How does an 11 year old find the perspective to get her through that to 29?  It sounded to me like faith and forgiveness worked their magic.

It’s something you can’t understand looking on.  It makes no sense.  But as a therapist, I watch it constantly as people recover from debilitating experiences.  Time is not a healer, but God and His perception are.

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