“God loves us, so He makes us the gift of suffering.
Through suffering, we release our hold on the toys of this world, and know our true good lies in another world.
We’re like blocks of stone, out of which the sculptor carves the forms of men.
The blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect.
The suffering in this world is not the failure of God’s love for us;it is that love in action.
For believe me, this world that seems to us so substantial is no more than the shadlowlands.
Real life has not begun yet.” (“Shadowlands,” p. 1)
I once asked a priest what my life would have been like if I had not suffered, if I had married a well-off dentist, had 1.25 kids and lived in an efficient, modern house. He put on a phony, pious face, put his hands together in prayer, and said in a high, mocking voice, ”Oh, you would be a nice Christian lady, praising the Lord.”
What he meant by that amusing bit of acting was that I would be shallow, without depth and strength.
If this is the situation, I say bring on suffering because I want—no I need—to live in reality. I can think of no greater tragedy than to die and discover that I had deluded myself, simply living happily on the surface, eating, drinking, doing chores, sleeping…and yet missing out on the core reality of what it means to be fully alive, fully human, in relationship to other people and to God.
“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain