Source: Brian Holdsworth via YouTube
St. Corona Prayer cards: https://bit.ly/2yD7eVB
Music directed by Paul Jernberg. Find out more about his work as a composer here: http://pauljernberg.com M
usic composed by Roman Hurko. Find out more about his work as a composer here: http://www.romanhurko.com
In times of crisis like we find ourselves in today, it’s easy to ask the question, why does God allow us to suffer like this. With all the things my own family has had to go through over the past couple weeks, I definitely had a moment where I had to retreat away into a quite place in our house and let it all out and I honestly can’t remember the last time I did that.
I hope there’s something to be said about how something like deprivation and suffering can teach us to be grateful for the good things that we have because long before any of the current tribulation that we are all going through, there was a disturbing trend in the world that I think is worth revisiting.
According to a 2016 survey conducted by market research company YouGov, only 6% of respondents in the USA believed that, all things considered, things were getting better. In the UK and Germany, the number was 4% and only 3% in France.
But in reality, based on all the metrics that governments and sociologists like to measure, especially those related to material well being, things have dramatically improved over the past several centuries and instead of rattling through all the statistics, I’m going to leave a link in the description on YouTube for you to read up for yourself.
So how is it that we can have so much to be grateful for and yet our instinct is to decry how bad things are and insist, against all facts, that they are getting worse.
The simple answer is, because there’s something wrong with us. We either take good things, like health, safety, and wealth for granted, or we abuse them.
When things are going our way, we easily succumb to the mistaken idea that there’s nothing wrong with us and that’s when we do something stupid like start wars or become so blinded by our ingratitude that we can’t appreciate how good things are until it’s all taken away.
If there really is something wrong with us, and I’d say it’s evident that there is, then the best thing for us is for reality, or the universe, or God, to announce that fact through some kind of adversity.
Now it’s easy to resent God for this kind of thing as a kind of remote puppet master who is indifferent to our suffering. There’s a scene in a movie that I liked when I was a teenager although I’m sure if I saw it now, I’d think differently. But the movie was the Devil’s Advocate in which Al Pacino plays the Devil and he accuses God in this one scene of being a quote absentee landlord.
And then he congratulates himself for being in the muck with the people while God looks down from Heaven.
Well, maybe according to most conceptions of God, but you certainly can’t say that about God as he is proposed by the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus who was God incarnate, who was the word made flesh.
Not only is Jesus a God who willingly becomes a tenant in his own creation, but he chooses the worst accommodations. The last thing you can say about God is that he’s an absentee landlord remote from the human experience.
Jesus is a revelation of a God who willingly suffers alongside us when he doesn’t have to. He experienced the most unspeakable physical torment, psychological anguish, and social rejection imaginable so that when you or I go through something similar, God can stand next to us and relate to that experience, not as a divinity removed from our story, but one who can say he knows what we’re going through and he will help us through it.
Even feelings of abandonment by God. Jesus cried out on the cross, my God why have you abandoned me? So that when I broke down in the dark in my storage room where my kids couldn’t see me, God himself knew exactly what I was going through and he was there to pick me back up to try again.
That’s what Christians commemorate this week at Easter. Friday is the day that Jesus suffered torture and death and Sunday is the day he rose again from the dead a fact that changed the course of history. If you have never explored that story for yourself, now is as good a time as ever to take another look. You may just be surprised by what you find.
Header image: Brian Holdsworth via YouTube