Friday, 13 July 2012

Day Dream


I was day dreaming the other day and I wondered; what if I came face to face with a genie? You know, the one out of a bottle or an old oil lamp. And what if he gave me one wish.

Just one wish. What would it be?

Happiness for myself and my family? Riches? Good health? That’s three wishes for a start; and I only have one wish to make.

As I sobered up and considered this carefully I thought I’d ask the genie to end all suffering in the world.

Now wouldn’t that be wonderful? No more suffering from hunger and poverty. No more suffering from illness and old age. No more suffering from violence and bullying. No more suffering of any kind anywhere in the world.

I wonder what that would be like.

Then I thought about suffering. It comes our way from time to time and stays with us for varying periods, sometimes for ever, and hurts us to varying degrees.

Why, and what should we do about it?

I believe that God allows suffering to come our way for reasons best known to Himself.

But I also believe that He takes no great delight in seeing us suffer. It isn’t for Him a means by which He somehow “purifies” us from our sins, or an essential condition which we should accept gladly as a badge of honour, or some sort of sacrifice to repay Him for what He has done for us.

Let’s face it; there is NOTHING we can do which will ever repay what God did for us. And He does not, and never has, asked for repayment by means of suffering and donning sackcloth and ashes.

In fact the New Testament is full of evidence that God is against our suffering.

Christ acted against suffering when He saw the sick and the poor, the blind, the deaf, the dumb and the lame, as well as those possessed by the devil. On every occasion He stopped suffering by healing those brought to Him. Even when suffering was the result of death itself, as for instance when His friend Lazarus died and his family were distraught; Christ acted against the suffering of death and raised Lazarus once again.

I suppose it can be said that Jesus took upon Him all the suffering of the world when He hung dying on the Cross.

And even today, Christ is fighting against suffering. For He is alive and with us now as He was after the Resurrection.

His Holy Spirit fights against suffering through the hands of many who can heal through prayers and the miracles performed in His name. His Holy Spirit is at work fighting suffering through the miracles in Lourdes and elsewhere. His Holy Spirit is fighting suffering through the miracles and intercessions of the Saints. And His Holy Spirit is fighting suffering through us; yes … you and me.

When suffering befalls us God does not want us to accept it as a sacrifice and suffer in silence. To do so is tantamount to saying that He wills it and delights in it and we should accept it.

God does not ask the sick man to suffer in joy and not seek any medical advice, not to pray for healing and to do nothing about it; anymore than He asks anyone to accept suffering willingly and do nothing about it.

Only Christ accepted suffering willingly and He did so for a Divine purpose to redeem us all from our sins.

That God wills our suffering is in no doubt. But I repeat, He does not delight in it and He does not wish us just to accept it without any attempt to confront it and fight it. He would wish us to act against the evil of suffering just as Christ did when He walked this earth.

Through prayers we act and seek help for the ending or easing of our suffering. Through the intercession of the Saints, the Archangel Rafael known as The Healer, or through the help of those blessed with the power of healing. We can and should act to ease or end our suffering whatever it may be.

Like the woman who dared to touch Christ’s garment we too should dare to ask for His help; rather than accept suffering as if it were our duty to just grin and bear it.

To suffer in silence and do nothing about it is a great disservice to the Lord as it portrays a certain lack of Faith in Him and His love and mercy.

Many people struggle under suffering for years and then miraculously they are healed. Miraculously whatever their reason for their suffering, whether ill health or something else, their suffering is eased or ended.

On every occasion those people have done something in great Faith to end their situation and condition. They may have visited a Faith healer, they may have visited a shrine like Lourdes, they may have asked a Saint’s or Archangel’s help. But they did something, rather than accept their suffering and not confront it.

Just like the woman who touched Christ’s cloak. They dared to believe that God is but a prayer away and He wills the end of their suffering.

And we too, you and me, can perform our little miracles and end suffering when we see it in others.

When we see Lazarus starving at our doorstep, when we see the old neighbour needing help with the shopping or the housekeeping, when we see our colleague at work struggling under the bullying of an oppressive boss … we too can reach out our hand and help in some way to ease and end that suffering.

Maybe that is why God allows suffering to happen in the world. Not for us to accept it and suffer in silence. But to give an opportunity to others who see our conditions to help in any way they can to end or ease our suffering.

When I think about it, we don’t need a genie to end the suffering of the world. We have the power of that genie within us. We just don’t want to use it.

And that makes God sad.

9 comments:

  1. Victor,

    You are quite right that we can help ease each other's sufferings. This is the reason I work with grief ministries. But I can't take away a bereaved person's grief. I can only help just a little in the bearing of that suffering. I think God is the only One who can take away that pain. It needs to be endured until then.

    Yes, I agree God does want us to look for healing, in my case through prayer. But I also believe we need to accept any suffering He allows willingly while we wait to be healed. It was only through trusting God's plan and accepting whatever He allowed, I was able to bear the pain. I feel God wanted me to let go of my own plans and say, "Whatever You allow, I accept because I trust You."

    "Only Christ accepted suffering willingly..." I hope I was able to accept mine willingly, even though I looked for healing. There were times when I nearly let go of that willingness and started to despair. But God is good and helped me through it. I guess that is the difference between our sufferings and Jesus': He certainly didn't ask for relief from His pain.

    I think also that my suffering didn't go to waste. It still doesn't (the suffering of grief never really disappears). The only way to make sense of it is to believe it has value, otherwise why would God allow it? For myself, suffering drew me closer to God and made me realise I cannot exist without Him. It increased my love for God and compassion for my fellow man. It also is used for the salvation of souls, in union with God's sacrifice on the Cross. Yes, Jesus doesn't really need our sacrifices to make up for the sin of the world but He chose to let us have a small part in the salvation of mankind.

    God doe not delight in our suffering - yes! I think it is like a parent who has to watch a child learn a difficult lesson. We'd like to jump in and make life easy but we know the child needs that experience to grow. So God allows us to suffer but no, He doesn't take delight.

    I often feel I'd like to take people's sufferings away but I trust that their sufferings have meaning... and I just do what I can to help. As you said, "to help in any way they can to end or ease our suffering."

    Won't it be so wonderful when we all meet in Heaven and need never suffer again?

    God bless you!

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  2. Victor,

    I just noticed how long that comment was. Sorry! And now I've written another one. Better add another prayer!

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  3. Thank you Sue. I agree with you 100%.

    You're wise and you have such a gift of crystallizing one's thoughts perfectly.

    Your suffering served a great purpose in helping many others. And although it never goes away the Lord blesses you for it.

    God bless.

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  4. Hi Victor
    I haven't looked in for ages but I see by this post that you are still turning out excellent posts. You are very wise & you write beautifully. I thank you for this post and I think many people will find it very helpful. Keep up the great work, my friend. God bless you.

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  5. Hello Breadgirl,

    How nice to see you visiting here again. Thank you.

    I hope you and your family are keeping well.

    Thank you for your nice comments and for your support.

    God bless you dear friend.

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  6. Great article. And I liked Sue's comment, too.
    I do not think God wants us to suffer. But, like with Job, he sometimes allows it. And sometimes, all we can do is accept it.
    I have suffered all my life as an incest survivor. But I believe that God makes good out of bad and has done so with my suffering - By my helping others and witnessing to His love and healing.
    God bless.

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  7. Thank you Colleen. Yes I agree. God does not want us to suffer but He allows it for the good if we trust Him. Thank you Colleen for all the good work which you do.

    God bless you.

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  8. It might seem strange, but I can't bring myself to pray for and end to this fibromyalgia pain and suffering and two hip replacements. I accept it as His way of letting me atone for my sins. Then a priest I know told me that the reason I am suffering is for the conversion of family members who no longer practice their Faith. That made a lot of sense to me. Plus, after over seven years, I can see that He has led me on a journey of healing using natural means, not prescription drugs, and I know I'm meant to share this with others. One way or another, God is sanding off our rough edges. Now if He decides to take this away from me so I can again walk for miles and work for hours in the garden, that'll be great. But above all, His will be done.

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  9. We never know why God allows suffering Barb. But as you say, His will be done.

    God bless.

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