Let us begin by asserting that, whether we like it or not, we all suffer and will continue to do so. Suffering comes from imperfection, either external to us or internal within us. It is impossible to avoid suffering in this imperfect world, complete with its injustice, evil, and human weakness and sin. Simply put, even the most perfect being would suffer in this imperfect world ( just look at Our Lord). For all of us except Christ and Our Blessed Mother, the added complication of our own internal imperfection magnifies and intensifies the imperfection which assaults us on a daily basis. This double dose of imperfection ( our world’s and our own) makes suffering a given which we are foolish to ignore or reject.
Atheists and agnostics argue that the existence of suffering proves that God does not exist. Such an argument is as juvenile as it is delusional. All of us have suffered as children despite, and sometimes because, of our parents’ efforts, yet we do not therefore argue that our parents do not exist either because they allow us to suffer or cannot prevent our suffering! Now atheists and agnostics will argue that, since believers view God as all powerful, He is therefore in a unique position to prevent and stop all suffering and would therefore have to be a patronizing sadist to allow suffering and injustice to befall even the most innocent, such as children. Again, we are judging and viewing things from our perspective and not God’s. Innate in all of this is the notion that suffering is somehow something terrible to be avoided at all costs. Once we accept this fallacy, it is easy to see why we would feel that suffering can and should be avoided, and that there is little if any redeeming value to suffering which justifies its cost.
Such a consumerist morality, which views right and wrong, joy and suffering, good and evil etc as some store negotiation by which we each seek the best deal we can get, is one of the central causes of this warped idea that suffering can and should be avoided and that anything which brings about suffering is somehow evil. In fact, as Christians we are called to follow Our Lord’s example, and what better example in this regard do we have than His Obedient acceptance of suffering as a redemptive tool. Suffering then, has the great capacity to bring us closer to God or, if taken destructively, to take us further from God. The choice is up to us, which is why and how we define our own suffering’s power to save us or to destroy us.
Copyright, 2012 Gabriel Garnica