We suffer a lot when the one or ones we care about are suffering. We also ache when our own emotional and physical challenges overwhelm us. It is very hard then to remember that God loves us. Those words become only words, even platitudes.
The truth is that the Old English meaning of the word suffer was to allow. When too much pain fills our lives and the lives of others, we can’t feel that God’s love is present. Our doors to love slam shut. We wonder where God is as we suffer.
It may seem impossible to understand that God’s love is not a love that prevents suffering, but a love that joins in the unfolding of whatever is occurring. God suffers and rejoices in every one of us. God participates. There is no old, white Patriarch in the sky who points at us with a condemning finger. Instead, there is unlimited life, and the freedom to be in its unfolding. God’s love is an allowing love. It asks us to take up our lives and unfold them with as much human care as we can muster. It is there, in the living, that meaning is to be found.
To love life is to accept that it cannot be controlled. It can only be lived. Allowing God’s gift of possibility is to remember we are not facing what we face alone. As close as our next breath, God invites us into Life – the very one we are living now. Can we remember that immense gift as we suffer? To remember is to connect again, to become once more a member of Life itself just as it is and to God who can never be defined, but whom we can sense being near to us and suffering with us. We start there. We live there every moment. God never abandons what God created. We need daily to remember the truth of that.
When we falter and distrust, when we ache and suffer beyond what I think I can take, let me know that there, in this frail human body I am yet a member of Your body, Your creation.
Let my mind be still and the truth of your Presence be what I come to know I my very cells.
May I not ask, “Why me?” Instead may I be led to the tasks that are truly mine to do. May I remember Your love and say, “Yes”.