Monday, May 5, 2008

Suffering

Lately I've been hearing the old discussion resurfacing in greater volume about God allowing suffering... Our God doesn't cause suffering, nor does he necessarily "allow" suffering. God gave us our free will and it is our responsibility to deal with the suffering of others. We have the capacity, we have the resources to end the suffering of our fellow man, but as a group we are silent against the suffering of many. Suffering is caused by man against man through oppression, through greed, and through apathy of those who do nothing.

When suffering is caused by illness, God is there to comfort, not to cause pain. Illness is its own cause of suffering, it is not divinely manifested in anyone. (Even Job's afflictions were cause not by God but Satan.) It offers others the capacity for mercy and for the afflicted to endure. How much sweeter is the reward of Heaven when one has endured so much.

As we live upon the Earth we stand between Heaven and Hell. In Heaven we experience supreme peace and joy. In Hell we are brought to ultimate suffering. Earth provides glimpses of both of these realms and allows us to decide which we prefer at the end of time. Jesus often talked about those who suffer and how much greater their reward is in Heaven. I certainly would prefer to receive my reward in Heaven than to receive it here on Earth.

So be kind to each other, try not to make one another miserable, and help where help is needed.