I think a lot. I sometimes try not to, but it happens anyway. I’ve been thinking about suffering quite a bit lately. I’ve been questioning God’s design in plopping us on earth in these troublesome vessels we call bodies. I’ve been searching for some sort of spiritual super glue to keep the fragments of life together. I’ve been wondering about the seeming randomness of disease, tragedy, heartbreak.
I know I’m not alone in these mental meanderings. And I don’t spend energy beating myself up for not having answers, for continuing to wrestle with pain in its many manifestations, for not having a tube of that glue in my back pocket. Faith is first trust and is finally trust. Faith is initially gift and is ultimately gift. And Jesus is both “pioneer” and “perfecter” of faith (Hebrews 12:2), the one who blazes the trail and the one who has set up camp at its end. According to the witness of Scripture, Jesus certainly experienced suffering, even to the point of questioning if the One upon whom he relied all his life had abandoned him. “My God, my God, why have you left me?” he sputtered from the cross (Mark 15:34). There is no glue strong enough for a moment like that. There is, in the end, only trust.
Others may betray us, give up on us, abandon us, hurt us and just for the spite of it. Our bodies fail us, fall apart on us, flaunt their flawed nature and just because that’s what they do. God knows and God grieves with us and for us. And, as pastor-author-theologian Rob Bell says, “God doesn’t wait for us to get ourselves polished, shined, proper, and without blemish – God comes to us and meets us and blesses us while we are still in the middle of the mess we created.” Did you catch that? Meets us and blesses us. Blesses us. Blesses us. Now that’s something to think about!