Monday, September 13, 2010


London Eye, London, England

M. Scott Peck in the opening line of his best selling book, The Road Less Traveled, observed that "life is difficult". That about says it all in a psychology book that was written about coping with all the slings and arrows of life. Many would also add that life isn't fair either. You want fair? It's a place where you ride on rides, eat cotton candy and step in elephant poop. Many folks expect to get up every morning and live another episode of "Leave it to Beaver". Life ain't like that. How come? Maybe it's because of the free will God gave us when he created human beings. He had already created Seraphs eons earlier. They're the six winged creatures that have spent eternity worshiping and praising God 24/7. I suspect their existence is pretty much set every day. So perhaps God was interested in creating a creature in his own image that had the choice of whether or not he wanted to share a good relationship. For this to happen, we first need a world that offers good and bad choices--a broken world.

C. S. Lewis once estimated that four-fifths of humanity’s suffering is inflicted by our fellow human beings. Human nature is the cause of unspeakable suffering. In the movie, “O God”, a young man asks God why he doesn't do something about all the pain and suffering in the world if he is an all-powerful, all-loving God. God responds by saying, “I have done something. I created you.” What kind of “heart work” can we do to alleviate suffering in our world?

God decided that we would be mortal, knowing hearts would be broken. And yet God knew that this was the only way that we would really treasure life and appreciate the promise of eternal life. It’s one of those bittersweet eternal moments when you come to the realization that death is the only cure for the common destiny of all mankind--dying. As Hemingway observed in Farewell to Arms, “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places”. Our response to life is critical. This world’s value is to be judged, not primarily by the quantity of pleasure and pain occurring in it at any particular moment, but by its fitness for its primary purpose, the purpose of soul-making.

Free will implies the response ability to constantly make good or bad choices as we journey through this priceless life that God has given to us. Our faith and trust will be constantly tested. When we directly experience suffering or indirectly experience it through loved ones or nameless fellow journeymen on our pathway of life, we have the free will option to either curse God or trust God. Generally, suffering draws us closer to God. When there are no answers, faith in a loving God is the answer. Human suffering is a temporal condition that ultimately leads to our common destiny at the end of our life on earth. If that condition initiated or strengthened our trust in God, it could result in the gift of eternal life for our liberated soul. A loving God does not want any soul to be denied that destiny.

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