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There are those who say it is time for God to come and right the wrongs and sufferings of this world. The thought goes like this: God is God, and if he were God, why wouldn’t he want to set things right? In this thinking there are two opposite responses. First, there is the person who thinks because God has not done so, He cannot exist. How could God cause or allow it? The second is the faithful Christian who believes man is so wayward, things are so out of control, suffering has reached such a crescendo, the time has come for God to take control. Good Christians, we must resist both responses with all our might. Each gives itself to fatalism and such a thought does not exist with God.

There was a man whose job consisted of solving problems. Each day he noticed some small problem on the paradigm of his work that needed a solution. He reasoned if he could solve these problems, his work would be noticed and his employer would find him valuable. In time, he became quite good at solving problems. Soon, there were bigger problems to solve and he set about his work. Each was complicated, but he believed if there was a problem, there was a solution. His only job was to find it. This belief kept him engaged in his work. As the problems continued and solutions were found, he felt satisfied in his efforts. But then, a dilemma arose he realized he could not solve and to which there was no solution. His epiphany was simply this: there are always problems, there will always be problems and this is a problem he could not solve.

Herein lies our thinking about pain and suffering, the present state of things and our inability to right the ship. I should not suggest problems and suffering and pain are the same. They are not. But they share at least one consequence beyond insolvability. Each, if received with an eternal perspective, has the effect of turning us toward God, of severing our attachment to our illusions. We may bow in His presence or shake our fist at Him, even turn away but by facing Him, turn we have.

My problems and suffering and pain had such an effect, a consequence the immediacy of my want could not satisfy. For each severing I encountered, I also remembered them. It was not as though any of it was required. I could not accept God caused them or allowed them. I could easily have believed or disbelieved without those severings. But each had the effect of deepening my unseen. Each took from me, gave to me, metastasized me in a way I could not. Each was indifferent to me, but I not to them. I did not consider them lightly or find solace in theological rhetoric. He desired for nothing between us, and in the aftermath, nothing was.

I wished for God to end the suffering but not the consequence—my turning.

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