Why Do We Suffer?

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Why does God allow suffering? To me this is a ridiculous
question. It poses God as one alienated from us high on a
throne allowing us to suffer as He coldly watches from
afar. That may be your God but it is not mine. Nor is it
the Christian conception of God nor the conception of any
of the major religions that see God as Suffering Love.

Suffering is part of the ESSENCE of God who suffers. In
suffering we are doing what God also does, because we
are made roughly in His image. We, through sacrifice,
struggle and suffering, fight non-being and chaos in order to
to develop life consciousness, love and higher feelings.

I think originally the Venerable Spirit of Life and Love
was surrounded by non-being. This Divine Being wished to share
His consciousness of life, his ability to love, his sense of
transcendence. In order to create and share these things, He
had to struggle and overcome non-Being. He had to spiritualize
non-being. With pain and agony in suffering and struggling with
non-Being, God created life and creations. He possibly created
not just our creation but many creations. His first
step with non-being was a redemptive step to create mankind.

I think there is in all of creation a redemptive struggle
going on as God suffers and struggles to make insensate                 non-being into sensate spiritual life. Does not the Apostle remark,
the creation is in travail, in labor, a spiritualizing of
the creation, and a great labor of grace going on around us but
not completed?

As God struggled to share His consciousness, He created life,
so people might witness the divine joy in living. Then God
incarnated, He sent His Word, His Son, part of His Essence, to
show how God was Love and Life consciousness. God showed in
Jesus that His Essence involved love and redemptive suffering as
the true forces to struggle against non-being and to help achieve
the higher life. Christ showed us in His love and suffering
the redemptive tools of God in reducing and being triumphant
over non-being, death, on the cross.

Now as God was Suffering Love, Christ was Suffering Love,
and God’s people were called upon to love each other and also
suffer to make life warmer, deeper, and harmonious, i.e.
to bring in His glory. And Jesus taught the Kingdom
of God had arrived and to follow God’s path of love and
redemptive suffering to further overcome non-being. He was
to give us life in a more abundant way.

Now God does not ask us as His children to do anything
He is not already doing, and His Son has not already done,
that is suffering. Man’s sin is Gods disease. Suffering it
is part of God’s nature. Since we reflect God’s nature, it is
part of our nature. Therefore we are going to suffer, but we
have free will, so our choice is whether to suffer redemptively
as God and Christ or suffer grossly for little purpose except
to wallow in a self-pity that sees suffering as selfish
and personal.

It is wrong to use violence against people and
to cause them suffering for our profit or pleasure.
But it is not wrong to ask people to suffer with
God and each other for great things, good things,
and redemptive purposes. In suffering together
for good purposes is found the harmony of joy
that is the Kingdom of God. In suffering together
for redemptive purposes we work together, serve and
become more spiritual as groups, families and
individuals.

What kind of picture of Father God and Brother Christ
do you have? Some sort of monsters living without suffering
who call upon humans to suffer. The question is how God can
be so wonderful that from Divine Heights, He who did not
have to, DOES take up suffering for us and to defeat non-Being.
(If you are not aware of insensate non-being around, you are
some sort of sociopath defunct as a human and a disgrace to
the image of God you are created to reflect.) God calls
upon us to suffer with Him and for His causes which affirm
life, further compassion and humanity, and reduce non-being.

Many young people in philosophy classes get tangled
up in Greek words and oxymoronic terms that are confusing.
They mean little but intellectual confusion. To understand
Christianity one must think in relationships that enlarge,
not philosophical terms that trip over themselves. We were
made for a relationship with God, not to have our poor and
finite minds understand the infinite impossible.

If God offers us a relationship, and we ask, “why?” then
one “why” will follow another because we are really afraid
of committing ourselves to Christ, sacrifice and suffering.
All “whys” and no fulfilling relationships make a thin
life. But suffering is life and life is suffering.
What is important is what our suffering is for, and if
it is redemptively done. This I believe you realize.

Let me remind younger people that a good part of what
they have absorbed in this corrupt and decadent America
is wrong. “Me first,” is not the way to go. Self-aggrandizement
in life is not the proper or only aim in life. There is a
God, inside and outside of you, and you need to come to terms
with His promptings of grace. A moral structure is needed. It
involves suffering. Be aware suffering from and for things is
part of life. Our readiness to suffer for the higher life, not
just the good life, is one of the characteristics we share with
God and Christ. Will you take up suffering as part of your
redemptive responsibility for others? Or are you offended God
who suffers asks us to suffer also?

The question to me is, “Why do we suffer?” My Socratic
question to you is, “Why should we not suffer?” Who are
we to ask to live in a china closet in a universe gross with
non-Being? Suffering is bound to happen in a a world of disease,
rampant selfishness, mass self-aggrandizement, power hunger,
as well as lumpen loutish ignorance and insensate non—feeling.

Suffering imposed or self-imposed can be a tool of redemption:
loving, redemptive life-affirmation, redemptive living, disease
curing, redemptive working, all of which take suffering. Suffering
can be used as a tool to redeem life, ours or others. Christ
suffered for and from humanity. Why can’t you? Try growing up
spiritually whatever your age, nationality or condition.

If you aren’t suffering, help those that are! If you realize
this, do this, you shall “raise up the foundations of many
generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the
breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” (Isaiah 58:12)

Christian suffering is taking suffering from humanity
and turning it into suffering for humanity. This is the Christ
principle on which the spiritual growth of mankind rests
and the advancement of civilization depends. Suffering
is a part of life. Let us acknowledge this and take what comes
of it gracefully and with redemptive spiritual wisdom.

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Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.