There would be no joy, happiness, courage, meaning, love, bravery, justice, compassion, mercy, or freedom without suffering. It seems to me that suffering is evidence of a God who is full of those things, rather than evidence against Him.
Perhaps if we spent time ourselves understanding the necessity of suffering instead of trying to flee from it, our natural responses to it might be less dramatic. We do not question many other things that also deserve our thoughts, yet we focus our minds on suffering because of emotion. My inclinations towards music should be enough to ward off the thought that I am opposed to emotion. I simply mean that our intellectual lives might be better spent also considering the goodness we have that we don’t deserve.
Suppose for a moment that two groups of people came upon a structure. One of the groups understood this place to be a luxury hotel, and their journey nothing less than a magnificent vacation. The other group believes they are entering a training facility that turns boys into men and men into saints.
The tourists are dismayed at the dismal television selection, annoyed that their appetites for food and drink are not completely satisfied, and enraged that little entertainment can be found. The trainees look at the television as a welcome blessing, the abundant food as an undeserved gift, and the small swimming pool and tennis court as nothing short of the essence of grace.
The problem here is that both groups cannot be correct in their assumptions. The first assumes this life is a joy ride and that suffering is intolerable and incompatible with temporal happiness (in some ways, they are right in this latter point). The second assumes life is a breeding ground for moral character. The first is humanist, the second theist. In light of this, suffering only really makes sense (and has any meaning to it) in a universe where God exists and cares. In fact, only in such a universe could anything have meaning or make much sense.
So that was suffering, and I continue in the hope that the following personal section is not an example of suffering by disinterest.
I would really like to go back to school. My Associates is in Computer Programming and my Bachelors is in Computer Science. I have nearly enough credits for a Masters degree of CS, but my interests lie far away from this. Philosophy, English literature, Theology, Apologetics, History, and Music are at the top of my list for degrees to pursue. For some people, it is a lack of motivation that stifles their attempts to grow. For me, it is my indecisiveness. I do not have enough time or money available to pursue all of these things, though I exert considerable effort in my spare time on all of them. I am hoping and praying that God reveals His will to me. Getting into a ministry of some kind is a necessity in my mind and something I would like to work towards. My question of what this ministry would look like is starting to come to the forefront as I enter into an era of my life that gives me great freedom in pursing things (thanks to having a great job).
I don’t know if anyone else struggles with this. On Twitter I am a follower of a number of motivational speakers (by profession or action), like John Acuff and Dave Ramsey. This is all well and good, but being motivated, in my mind, is only a small part of the battle. It is difficult to advance when you are unmotivated, but being motivated into restlessness is no better than apathy. The biggest struggle I have is finding a focus to the mad rush of motivation. I suppose that has always been one of my biggest struggles. Maybe it will continue. It would be wonderful if for a moment I could catch a glimpse of my nameless, formless dream in full realization. Then I’d have something to shoot for. At this point, it isn’t that God hasn’t opened any doors for me. It is that I see no doors to be either open or closed. I’m praying He turns me towards some soon, as I’m growing exhausted in this desert.