By Jill Mraz
“Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomor′rah
is great and their sin is very grave,
I will go down to see whether they have done altogether
according to the outcry which has come to me;
and if not, I will know.” .~ Genesis 18:20-21
A Bleak Landscape
Well, these days, the outcry for Sodom and Gomorrah is practically deafening; the sin could fill a bottomless grave, and actions do not remotely correspond to the grace of God. How many mornings, within an hour after daily Mass, am I glued to the computer, choking down the latest discouraging headlines on the state of the world today. Most noteworthy are the recent displays of debauchery and dangerous behavior in downtown Minneapolis. A June pride parade showcased a middle-aged man twerking in front of young children as their parents cheered him on. Independence Day introduced laughing thugs taking liberty in deliberately shooting fireworks at people and buildings at close range. Images as sickening as they were terrifying. So, yeah. “Come, Lord Jesus, come” has come to mind often. Nevertheless, hope endures, and when it comes to sin and suffering there’s a better question to ask than why?
Examining the Problem
I believe that we are all a part of one another. While the human experience of suffering is universal, the details are varied and personal. We are all familiar with the 5 W’s, namely, who, what, when, where, and why; lifted from a toddler birthday party invitation, they can also apply to suffering. Why is always the clincher, and when it comes to suffering, a cavalier “just because!” doesn’t cut it. If God is good and all-loving, then why does suffering exist? Sin. Oh, really? How does that apply to the toddler spending his birthday in the hospital suffering from bone cancer? What sin did he commit to deserve something as horrific as this?
Most likely, nothing. So, what gives?
The Best Q and A
To be human is to sin is to suffer. Let’s not settle for that pat explanation, dear reader. Here’s what I have learned. As we are all a part of one another, our sins can affect others, just as prayers offered today can help bring salvation to a loved one who died long ago. God continually moves outside the limits of time and space. The efficacious question to ask about suffering is the one often overlooked. How? Don’t ask why there is suffering, but how are we to suffer. With Christ, on the cross. He who did nothing to deserve his suffering. Melding our suffering to that of Jesus as we cling to Him on the cross constitutes the greatest possible participation in salvation history. Amen. As we steadfastly tread this earthly life, trying, failing, witnessing, and suffering its atrocities, we are called to imitate the love of Christ, trusting that his winning way of suffering will usher us on to our eternal life in heaven.
Lord, show me how to suffer with love.
Call to Action
Pray for a deeper trust in God’s providence and the peace which passeth all understanding to reign in your heart.
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