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Posts Tagged ‘Harold Kushner’

Really, I have been spared a good deal of suffering. Oh, I have known emotional apocalypses and stress, but generally, my body has not known deep pain, depravity, or paucity. And yet, I’m still downright cranky about personal injustice and fairness.

I Peter 2:21b-22a
But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, . . .

I’m not exactly sure but it seems that I am fearful that an injustice towards me will diminish me. It’s as though that other person’s opinion will be believed by others and soon, there will be a posse of people corrupting my reputation. But why do I care? If I know that I have done the best I could, if I know I intended well and desired only a good outcome, if I was honest with others and myself and as fair as I could be, what does it matter what other people think? Why do we allow these situations to become a type of “personal suffering.” This is not what is meant in these verses, I’m sure.

No. But I am thinking that sickness and disease, in general, are sufferings extended to both believers and non-believers. Illness is no respecter of persons, and it is only one’s response to afflictions that identifies appropriated grace. In the end, disease, pain, and illness are basically unjust. I really doubt anyone in particular “deserves” to be sick anymore than anyone in particular deserves to be healthy or wealthy or content.

Life is a challenge for everyone.

I tried to teach my children this truth. We all carry some kind of adversity in our lives, whether it’s disabling disease, mental chaos, or other limitations. These are the circumstances of our lives that color our evolution as human. And there are a few givens that are totally out of our control: parents, home, country, race, etc.

Some years ago, a family in our church went from one devastation to another, first the teenaged daughter was in a grotesque one car accident from which she was not supposed to recover. While the girl was in recovery, the mother developed cancer. While the mother was in treatment, the father lost his job. These were lovely people who appeared to have collected much more than their fair share suffering in a span of a couple of years. We cannot know the why. Not really, without our words sounding like so many platitudes.

Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a wonderful book over twenty years ago, Why Bad Things Happen to Good People. I consider this a must read for anyone who has suffered physically or emotionally. And I’m sure there are others who have covered this topic.

So, in response to Peter’s words, I can only say, “I have a long way to go.” I am grateful for the work of the Christ, but I am weak in my body and mind in the face of pain or potential pain. Forgive me.

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