Friday, 16 May 2008

Sadly lacking

I have been thinking hard about how I really was not prepared for being an adult. When I think back about the wisdom I gained growing up in Church a lot of the advice was about the amazing plans and purposes God has for me. However, not much was ever said about the pain of death and disappointment that all people will face at some time and I cannot remember hearing a sermon about how to wait and how to deal with not getting what you want in life.

And so here I am now, desperately trying to scrabble together a 'theology of death/pain/suffering' so that I can still cling to my faith. It is a little ironic that at a time when you truly need God, the pain of life's crushing experiences can shift Him so far from my grasp. To be frank, when I feel there is a plan and purpose to my life and things are going swimmingly I find it easy to see that my life makes sense and that God is involved. But when everything seems to be falling apart and the suffering seems to be without reason or purpose, it all just seems like a sad joke.

I wonder what would happen if young people in Church were told that God does have plans and purposes, but that pain and suffering will happen. There is no getting away from it. And that when you want something, no matter how righteous it may be, it may not happen for you. How would I have responded as a bright eyed and eternally optomistic 13 year old if someone told me that 'truth' at youth group?

I really don't know. I don't think I would have wanted to hear it. But right now I really wish someone had. I wish someone had taken the time to gently burst a few bubbles, or at least lay the foundation for how to cope when the reality of life makes itself known. I wish I had heard less testimonies about how the pain makes sense and more about the fact that it doesn't but I am still standing.

I used to dream about the day when I could give my testimony. I never really have before because I have never felt like my life was very inspiring or very interesting. But I have looked forward to the day when I could say how the pain I have experienced in life has shaped me and made me who I am. How it has meant I can fulfil God's purposes for me. But now I don't.
Now I want to be the person who stands up in Church and tells my story without trying to make it all make sense and honestly admits the pain and despair. But also that I am still standing, and that is a miracle in itself. I cannot accept that the pain in the world has a purpose. That is just too cruel. Instead maybe the hope is in facing that it is really there, and not trying to turn it into a simple 10 minute inspirational talk. It is life, it just is. And it is a hard pill to swallow sometimes.