Monday, January 31, 2011

The difference.

"O my Guiding Star, the fair light of faith enlightens me to see Thee. What does it matter if I feel or do not feel, if I am in the light or the darkness, if I enjoy or do not enjoy. Only let me so fix my gaze on Thee, that I may never wander from Thy light." ~St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, from God Alone and I

A dear friend, a non-believer, wonders what the point of faith is. We struggle with depression, pain, sleep. Both of our brains are lacking this hormone, elevated levels of that neurotransmitter. We both require daily help, multiple doctors, the same medications.

And we are both committed to our children, our husbands, a beautiful home. In fact, she more so than I can resist irritability and reach out to others.

Why bother with God?

If he was such a loving Father, wouldn't I suffer less than she suffers?

If he was a Healer, wouldn't I somehow have special access to relief?

If I truly believed in the power of the Cross, wouldn't my cross be somehow lighter?

These are good questions, and I don't know the answers this side of the Jordan.

Is there any difference when it comes to postpartum junk whether you have faith or not?

Yes. But the difference is certainly not in the degree of suffering. Knowing Christ does not mean suffering less. For some time, I would have answered that knowing Christ at least gives some mental comfort: You know there's a purpose to all this. You know that He suffered more, so that makes it easier. But some kinds of suffering don't care about the purpose. Screw the purpose. Some days, I'd rather be purposeless, meaningless, and pain-free.

The Father's answer to suffering wasn't to fix it. He could have simply changed us, ended all pain, provided universal healthcare and a decent education. He could have raised up the husband of every widow.

But what he did was different: He simply came and suffered with us. He died with us.

And then he rose again.

"O grave, where is thy victory? O, death, where is thy sting?"

He had the final word. He will have the final word in me. Some pain grabs at your faith and tries to erase it: spiritual warfare. And then I learn, so slowly and painfully, that even my conviction is not my own doing. It is only Him with me, in me. He didn't take away my pain; He is in it.

So, my dear friend, we will seem just the same from the outside. And we will both come through this time of darkness. We will have the same pain, the same struggle, the same doctors visits and medications. And for all I know, the same outcome. The gift of faith is simply that I know we will not only find an end to pain, but a beginning of new and eternal life. And that Life has already begun within us, for we. are. not. alone.


Melanie B said...

Beautiful thoughts. Thank you for articulating them. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

mums said...

And remember, my dear one, that there truly is a redemptive mystery to suffering, and that your suffering is truly gathered into Christ's on behalf of the lost and needy. Even now He is bringing forth good somewhere, in someone, out of what you bear. You are united with Him and His unseeable, immeasurable mercy in transforming the world.

And you are getting better, too.

priest's wife said...


lois in Indy said...

Praying for you and now I will also pray for your friend. lois