Thursday, April 14, 2011


“You’ve got to stop doing that.” My friend Netty spoke the words with her usual smile but her expression was tinged with a serious look in the beautiful dark eyes. Netty is a rare woman who has suffered more than most and that suffering frames her faith and love of God. At home I have an antique picture frame that is hanging over a most graphic torturous crucifix. It is made up of hundreds of large thorns and is actually painful to the touch. I have placed it framing Christ hanging upon the cross. His bones are sticking out in all the wrong places, and He is ashen grey. He is certainly dead, the tangible image of a tortured man. It is not the stylized and sanitized crucifix that is most often found in Catholic homes, nor is it the empty cross, proclaiming victory and deliverance found in Protestant homes. No, it is the image of real tangible human suffering.

Netty’s words to me were at once, both a reproof and

an inspiration. No matter what Netty has suffered and is suffering, her delight in God and her confidence in His goodness is the theme on her lips. I on the other hand, fail more often than not to even recognize His mercies. I see through eyes clouded with a Gaelic/ Germanic mist of doubt and pessimism.

If God is all knowing, all powerful and all good why does he allow so much suffering in the lives of His devoted followers?

If “prayer works” as the cliché goes, why does He let us remain lost in darkness and confusion, when He knows all? Why does he delay in answering tortured souls? I know this is the proverbial question that goes back to the story of Job.
I long to be like Netty who accepts with love and trust the crosses that God has chosen for her. She loves Him and that love has produced such deep-seated trust that she seems able to disconnect her suffering from the omnipotence of God and that is where I fail. She and I both know that God is not the cause and source of her suffering but she seems to accept her suffering without even desiring deliverance from those sufferings. That is a virtue foreign to me. I instead, instinctively look directly to Him as my deliverer from suffering and when He seemingly does not act, I confess that I harbor unconscious resentment towards His goodness. This is wrong and the pained look in Netty’s eyes reveals my sin. I know consciously my mistake, but it is my unconscious expectations towards God which still drives my interior responses to Him. Lord I pray, “Grant me a new and fresh revelation of your person. May I know you better and will You lift the cloud of mist that blurs my vision of You?” Amen.