by Glenn Fairman 3/11/14
Without freedom, there is no love. Without choice, there is no freedom. The choices we are offered? Either follow after the light or else burrow into the darkness of self-will. In this existence, liberty will ever be interconnected with the unfathomable pain that attends free human agency and the natural consequence of severing the mirrors of our lives from their illuminating source. We hear this same plaintive cry following every monstrous evil. Where was God in the massacre? In truth, He is where he has always been: at the doors of men’s hearts knocking to gain entrance. He could kick the door in, I suppose, and crush evil before it had formed its nasty intent, but that is not the universe He created. But if he did, and since it is His ballgame, what makes you so certain it would not be your own brittle house that came crashing down around you?[pullquote]Pain and loss become the necessary means to awaken us from that animal slumber, and without them we would be trapped in bodies where brutish appetite and sensual desire reigned over our wretchedness with indifferent eyes.[/pullquote]
We really should get this straight. If there is no God, and we each comprise the moral centers of our universe, then suffering means nothing and assailing such an evil in light of our own limited mortal perspective is fruitless. And if such a judgment were in fact true, then there could be not one chance in hell for anything other than fleeting animal happiness. Moreover, with every massacre, every tsunami, with every suffering soul who has been wracked by cancer or watched their loved ones die of it, all these surviving miserable wretches must ultimately succumb to the forlorn conclusion that such a dismal Godless life is a hollowed out existential absurdity. In truth, we should not even dare ascribe meaning to suffering, because in an anthropocentric universe, suffering has no real logic. And in a world without objective truth or meaning, we all suffer together and alone as pathetic creatures from some black comedy where nobody, even those who dare laugh, gets out alive.
The fact that we as a race, to an overwhelming extent, resists this bleak characterization of life — is because it is a lie, and because it is contrary to the moral law that God has laid upon our hearts. Without this glimmer of Divine consciousness, we could never even begin to question our collective fates, or shed tears for them any more than a lizard does when devouring her own young. Thankfully, it is not in some Darwinian existential grappling that we fulfill and transcend our humanity. It is, however, our reconciliation of the pain and anguish we experience as humans with that objective moral consciousness that allows the transmutation of our suffering. Pain and loss become the necessary means to awaken us from that animal slumber, and without them we would be trapped in bodies where brutish appetite and sensual desire reigned over our wretchedness with indifferent eyes. Without pain, we would never know pity, mercy, or humility.
Listen carefully: God, in the truest and broadest sense has never slain anyone or allowed anyone in the history of the world to perish. Since we as eternal beings merely step through the door of one tiny room into the halls of a grand Pavilion, it can never be said that the Father of Lights has lost a single precious child to the black void of the outer darkness. This being said, the sufferings of we who are left behind and who must cope with these searing losses soon understand that suffering is inextricably bound to the mysteries of faith, redemption, and grace—all of which coalesce and become intelligible in the paradox of the Cross. Nothing beautiful that has ever been made has become so without a cost, and a sovereign God, as C.S. Lewis writes, uses pain and suffering as megaphones to rouse a deafened world. In pain and virtue God fashions men. There is no other way in a world that has been destined to be free.[pullquote]The most wretched of God’s creatures are those whose teeth have been broken by biting down on modernity’s candy coated humanism: that saccharine lure which has always concealed its nihilistic core.[/pullquote]
The most wretched of God’s creatures are those whose teeth have been broken by biting down on modernity’s candy coated humanism: that saccharine lure which has always concealed its nihilistic core. As tragic beings that refuse to believe in the possibility of joy, they take a perverse comfort in their fears and sufferings, like little children hiding in a darkened closet with eyes held tightly shut. As darkness descends upon the world, causing tears to fall as copiously as a winter’s rain, please understand that there is more depth to the universe than unawakened selves will ever know by virtue of their own unaided strength. As the dam bursts and the broken veneer of our pain washes over us in her unrelenting embrace, perhaps it is only then that we can fully grasp this final truth: that we are treasured more than all reason and measure by the overflowing heart of God — a being who even now stands before us in the guise of a Great and Suffering King.
Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. • (4235 views)