Monday, January 26, 2009

The Problem of Pain

The day before I read this article, I was talking with my friends about human suffering when we had breakfast together. Is suffering a good or a bad thing? Most people would say that, of course, it is a bad thing. I did think so when I was in high school. Indeed, as I mention in the first blog. I suffered a lot during the time when I transferred from one culture to another.
The problem of pain for human is more likely be explained as suffering. It is necessary for human to suffer, especially for non-Christians. At this point, I don’t mean that non-Christians deserve to suffer a lot because they don’t accept God. Rather, it is an effective way for non-Christians getting to know God through sufferings. For most of students in Calvin College, they may grow up in Christian families and were educated to know that there is a God since they were very young. But as a Chinese, culture influence made me feel very uncomfortable to believe in a religion. In China, we were educated to look down on those people who have a religion belief. Chairman Mao (Mao Zedong) ever said that it is an excited thing to fight with God. He said that he knew God didn’t like Chinese because we were communists. Of course, it is not true. But since everyone was obsessed about him during the Cultural Revolution, people believed in his every single word. Being brought up in such an environment, we read Bible stories as legends. The promises in the Bible are more like the fairy tale’s “live happily ever after” which can only existed beyond human’s imagination.
If you want someone to believe in God, you have to let them experience God. One of best way to experience God is through suffering. If a man is satisfied with everything, he is less likely to accept God than a poor farmer who has lost everything in a flood. I don’t remember the exact Bible verse, but Bible did write about that it is much easier for a poor man to believe in God than a rich man. The poor and rich do not only apply to people economically, rather, it also apply to the spiritual life. When a man feels his heart is empty, he will automatically seek the comfort from anywhere.
If I can understand English very well and have a good communication skill when I came to United States, I would not find my Christian friends. When everyone was ignoring us, they came to me and helped me go through the toughest days in my life. At that time, I complained a lot. I didn’t know why God gave me such a difficult time. For two years, I hide myself from other people as possible as I could, since I didn’t want to lose face because of my bad English accent. There was one time when my family was encountering a financial problem. I still remember my dad came to my room and told me that he may not be able to afford my college if this situation continues on. The last two years was miserable, but it did let me gain a lot of life experience. I learnt how to be independent, and I got to know God.
So I did believe that suffering is part of God’s plan. The Bible says that human can (only) determine their own courses but God set up the important steps. If I didn’t have a tough life in the past, I might not accept Jesus since I would be so satisfied with my life. And, according to Chinese TAO (which Lewis mentioned in his “Abolition of Man”), everything in the universe has its opposite. If there is no dark, there is no light. If there is no miserable life, there is no happiness to compare to. I knew it is not easy to live through on earth; I am more desire the life in heaven. Since I know how hard life can turn to be, I learnt how to cease today’s happiness. God has his own plan on everyone. Even though if you are suffering right now, don’t complain, because, God must have his reason. The best thing is waiting for you in the future.

PS: For the question whether God can feel us suffering or not. I do believe that he can. God sent his only son on earth to save us; Jesus came to earth with a human form and was died on the cross. If God is not suffering with us, how can you explain those sufferings that Jesus had tolerated? How can you explain the trinity where father, son and sprit belong to one? If God can even suffer with us, why are we still fear suffering?

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