My posts over the last several weeks addressed Myths that singles must resist:
2. Myth #1: Others are getting away with sin/sex is consequence free
3. Myth #2 Part 1: God has forgotten about me
Today I will address Myth #2 Part 2: God has forgotten about me: A Perspective on Suffering
As I stated in Part 1, I do not have all the answers. I am not a theologian or a philosopher. But, I am intimately familiar with feelings of being forgotten by God. I think we have all felt as if :
“My plight is hidden from the LORD, and my cause has passed out of God’s notice”
In Part 1, we established that God is real, He is intimate and you have His attention. But, I ended that post with this:
“…Life’s events may seem random and chaotic but they are not. He can bring order out of chaos. There is a plan for your life. And, it will involve….suffering.”
From my very limited perspective, suffering is not evenly distributed. Sometimes we suffer at the hands of others and sometimes we suffer due to our own decisions. Sometimes suffering’s origin is unknown and exasperating.
The first type of suffering is out of our hands and is, to me, impossible to understand without taking into account our gift of free will. Everyone has this gift of free will and their misuse of it will cause us to suffer. But, our suffering is not even. Some suffer terribly in this life. I mean, terribly! And, I can’t explain why.
“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Wouldn’t it seem fair if God was an Even-Steven God when it came to suffering? But, this would require Him to limit our free will. He won’t do that. Even if He decided to limit our free will, would you want him to?
It is the suffering in this world that can challenge our belief in God and Who He is. Satan knows this and delights in our suffering. Satan especially takes delight in the kind of suffering that leads us to ask “What kind of God would allow this?”
To answer that question: A God who has bestowed upon us the great gift free will.
A Perspective on Suffering
As I have shared before, I did not get married until I was 38 years old. I had every blessing I could think of (family, friends, faith, health, steady employment, a roof over my head and all the basic and some of the non-basic necessities) except for marriage and children. And, I still, at times, felt that God had forgotten about me. It is only in hindsight that I can see that my plight was not hidden from Him.
What I was not able to see at the time is that I did not have a proper perspective on my suffering. Back then, I was quick to notice that there were those that appeared ‘more blessed’ than I was. Grumble, grumble. But, I didn’t like to think about those who were ‘less fortunate.’
I avoided analyzing my ‘lot in life’ compared to orphans, the lonely and abandoned, the aborted, the sick, the terminally ill, the mentally ill, the starving, the unemployed and the homeless.
I still don’t have a handle on the allocation of blessings and suffering. These words from Isaiah ring true for me: “his understanding is unsearchable”
But then I asked myself, “Who is this God that allows for all this suffering?” One look at the crucifix and we see that He did not spare His own Son. He intimately ‘gets’ our suffering and our plight is not hidden from Him.
The Suffering of Singleness
My dear single girls, I am not trying to downplay your suffering by reminding you of the starving, homeless, unemployed, aborted and orphaned. Singleness is also a suffering!
I am not a theologian but from a Catholic perspective we know that our bodies are made to glorify God. The purpose of marriage and of our fertility is to glorify God. Not being able to fulfill this purpose is, I think, a special kind of suffering. As we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary and miraculous conception and birth of Jesus, we see how family, fertility and life are not just “part” of our purpose and plan for salvation. They are The Plan.
The shape, form and intricate design of our bodies reveal this strong link to our fertility and femininity. Our bodies are oriented toward marital love…. to bonding and babies. I could be wrong but I think that God weeps over delayed and missed marriage vocations in a unique way. I feel confident that the plight of the single person is not hidden from Him nor has their cause passed out of His notice.
The Veil’s Wager
I am not going to try to sugarcoat it. We are at the mercy of other’s free will. But, we have our own gift of free will where we can choose to believe in God, to be intimate with Him and to give Him our love, devotion and attention. We can choose to bind our sufferings to His and bring about redemption and purpose. We can choose faith and hope over doubt and despair.
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”
Remain chaste and stay close to our good Lord in the Sacraments. Pray for faith, hope, patience and insight into God’s purpose for your life. I request this of you because if you don’t, Satan, the father of all lies, will play havoc with your mind. Satan will convince you that suffering is pointless and that God has forgotten about you.
** Next week: My First Book Review: Woman In Love ~ by Katie Hartfiel
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