Life is Difficult

Life is difficult.

With these three words, psychologist, M. Scott Peck began what would become a best selling book - The Road Less Traveled

There are fewer things, more important, then for you to have a "theology of suffering." For suffering happens. It happens to all of us. And for some of us, massive suffering happens.

If there is one thing that upsets the faith of Christians, it is when they suffer. I need to rephrase this. If there is one thing that upsets the faith of 21st century Christians living in North America - it is when they suffer.

We are a generation/tribe who is less equipped than any previous generation of group of Christ followers - to deal with suffering. We find suffering to be an abomination. We find it simply inexcusable that God would not immediately act to relieve our suffering. We assess God to be worthy or unworthy depending on how well he treats us (i.e. how quickly he MAKES everything good and happy for us). Therefore, we are lacking in resilency and fortitude in the face of suffering.

That is not and NEVER HAS BEEN genuine Christianity. For those who hold to such a disastrous view, that Christianity will not endure. Nor should it. Good riddance. Once it is exposed, they may be positioned to find the real God and experience real faith.

Among the most important work Christian leaders will do is map out the terrain of suffering for post-moderns, and as spiritual directors walk with them through the valleys of the shadow of death (Psalm 23) and Baca (Psalm 84).

Among my favorite resources on suffering, I still find Peter Kreeft's Making Sense Out of Suffering to be full fo gentle wisdom and wise direction.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International