Back to Job this morning, and his wailing in Chapter 3. I have heard this before, on my own lips and the lips of others. "Why is this happening to me," "I wish I was dead." "I wish I'd never been born." And, "Why are you doing this to me, God?" I remember that one clearly. Seems I let that one fly one night alone in church before the Blessed Sacrament.
Suffering never fails to catch us by surprise, even though we are warned that it will come "like a thief in the night." Instead, we live in a culture that tries to build a wall between suffering and ourselves.
But we cannot escape it and it will show up on our doorsteps, often more than once. "A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance."
Here's what I know about suffering and death. First, I believe that there was a redeeming act in the death of our daughters, because it hss brought my wife and myself to a closer, more ordered relationship with God, just as Job eventually does. As for the girls, their unwilling act of redemption has not gone unnoticed by the Father. In fact, I think I may be the last to get this. This is what I believe: God does not want us to suffer, did not make us to suffer, but has taken suffering and death and turned the table on it by making it an act of redeeming love, through his Son. I wrote yesterday about God being the only one present in the void after the girls' death. Not only was he the only one present, he called us to enter into this mystery of redemption. He calls us all. Some follow, some don't. God, who can do anything, turned death into life. My faith tells me that the girls live, just as it tells me St. Paul lives, as do St.James, St.Vincent, St.Monica, St.Ignatius and all my "go-to" saints.
As Lazarus was risen, as Christ is risen, so too can we enter into the mystery and live on. In suffering, Job gets to see God. So do we.