To be perfectly honest, I’m finally giving up on happiness. It’s been mostly absent or worthless to me for over a year now anyway, wisping about like bits of sight that remain once you’ve closed your eyes. The thing about happiness is how elusive, how draining it is. You can pour into it all the time and still not discover anything meaningful. Tricks, habits, patterns, choices… over and over and you will never actually be happy. One more thing, one more action… I’m almost happy, but then of course I could be happier…
But suffering? Perhaps we’re best suited for suffering. Brokenness, sadness, emptiness, longing… these things come naturally, we can’t avoid them if we tried. With suffering, the burden of ‘doing’ is entirely on God – the one and only who can fill the gaping hole that expands into eternity.
Some people get huge suffering, the kind that guts a life of all sense and reason. Sometimes the suffering is slow, steady and additive. Sometimes we can go long stretches where pain is held out at arms length, but always – for everyone – we suffer.
We have been promised suffering, and yet we still fight against it – still refuse to believe it. I look at my little girls and realize that God has promised them suffering too, that already their little hearts and minds know pain beyond what I would choose for them… or maybe it’s exactly what I want for them… Suffering so great, that God’s comfort is stronger, bigger, fuller, and more real than it could’ve ever been before.
God’s promise of comfort for those who mourn always seemed like a strange consolation prize. Because you missed out on Earth’s ‘happy’ you get God’s comfort instead – an ambiguous, vague thing that is somehow supposed to be special…
But what if the ‘happy’ we cling to, and expect, and desire… What if ‘happy’ is the actual consolation prize? What if suffering is actually the only path to real happiness? What if God’s comfort IS the prize – the greatest prize? What if my capacity for joy and fullness is only possible because of my deep brokenness, my overwhelming agony, my great pain?
I know I could never be the person I am today without the loss of Graham. I must take a long deep breath after a statement like this, let it sink in… let it hurt. Many would assume that a truth like this makes his death ‘worth it’, and I say with quiet resolve – NO, not worth it. Only heaven can redeem his death – only heaven. But there is some sort of strange meaning, some deep purpose. Beyond me… beyond him… maybe it’s the story of Jesus entwining through us?
I don’t want this suffering, but I do want this God.