Suffering And My Three Friends

Kernahan dreamed a dream. He saw, as it were in the great open space of Hyde Park, London, a circular marquee erected, of such extent that the largest army in the world might easily have been camped under it. From the highest point of the marquee floated the Royal Standard of England. Inside the marquee he saw what seemed to him millions of men and women waiting to welcome the Man of No Sorrows, the Joy Bringer, The Life Giver, the True Messiah, the Savior of the world who was to come.
When the new Messiah arrived, he addressed the vast multitude thus; “For two thousand years you have grievously erred in your thought of God. You have spoken of Him as the suffering One, pictured him as sorrowing over humanity, forgetting that for God to sorrow would be for Him to renounce his own Omnipotence. Sorrow and regret are the outcome of erring and finite nature. In the heart of Infinite and Omnipotent God, sorrow and regret are not and can never be . . . To sorrow is to sin against our fellow men, and to be guilty of black ingratitude to the Giver of all.

And thus as the result of the advert of the new Messiah, sorrow and regret passed away and the reign of joy began. For a season men and women were happy and contented, turning life into a feast at which all were greedy to eat their fill. But with the passing of sorrow from the lives of the people, there were fast going also pity and love. And those who had formerly hailed the ‘Man of No Sorrows,’ now began openly to upbraid and revile Him. Of the fair women and stalwart men, who in strength and health made merry in that world in which it had been promised that there would be no sorrow, a ‘soul leprosy’ more horrible than the leprosy of the body was already doing its obscure and deadly work.

Under these circumstances the Man of No Sorrows thus soliloquies; “Me the world knows as the Man of No Sorrow, yet in all the world, there is no sorrow like to mine. I promised to being life and love and happiness to my fellows and have brought on them only death and hate and doom.”

Then it was that he saw standing beside him the Man of Sorrows who addressed him and said, “Brother and beloved, be comforted; It is I.” Then he proceeded to point out to the Man of No Sorrows, that the sorrow of God’s sending was the loving hand-touch of the great physician. It was a wound that he must probe to heal, and upon some spiritual sickness, ailment, or soul-fester, of which happily, even the sufferer was unaware.
And shortly after this the vision passed. Could it be that throughout the years, that we continue to misunderstand the Man of No Sorrows?

The question must often asked is this; “How can there be a God in the world where suffering abounds? If God is so good and so powerful, why does he permit pain and allow agony and blight and destruction?”

Some label all suffering as illusion. Such a view denies the atonement. The apostle Paul writes, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . .Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:8-9).
We are all creatures of sensation. If we can touch, we can be hurt. If we can feel, we must be subject to pain. Without sensation, not only would physical suffering be gone, but so also would every source of pleasure. We could build nothing, grow nothing, eat nothing, nor could we do any of a multitude of things which bring us pleasure and satisfaction. Let’s face it, until God decides to make people senseless, sensationless robots, we will continue the ability to be hurt and feel pain.

There is an ancient story of a woman who came to the River Styx. She was to be carried across to the land of departed spirits. Charos, the ferryman, offers her a certain potion which would cause her to forget the life she is leaving with all of its disappointments and sorrows. In the end, the woman leaves the draught untasted, choosing to remember life’s pain, sorrows, and failures, rather than to treasure its joys, triumphs and its loves. Sorrow and joys are never found entirely separate. They belong together. They are precious experiences which deepen understanding and give meaning to life.

Once I was away from my loved ones, wife and children. Oceans separated us and my heart was sad and melancholy. I sent this message to my wife about three friends.
“First there’s loneliness. But who can know it, without first knowing your love, the wonder of your touch, the receiving of oh so much. Next there are the tears. Yet who knows how to shed them? Those who cared and dared to share the hearts of others – perfect love is that which casts out fear, that’s why the price you pay for loving is your tears. Last are memories. Yet what is this strange force that holds the distant past within our presence, our reach, our grasp?

The warmth of spring within the winter storm. The lovely rose found deep within the thorns? These are girders of the soul, the hope within each heart, when loneliness, tears and memories, all share an equal part. It seems strange to see how many look on these, ‘my three friends,’ as bitter enemies.

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