So What Do We Do About That God Thing?

So What Do We Do About That God Thing?

By Kerry Smith.

I stand up from a fitful night of painful sleep, grabbing the ironing board, tripping over a wad of socks from my own big feet, and make my way through the darkness to the light switch. Underneath my breath, I say the word that I have created that gives both laughter to my wife and pain. It is the word “Shheeeaaaiitttt”. I created it when I couldn’t roll over after my fusion surgery and would prolong it as I tried to turn from my back to my side.

Kerry Smith

I finally reach the coffee pot where I make coffee with half the caffeine of regular coffee. All of the medicine that I take for my pain over the years has made it tough on me to drink full caffeinated coffee. I stand there next to the coffee maker, trying to stretch, trying to make sense of the day ahead of me, waiting for a cup of the black stuff to hopefully clear some of the fog in between my ears. On this day, a day not out of the ordinary, I go to a chair, sit down, and in the midst of my pain, I pose the question each of us does; why me?

You see, I know all those “biblical” answers as to why we are suffering. I studied religion in undergrad school and have a Masters of Divinity from a seminary. I have read the book of Job in the Old Testament and see that thru his own loss and pain, he is what is known as “patient” because he refuses the advice of his friends to blame God. Yet the story ends with Job gaining everything back and the insinuation is that because of such patience, God restores what he had before his suffering plus more. Yeah well, we are suffering, like Job, and some of us have this patience and are not getting any better, any time soon.

We may even have well-meaning friends who tell us that “Everything happens for a reason”. Not knowing what else to say, they will give a simple answer to our suffering. Friends, this statement is nothing but BULL SH%$@*T!!!! What kind of God sits up in heaven and performs a grand marionette play with us, pulling our strings, and pulling us across the stage into trees and what not and asking us to figure out what reason there is for smacking us around.  BULL SH$$@*T!!!! Oh, while I am at it, BULLSH%$@T to the statement, “God will not give us more than we can handle”!

I have a good friend whose wife suddenly died. They had two beautiful little girls and she went in to take a nap and never woke up. A wife and mother gone in a flash. Now what reason would God have in taking my friends wife? And explain to me again how those little girls could handle such as the loss of their mom? A few years after his wife’s death, I asked him how was making sense of her senseless death. He said “Kerry, It is not if we will suffer but when we will suffer.” That statement has stuck with me. It is not if we will suffer, but when we will suffer.

It still doesn’t quite get at our situation, does it? Yesterday I was standing and talking with my wife and out of nowhere; I lost my balance and almost fell. I was embarrassed and my wife was concerned. It seems that we who suffer with chronic pain have a higher incidence of falling. Studies have and are being done on why chronic pain patients have a higher risk of falling. And so it progresses, doesn’t it?  Something I didn’t expect nor ask for and now I have the problem of falling. Why God, oh why does this continue? I have done all the things right that I should have? I am not a bad person, so why? Why have I lost so much in this struggle with pain; the loss of family members, the loss of money and possessions, the loss of purpose, the loss of jobs, why oh why? Where are you God, where are you in the midst of my suffering, of our suffering and why me; us?

As a theologian, as someone who studies about this God who seems so absent, as a sufferer, day in day out, and as someone who has asked the questions of why and who and what in the midst of my pain, I have two words to share with you that may or may not help. As a preface, let me say this: what you and I are being told about God and suffering is at least misguided and at most is painful. So here are the words, one that has been studied by many and one that has rarely if ever been used. The first one is “Theophany”, which means, “a suffering God”. It means that the God of all creation, the one who has made our beautiful world, is a God who suffers along with this beautiful creation as it too suffers. And if you haven’t noticed, there sure is a lot of suffering in our world today.

Many of us know that picture of Jesus on a cross and it is a painful picture. Jesus, who if it is understood that Jesus is also God, is there, hanging on a cross. Even Jesus asks” why oh God have you forsaken me?” The picture for us to comprehend is not just that Jesus, a human being is there on a cross and suffering, but also that God is there, suffering, just like you and me as we hang on the cross of Chronic pain. Thus, we have the picture of a suffering God.

The second term is Theophany, and it means, a God who wrestles with us. In the Old Testament, we see the person of Jacob who challenges God or an angel of God, to a wrestling match. Jacob wanted to be blessed, and what did he have the nerve to do? Challenge God to a wrestling match! God obliged and they wrestled until Jacob was hurt. He may have been blessed in the end, but he walked away after that match with a limp for the rest of his life. Thus we have the word “Theophany”, a wrestling God.

Even though they are said with good intentions, simple phrases like, “everything happens for a reason” and “God won’t give you any more than you can handle”, are not helpful. There is no simple answer to our suffering or God’s purpose in that suffering.

Psalm 139:7-13 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

7 Where could I go to escape from your Spirit or from your sight!

8 If I were to climb up to the highest heavens, you would be there. If I were to dig down to the world of the dead you would also be there.

9 Suppose I had wings like the dawning day and flew across the ocean.

10 Even then your powerful arm would guide and protect me.

11 Or suppose I said, “I’ll hide in the dark until night comes to cover me over.”

12 But you see in the dark because daylight and dark are all the same to you.

Kerry Smith lives in Tenneesse, suffers from chronic pain and is a frequent contributor to the National Pain Report. When he’s physically able, he’s know as the The Bird Carver. For more on that and some other of his musings on chronic pain, see here.

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Authored by: Kerry Smith

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Linda

Yes, both article AND comments very thoughtful. You sure do get a window into why folks feel the way they feel, many Great suggestions for things to read, and all mixed up together to be one of the better articles (including the comments!) that I’ve read here in a long time that can truly help some people TODAY.

Thank you, praying for all of you (my special advocacy group!), every night.

Cindy Deim

I have been practicing Buddism, I’m not saying I’m a Buddhist but the basics of Buddhism make sense to me. One of the things I like about it is, it’s not so much a religion as a philosophy. It has steps to follow. And, it makes me feel better about my illness.
You don’t have to believe that Budhia was a real man ( of course like all things there are some who are harder core). You can be Jewish and a Buddhist.
Buddhism says 1. life is suffering, not all life, but there is suffering in life. 2. Suffering is caused by wanting your circumstances to be different from what is. 3. Suffering can be overcome by excepting where you are, this doesn’t mean you lay down and do nothing, but you don’t spend all your time wondering why me. 4. is practicing the eightfold path. That you can read about if you want to.
What I have learned is, how to meditate, how to (try) to control my mind and not to focus on negative thoughts.
When I wake up in the morning and my thoughts go to, why me, I’m so sick of this sh&&. I say stop, I’m not going to ruin my day by staying on this negative path. I start a (Meta) prayer/thought path. Like, “May I be well. May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I be free from suffering”. You start with yourself then after time, you think of someone you love and say you “May you be well. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be free from suffering”. Then from there, you picture more and more people, animals, people you don’t care for much…
This takes time but it keeps your mind busy and your thinking happy thought, not why me.

I do this while I’m meditating and when I’m anxious, upset, depressed… It works.
This is a very simple idea about Buddhism. But it has helped me at least learn how to try to stop the negative thought pattern. Negative thoughts become negative emotions.
There are many kinds of meta sayings, that is only one example.

May you well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free from suffering.

Mr. D.

Please visit http://foodforyoursoul.net/sermon/?ser=83 and listen to part 3 entitled Counseling Those in Pain. Please also visit http://foodforyoursoul.net/sermon/category-view/?CAT=r and listen to series #51, 52 & 53 to build up your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Please also consider series #16 part 1 as well as the unnumbered series entitled The Essentials of the Gospel and Basics of the Christian Life.

May God’s Holy Spirit use this instruction to restore your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and comfort you in your suffering.

Leslie Meadows

Well I don’t think God has anything to do with it I think it’s a matter of genetics the way we treat our bodies When We’re Young And even the way we treat our bodies when we’re 30 or 40 you have to take care of what you have or it’s not going to be there. I believe in the Buddhist religion it’s the closest that comes to my thoughts about life and living life and I do believe in reincarnation so I think it is all up to what’s in the cards for your soul your spirit your life and we only have one at a time!

Kim

I feel sad 4 the people who don’t have faith in God. With all the small miracles that happen everyday, like giving birth, I totally believe this is just 1part of life. Suffering has made me thank God more. Don’t get me wrong being in bed day after day is not easy. My illness has blessed me in alot of ways.I can’t answer why we suffer but I believe we have 2 have faith that this life is a test towards enteral life. Satan is also on this earth. & he has won in the minds of people who have lost faith. Having faith has helped me stay positive. To believe costs nothing not believing my cost someone everything.

To me, after many years and several paths, it has become:”impersonal “, these slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.,.,
The merging of concepts like “cause and effect”, and “karma” with “Chance” yields “our situation”.
This is not an empty state: this understanding. After the mind is cleansed of the illusion of being “separate”, there exists the warmth of love, and it is sustaining.
I wish the best for you, my friend.

David W Cole

I’m intractable nerve pain patient, that has several other things wrong with me. I almost gave up on God, then I remember sobbing and in some real trouble praying for his help, somehow when I get into some deep deep s*** he seems to show up. I’ve seen many things in my 58 years that you could call a miracle. I for one will not give up on God, and I’m going to take my suffering experience and turn it into a way to help others get through their suffering. I can guarantee you there is a lot of suffering going on in this world, I look at the other people in the world that is suffering when I get feeling down. Like the cities in Syria being bombed, those people are having to suffer amputations with no pain medication. I look at our military personnel coming back missing four limbs. Don’t give up on God use this experience to help others. Fight for the right of pain patients and their medication. I can guarantee you that saying, why me, blaming God, will do nothing to make you better or ease your pain. Believe me I’ve been to the point of suicide so many times I can’t count them. Who knows maybe one day I will put a bullet in my head, but if a if I do everyone will know I gave it my best shot. LOL no pun intended. All pain patients get up and do whatever you can, if you don’t you will live in your own self-pity, you will give your loved ones burnout and you will make your life more miserable than it already is.

Maureen M.

Suffering and God…tough subject to address for sure. I choose to believe in God.
I too have questioned why He would allow such horrid sufferings on this earth, including my own. All of wish I can no longer use energy to try to figure out, I leave that to God.
I believe that He is surely watching.
In the past, I dared to become very angry at Him when I could not take another day of pain nor my emotional hardships due to it. I could not live another day in the loneliness of it all.
One day about 5 yrs ago I drove to the woods, walked deep into them and cried out to Him, with such anger in my heart and mind. My depression from my pain had taken serious hold of my mind by then. I had been struggling for a very long time with living my life as it is.
(Been in chronic pain for 26 yrs now).
By then I had had 4 failed spine surgeries, lived alone thought it all (still do), was stripped of my 32 yr. nursing career due to my disability, lost friends and family, no sociability, have developed CFS/FM etc etc…
I cannot explain it but I walked back to my car profoundly feeling lifted of my severe emotional heaviness. Something positively and subtley changed for me that day.
Not that I don’t still struggle most days but I began to pay close attention to the details of my life and my past, to find blessings in each day to give me strength to carry on another day.
To begin to work on ‘accepting’ my life as it has become and not as I had expected.
My horrid childhood alone was enough to throw me over the edge and to add this pain in my adulthood has been far too overwhelming.
I need to ‘hang on’ to something to get me through this hell.
My struggles persist each and every day but I choose to keep it simple. I cannot deal with complications in my life anymore. My body responds terribly to it.
What works for me is to believe that there are many messages in my suffering. And that I am not meant to understand it. That only God does.
And that there is a message in the insane suffering all around us.
And until I die and go to Heaven, I will choose to suffer for Jesus as He suffered for me.
I’ve come to ‘accept’ that my life is not easy but it helps me to also accept that ‘things could be worse’. That thought in itself is a daily struggle for me but it does somehow help me along.
God wants our attention and the reward is at the end…

Dear Chronic Pain Warriors, The scripture Jeremiah 29:11 states: For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and NOT harm you. Plans to give you HOPE and a future.
(Though without God, prayers and faith; seems as though some folks are no longer interested in his plan to save them from this opioid Injustice.) Ephesians 6:12, states: For OUR struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms. Please Google the meaning of this particular verse if you’re not familiar with its explanation. Of all the articles I’ve read on this particular website this one has me concerned the most!! We are to have courage and put on the armor of God. (Stop, drop and roll doesn’t work in hell. You think you’re hurting bad now?) I realize there’s folks out there that just plain hate God. Though for those of you that know God, are you just going to give up on and blame HIM NOW? I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes but with this attitude, no prayers, no faith, just why would He even want to help??? My life is no bed of roses, but I got up and went to church yesterday morning. I’ve decided I’m not going to say, Why me God… anymore. For those of you that are, I feel sorry for you. That’s no way to live. A few days ago one of our veterans, a man by the name of Robert Rose had a story on this website. Part 1, part 2, and part 3. If part 3 isn’t an answer to prayer; I don’t know what is! For all of us who are suffering so badly, how do we know just what God has in store for all of us and what may be just right around the corner, in God’s timing; not ours. Perhaps He’s just looking for some faith! Mr. Robert Rose was asking for 11 minutes to speak with the government, after giving 11 years of his life fighting for our country. All he was asking for was one minute for every year he served. He was denied those 11 minutes, but he didn’t give up!. Someone of authority finally got on this website and it caught their attention; praise God! If some of you who do know God are just going to give up on Him, then what?? Now I’m suffering too, and in more ways than one. My story was the first one on here yesterday morning and I still haven’t been to bed. Though for me I choose to hold my head up high, tell my pity party bon voyage and continue to PRAY WITH FAITH FOR ALL OF US, like it or not. Most sincerely,
Terri James

Ms Melody

your thinking too hard. they are stories, myths from a very long time ago. you can’t make your pain work like a fake story, there is no god. It’s the biggest con job on humanity ever!

Kathleen Kaiser

In the past year I have quit believing in God or Jesus or Angels or Heaven. I cannot believe a God who is supposed to be good would put me through so much shit. And if it wasn’t God who allowed this to happen then who is? And I’m not talking about just my chronic pain. I have suffered from lower back pain for the last 13 years and my pain was being managed fairly well. But then one day out of the blue my life turned upside down. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that causes pain and you have to take prednisone for it which has eaten up my bones so now my left ankle is broken and I’m not allowed to walk on it for 14 weeks. I’ve also got type 2 diabetes now. I’ve also had a TIA ( I’ve already had a stroke and a DVT. But those were 6-7 years ago) Since my broken ankle I have suffered from diarrhea, a rash on my back, a chest cold and severe nausea and it’s been a month and I am still having problems with nausea. I’m taking 2 meds for it and one of them is for chemo patients who have nausea. And now my rheumatologist says I’m anemic but nobody knows why. This is only an inkling of the [edit] I’m going through. It speaks nothing of stress from my adult children or the fact that I can’t afford my co-pays on some of my meds so I have to choose which meds to get everything time I get money.

I could be on here forever listing everything and I don’t want to be but I do want to make a point. I lived my life in an honest helpful loving way. I believed in Jesus and God I went to church I did it all. But not anymore nobody’s going to fool me with all this God stuff.

I really hope I haven’t offended anyone as that was not my intent.

Vicky Swift

Both article and follow up comments thoughtful and interesting. Thanks to all for sharing. Great for Sunday.

Lori

Firstly, your friend was right: it’s not ‘if” but rather ‘when’ we will suffer. Suffering is promised in God’s Word in so many places, so we deceive ourselves in thinking we will escape it somehow. In the words of theologian R.C. Sproul, we ought to wake up every day and say “why NOT me?” There are so many things that can go wrong in this fallen world that DON’T happen to us. This kind of thinking drives me to thankfulness.
Secondly, I’m confused by your use of the term theophany: you began by stating you were going to share 2 words, but you use the same one word to mean both “a suffering God” and a “wrestling God.”
In addition, the term theophany means an appearance of God, as God is spirit and cannot be seen. God allowed manifestations of himself throughout the Old Testament to reveal his character. The man who wrestled with Jacob definitely qualifies as a theophany. But Christ’s experience on the cross is only a subset of the real and ultimate theophany – Christ himself. His incarnation and entire life, death, resurrection, and ascension is one huge appearance of God. Even now, as Christ sits in heaven in human form, he is still making known God’s character to us.

No one knows the answer to why there is suffering on earth. Many explanations are offered, from many places. I’m not Catholic, but I like the way they handle this question. They have a whole set of beliefs that many find useful…about “offering up” one’s suffering as a way to help other sufferers….about identifying with Christ’s suffering in order to feel He suffers with us…about the redemptive quality of suffering. Neat and tidy explanations that give comfort to many. …..I have watched videos and read a,lot about near death experiences (NDEs) and they all say suffering ends at death, that we continue on in painfree bodies in a very different plane of reality, where physical pain has disappeared. No one knows for sure. I’ve searched my whole life for the answers…no human has them. And now, at 71, and ten years into daily pain, I just figure I will know eventually, at death. Meanwhile I trust that there probably is a very good reason for the darkness, evil, pain on this planet. I’m just not able to know what that reason is at this point. I suspect maybe we DO live in a “fallen world”, as many believe, and that good will triumph in the long run, and someday I will be painfree…when I die. I will either be asleep forever (and thus painfree) or I will be in a place where pain does not exist. But who knows. Our creator has set this system up. He/she/it has allowed darkness/evil/suffering to gain a foothold on this planet, but in the long run, love/light/goodness will,prevail, here on earth, or in the next world, or both…at least I hope so.

Dee

Thank you for not “blaming God” as God is LOVE. Satan however, you didn’t mention. Why? Why leave people in the dark about the continued war between God and Satan, Good and Evil. People are believing false doctrines and they need the true the whole truth as it concerns their eternal life. Wouldn’t you agree?

Armin

I worked as a radiation therapist for thirty years treating mostly adults but also children,I wrestled with the suffering of my patients all my life,I eventually had to quit because of what we used to call a “nervous breakdown”.I couldn’t handle it anymore and
was no good helping my patients,I was dysfunctional,then, I got a book by a guy
named Thomas Fusco,”Beyond the Cosmic Veil”.It’s a very hard read,it has a lot
of theoretical physics applications by guys like Theodore Kaluza (sp),I have a very limited
physics background so I struggled through it,like five times.In a nutshell, it says that in order for God to create a physical universe, God had to create evil as well as good.IMHO
the suffering comes from evil.I don’t know if Mr.Fusco’s theories are correct but I know
it squares biblically as God says he created evil.”I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”Is 45:7 KJV
So what I am saying is, God had a choice to either not create us in a physical universe
at all, or roll the dice and let each of us be born into whatever miserable situation we find
our self.We didn’t get a choice,we’re the created, so I am trusting He made the right
move for all of us and if He is God,he doesn’t make mistakes.

Hayden

Kerry, I have attempted to follow God’s commandments, raised as a Christian ince birth. I do NOT doubut there IS good and ther is evil. The hypocrites, who can not possibly understand what lifetime, continuous pain can do to the mind….and faith fails my understanding. i DO understand the rule of law in a God fearing country…….at one time. I too have had fusion surgeries, naive enought to believe that MAN can repair a health dispordtr but, I founf out it is NOT possible. I HAVE gained 23 years starting at age 37 with opioid medication, after following the educated doctors orders, on opiod medication to try to manage pain enough to continue to provide for my family. MANS hypocritical view of pain management simply does not include compassion any more. It REALLY pi$$es me off that an “opioid crisis” was declared as mans propaganda to make this a better world. NO patients documentation or beneficial records for opioid medication use has been taken into consideration….period. WE ALL have been declared drug addicts without regard to beneficial, recorded use of opioid medication as the very LAST effective means again regardless of responsible use of the medication. I have become doubtful of my faith even though I have always received what I need. Maybe NOT what I want but, what I need. However, after a full year of a reduction in the ONLY therapy, medication that has allowed ,me 23 more years of self reliance to raise my children in the way I believe is right, I now have started to drink alcohol heavily, which I have not done since the age of 19. I am now 59 years old. Man IS corrupt only wising to line the pockets and increase the personal bank acount. I am not sure how much longer I can live against the way I have believed all my life but, the fed, the HHS, the CDC and the DEA is NOT listening to the pleas of our doctors or the patients with records of ONLY beneficial ue of opioid mediction as the last, effective resort to pain management to live 70 years or so.The hypocrites, the “elect” and appointed are self serving, deceitful, amd corrupt. THIS we must accept but, I will NEVER stop fighting for those who suffer. I REALLY hate that I will become an alcoholic because dot/gov and Jeff Sessions self righteousness states that ” good people don’t smoke marijuana” amd I am sure he also believes that good people don’t use opioid medication either. WE, the people put them into authority, let’s take them out of authority for their self righteous thinking.

Kathy C

it looks like we are so far from an answer, some of us are appealing to deities. Perhaps that is why we are here. A certain segment of our population, believes that appealing to a deity is enough. It is as if we are going back to the dark ages, while people are trumpeting the progress we are making. We are at some kind of apex of technology, yet due to misguided belief, the negatives are attributed to Faith. This did not happen by accident, it was part of the plan. We can see that we are not benefiting from, data and technology, nor are the hungry and the homeless, or sick. A few “Miracles” outliers or anecdotal benefactors are paraded across our mass media, with a constant barrage of misinformation. A brief history lesson tell us how little a deity has to do with anything, yet superstition and slick marketing, deceptive advertising, and a greed dominated culture continue to worship Mammon.

Kerry, I’m reminded of the father of Ja’el, who mistook sacrifice, which was meant to show our understanding that we had done harm to God (usually by harming other people) by squandering a week’s worth of perfectly-good meat and setting it on fire, thereby suffering as God suffered while watching us do mean things to one another, for a way to bribe God by sharing the spoils of war. He swore, on the way home from a battle, that the first living thing to come out of his house, he would sacrifice to the Lord. The first living creature to run out of his house, was little Ja’el.

He really learned the meaning of war that year. His pride over his victory on the battle field, put his own household into mourning, just like the families of those he defeated in battle.

The moral equivalent of war, is just as evil as war itself is. Our country, in making war on supposedly-evil drugs, is really making war upon itself. We use the fear of drugs to hide ourselves from the sick, to ignore their suffering, and to deny the possibility that we might someday suffer with them. We flaunt our health as if it will always last. In doing that, we throw away the useful knowledge gained by millions of suffering people, who could teach about their experience with painful conditions, if only we would show them the mercy of relieving their pain and invite them to tell us what they went through. Like a dead deer burning to ashes on the sacrificial altar and nourishing no one, the suffering of those in pain, is never turned into words that could inform and instruct us on how to prevent illnesses and injuries that cause such suffering. Our prideful ignorance of the suffering around us, is condemning us to repeat it, because the opportunity to learn from it is there, but we foolishly choose to stay stupid,

The love we share with others, is what survives us after we die. It gives those who outlive us, a reason to go on living. Narcissistic pride is a poor counterfeit for genuine empathy, that can get us into war, but cannot bring us peace. 104 years of narcissistic pride in the war for drug abstinence, has brought much suffering, no peace, and has saved no lives from addictive disorders. It’s time to admit that the Drug War will never work.

Neldine Ludwigson

Great thinking. My brain used to wrestle itself as to the puzzle of GOD.

I’m surprised to see this article in National Pain Report. Having read it with serious attention, I remain mystified on the author’s intended point. Or the editors’.

Like good and evil, human suffering is real, whether or not one accepts the idea of a God or gods. But in hundreds of years of argument, theologians have never been able to answer a central question of all religions: what is the origin of evil? In a logical universe created by an all-knowing and all-powerful Universal God whose nature is “good”, evil cannot exist. Since evil does exist, we must either accept a Universe of chaos, or a God of two natures, one good and one evil. Invention of a “devil” does not solve this crisis of belief, for Who but God could have created Lucifer? Creation cannot have a different nature from the Creator.

This central problem appears unsolvable at the scale of perceptions which human beings can now experience. Perhaps one century in a far-distant future, we will evolve sufficiently to see the problem differently. But for now, we’ve got what we’ve got.

For many people, profound uncertainty is hard. Some social scientists intuit that we may be born with a genetically hard-wired instinct to seek transcending “answers” for the unanswerable questions of the Universe encountered in daily life. Not having answers leaves us feeling unsafe and alone in a hostile environment. Alone-ness can be intolerable for herd animals. And we are all (among many other things) herd animals. The herd identity which some people find in religion has a lot in common with the identity others find in fascism or other humanly repressive “isms”. The social outcomes are very often the same: more human suffering from blind-belief atrocity against non-believers.

Believing in God offers some people a purpose or an answer in their lives. But gods or fascist leaders aren’t the only answers for alone-ness. We also have each other. To a modern sensibility, human beings are a worthy end and purpose in ourselves, regardless of our obvious faults and evils. In philosophy, this framework is called “humanism”.

Sometimes we can’t get past the suffering or find even the slightest credible explanation for it. We can only try to out-last it, one day at a time. We are all “believers” in some way. I choose to believe in the possibility of human growth and progress. And in the power of the message “you are not alone.”

Judy

Thank you, Kerry, for a beautifully written article.
I truly believe that God is suffering, right there with us. We are not alone. I also believe that not all suffering will end in our lifetime. It will end when we die & then we will be saved…no more suffering. Every time I ask, “Why me?”…..the answer is always, “Why NOT me?””

Dearest Mr. Smith, Sir I think at one point or another we’ve all said that. It seems on top of this Opioid Injustice there are numerous other things going on as well. With our world and ourselves. For the past year I’ve been involved in a custody case of a little girl whose mother died 2 weeks before her 2nd birthday. She is now 8 and still finds the strength to smile and sing when I know she feels like crying. Her dad, my brother tried to kill me a month ago. This week we go to court to start a battle in which she may lose her dad too. It seems I’m watching my mother die for this is killing her and the true friends I have on the face of this earth I can count on one hand. I asked myself the same question not long ago, why me Dear God? I’m a good person! Then I saw the cancer commercial where the children are smiling, while driving my Buick I see a man in a motorized cart going down the road just smiling from ear-to-ear. I think my niece has it bad, I saw a little girl her age that was dirty, perhaps poor, looked as though she had lost her world. My next door neighbor asked me to pray for a lady he met on one of his walks. She has no family, no food, no friends, no money, no doctors at all. She too lives her life in chronic pain. I thought my goodness, at least I do have some family, food, a little bit of money, and an awesome doctor. I thought about what my brother had done, then I read about a man who does kill his entire family. The more I thought about it the more I thought, none of us were promised a bed of roses here on earth anyway. I’m always telling my niece, we wouldn’t appreciate the good times, if there weren’t some bad mixed in. Not too long ago I come to realize at least I still have a life. Especially after going into cardiac arrest twice in 2009. It hurts when I walk but at least I still have my legs, many others don’t. I could go on and on. I made the decision to either continue to have a pity party or to hold my head up high and start living my life again. I chose the latter. I also chose to pray for everyone of us with FAITH that in this opioid crisis; God would indeed intervene at some point. I’ve often said and believe with all my heart that God gives his toughest soldiers his hardest jobs. I also thought of God’s words, I will never leave nor forsake thee. Though yes sometimes it feels that way; I know different. I can always look at someone else and know, I’m so very blessed compared…..
Respectfully, Terri James

Kerry, I can honestly say your an inspiration. Personally, I don’t feel God has anything to do with our pain. When I pray I get a sense of relief and my mind is somehow set aright and I am able to move forward.
I love the birds you create! You have so many gifts.
I wish you the best and an end to your pain. Take care!