We all experience pain, yet this does not make suffering any easier. In fact, it makes it harder. Because we feel it in our souls, in our deepest parts. We can empathize with it and so we feel it in the wrenching of stomachs, the absence of God’s presence, in the tears running down our cheeks, in the paralysis of not knowing what to say or do to comfort.
Too many Christians jump over Good Friday to get to Easter. Friday: God experiences pain like we do. God, Almighty, is very “human” on Friday. The Father feels the wrenching pain in his stomach. The Son experiences loneliness (where is God?). And (I imagine) the Spirit is paralyzed. Sunday: God proves everyone wrong. Death does not have the last say, and Christ is the firstfruits of the redemption of our world. But if we jump to Sunday, Friday loses its importance.
PBU has been hit with a good amount of pain this year: three deaths by beloved individuals at the university (Dr. Hsu, Dr. Hirt, and Lisa Weidman) and students experiencing death in their families. We aren’t sure why this has happened. But we are aware what God has done and will do about it.
I take no consolation in the “they’re in a better place.” I do however take consolation in knowing that God will do something about death (see Romans 8, 1 Corinthians 15, Revelation 21). I don’t take consolation in “they are no longer in pain now.” I do take consolation in that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit experienced pain, loneliness, and emotional paralysis like I have.
Somehow, for me, that makes pain easier.