“In deciding on this withdrawal into himself so that man can exist, God becomes by that very fact a suffering God, because he will have to suffer because of man and be disappointed in him. . . . In the simple fact of allowing human freedom lies a renunciation of power.” —Robert Cardinal Sarah in “The Power of Silence.”
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word suffer as “to submit to or be forced to endure . . . to feel keenly.”
We all suffer. There is no way of escaping this simple fact. But, what attitude do we evince while suffering? This is something we can control: our attitude, our perspective, our outlook.
I recently came across the above-quoted words of Cardinal Sarah while reading “The Power of Silence.” This notion, of “a suffering God,” is perplexing. It may take me a lifetime to more-fully comprehend what the Cardinal is communicating, but for now, this is my prevailing thought.
God suffers, so I can too.
Suffering is inevitable, but our attitude towards that suffering is not. When the crashing waves of pain, distress, anguish, and despair strike us next, let us strive to remember, to hold in our hearts, the glorious attitude of accompaniment.
If God can suffer, so can I.