There’s an idea floating around that each of us ‘chose’ this life before we were born. Just because we don’t remember choosing it is irrelevant; our presence in our bodies and our psycho-social mess is proof we are here because we wanted to be here, wherever it is we are.
You might say, “That’s a bit hard to swallow.” Or maybe it doesn’t comport to your Judeo-Christian worldview, or your Atheistic worldview, or whatever. That’s ok, because there’s another way to say the same thing.
Think about your life for a moment: Your physical existence, with whatever physical pain and health issues you have; your psycho-social situation, with your complexes and neuroses. While you may have lots in common with others with regard to certain aspects of your life, the combination of all of these factors is unique to you, like a fingerprint. So your blessings and troubles are yours.
You agree up to this point, then you say, “But I didn’t choose to have this life, to experience bigotry, to have these health problems, to have the parents I had. I didn’t choose any of that; it just happened to me.
I know it seems that way.
Stop now, deeply consider your life, and ask yourself the following question: Would I trade my life with anyone?
I mean really, trade your whole life situation with someone else? If it’s a person who’s “better off” than you in some way (which it must be, or else why trade with them?), what you’re telling me is that you’d force someone to accept a life you deem inferior so you can steal their goodies. Is that what you really want to do? Let’s say you were abused as a child; are you saying you’d rather your neighbor was abused so you could escape the pain? Or let’s say you lost a child to miscarriage; would you rather the happy, glowing new mommy in line with you at the grocery store would have lost her baby so you could have kept yours?
If so, I’d say you have some real soul-searching to do, because you’re probably not a very nice person.
Or maybe you want to deny the existence of suffering in the world and say, “I don’t like things the way they are, no-one should suffer, everything should be bliss.” Well, I know some Christians are waiting for that day, but I have a feeling they’re in it for the long haul. This is it.
I think this is why Victor Frankl prayed, “God, make me worthy of my suffering.” Your suffering is yours, whether you chose it for yourself before you were born or whether you choose it now by agreeing that trading your life with someone else’s is immoral. Either way, your suffering is still uniquely yours! You have chosen it, one way or another, before the fact or after.
I pray God will surround you with people to help you bear your suffering; that He would shape you into an instrument of love through it.