This life that we experience is not about our own prosperity here on earth, but about glorifying and worshipping in all that we do experience good and bad. Being thankful for all we get to experience, for there is always something to be thankful for even in the face of the most troubled times. It is only when we concentrate on the “bad” in life which is only “bad” to us because it is not the way we expected life or things to be going. When we “expect” in life—predetermine what our lives should look like, we are merely concentrating on what we don’t have or don’t get to experience while others in past or present lives did or do get to experience and that in turn is idolatry of what is not meant for us by God.
For example my own story, I could simply look at my situation in the death of my daughter as bad. Through my own free will, I can choose to look at it from the standpoint of, why did my daughter die at the age of 14 months? Why didn’t I get to see her grow up and graduate and get married? Why did this happen to me? In taking this approach, am I not merely thinking about what past “lives” have looked like, what life “Expectancies” are instilled in us from birth by worldly standards? We are told and taught that when life is “good” your life will look like this, and when that doesn’t happen, then life is “bad.” So when our lives take an unexpected turn for the worse, “unexpectedly worse” by worldly standards because they are not they way life should be or the way we want life to be. However in doing this am I not merely comparing my life and my situation of my loss, or what I don’t get to experience in the life of my daughter growing up, am I not just comparing that to what other father’s do get to experience, which is then idolizing another person’s life, for in my own life I am not experiencing things that others are? Rather, I can take an approach of gratitude and thankfulness and appreciation for what I did have or did experience. I experienced fourteen wonderful months with the most beautiful girl I have ever laid my eyes on. Can I not take that approach, and be rejoicing to God for granting me those fourteen months, instead of saying why do I not get to have more, for would that not just be greed, and in saying that wouldn’t I just be saying that, if I can’t have all that I want, then I want nothing at all? Meaning, in questioning the circumstances of my daughter’s life, not being able to experience certain things with her, am I not just saying that, if I cannot have all that I expect to have with her and through her, then I want nothing with her at all? In that, am I not saying that what I had was not enough, and then making less of my daughter’s life, saying it wasn’t what was expected to be, so therefore it was “less.” In taking this approach however, it does not take away the pain and the grief that is still felt. No, it does not take that away, for that pain is merely felt with its intensity, due to the love that was felt. However, in taking this approach, it does in great measure give that pain and suffering substance, purpose, and drive, to see good in it, and from it, for without that good the pain would be felt for no reason. Either way the pain is going to be felt, only because of the love that was felt.
In closing, for me it cannot be about “why things happen” or “why there is ‘evil’” but that it is there and it will happen, and the only thing I can control is how I will respond when it does. Will I allow it to be about me and let it be the downfall of me, or will I be thankful for what I do have and let it be what drives me to appreciate the smallest of things, and see everything as a gift from God, and not as life going as expected by worldly standards and taking this life for granted.
I must say I don't always live my life this way, and I have allowed it to be about me, and maybe that is why I felt led to write this. This is how I feel God has called me to "suffer" well. I know for me, I have not "suffered" well in this life, but as I learn more about the character of God, I am able to learn more about who He created me to be, and how He created me to live. I am finding out more and more, and I am learning that there is no destination, but just one continuous journey, of revelation, repentance and rejoicing.