On a day when I conclude a ministry that sees me feeling like I’ve ‘made it’ and been vindicated, where I’m no longer in my darkest times, I’m forced to reflect on how entitled my theology has been at times.
I’m not even going to quote where this is coming from, because the source of it is just peddling what so many peddle these days, and it’s a theology that only leads to entitlement.
This is how it goes: “You’ve got to go through the dark part to get to the good part. It won’t always be this dark.”
What if the dark part is actually teaching us something? What if that’s the most redemptive part? Is it so dark? Is suffering dark because it’s so hard? Why don’t we reverse it and say to ourselves that when life was going well when we took God for granted, that that was the dark part — because it was and is!
No, we’re more apt to see that anything that costs us any of our happiness is dark, and entitlement has got us thinking that way. Like, “God, I deserve that You’d bless me… You know I’m on your side and all… so, where’s my favor… I’m believing in you for this… if you can’t get me out of this bind, what’s the use in believing in you?”
What if the good part and the dark part are one and the same? What if we’re to learn how good the dark part can be, or more so, learn how to find the good in the dark part?
But, no, we condemn all suffering because we feel, in our westernized comfort lifestyles, that all of life should be ‘blessed’ and ‘good’ because we’re happy, free of pain, and have our luxuries intact.
What if the true theology is the so-called dark part is the kernel to embrace, and that if only we can do that, we gain hold of the wellspring of life?
It’s not a theology that will make sense and that will sell, but in my experience, it’s a theology that works at a profoundly deep level.
But you only see it if in your ‘darkness’, your suffering time, you’re open to exploring it over the longer term. Few people are prepared to do that. If you do, you may well discover the meaning in suffering, and then nothing can conquer you.
Then you discover that, as the Serenity Prayer says, hardship is truly the pathway to peace.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Tribework