There is no quota for suffering.
It’s not like I’ve paid my dues now and can breeze through life untouched by any more tragedy.
There is no quota.
And just to set the record straight, there is no quota for believers either. Believing in God is not about self-preservation. “The assumption that God should give faithful believers a comfortable life, and certainly no more than one dose of sorrow, seems to be an American-made version of the Christian life that doesn’t hold up to examination,” writes Nancy Guthrie- an author who lost two babies born with a rare disease at a young age. And she goes on to say that in fact, what we see of the earliest believers is exactly the opposite. They were told by Jesus to take up their cross- and in those days- that just meant death…as a criminal no less. And many of them he promised great things to died on their own literal crosses, others were thrown to the lions.
It is intriguing and puzzling though- this contrast. Because it seems to be another paradox in the Bible- verses that say things like,
“If you make the Most High your dwelling- then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” and “‘Because he loves me’, says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.'” Psalm 91.9-16.
And this was one of the first things I remember ever reading in the Bible. And because I was a fearful child, I think it drew me in- self preservation.
I have no neat resolution here- no great image to end on- I don’t understand why God did not rescue Dan. I believed He would for so many lesser things throughout the years. That God would provide Dan opportunities to work in music, that God would find us a place to live, that God would heal Dan from a frickin’ cold. So, no, I don’t get it.
Just one word keeps coming to me today- if it’s not about preservation- maybe it’s about perspective.