Bible Reading: Psalm 6
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
3 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?
4 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
save me because of your unfailing love.
According to the Confessions, it was when he was about sixteen that Augustine, an intelligent and bright observer of life, began to ponder human suffering, its sources, and its meaning for human life. As an adult he would revisit that theme from a multitude of angles. His first thoughts on the topic are about a part of our lives from the very beginnings of our existence until our deathbeds.
"I went with the flood-tide of my nature and abandoned you. I swept across all your laws, but I did not escape your chastisements, for what mortal can do that? You were ever present to me, mercifully angry, sprinkling very bitter disappointments over all my unlawful pleasures so that I might seek a pleasure free from all disappointment. If only I could have done that, I would have found nothing but yourself, Lord, nothing but you yourself who use pain to make your will known to us, and strike only to heal, and even kill us lest we die away from you. Where was I and how far was I exiled from the joys of your house in that sixteenth year of my bodily age, when the frenzy of lust imposed its rule on me, and I wholeheartedly yielded to it? A lust it was licensed by disgraceful human custom, but illicit before your laws.”
A God who uses “pain to make your will known to us" is a challenging idea. Put simply it shows the relationship between turning away from God and suffering. But this alone is not enough, since the suffering we experience is not always a consequence of our own weaknesses, sins, and shortcomings. Questions like "Why me?" and "Why does this misfortune happen to my family?" are ever-present in our lives and will forever remain, at least in some degree, without answer. Both believers and atheists alike experience suffering, but the former are able to see a different meaning in it. From their spiritual standpoint, there is not a single tear without meaning, no pain that is pointless, no suffering that is worthless.
“Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love .The Lord will answer my prayer”