Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The small scroll

I found this in Revelation, 10:9 today:

‘So I went up to the angel and told him to give me the small scroll. He said to me, ‘Take and swallow it. it will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey.’

NOTE: This is a very early sketch at meditation on this subject, so by no means consider this my final view on the subject (I just read the passage over lunch a few minutes ago so this is very much a free-write)

Exegesis tells us that the scroll was bitter sweet because although God’s victory was near at hand, the suffering of his people would be a bitter and trying affair.

Why is that? At what point should we quit resisting suffering and embrace it as a gift? Doesn’t humility require we make that choice? If we accept suffering as inevitable, if we appreciate the opportunities proffered us by the unfair, unjust, abusive, are we more in tune with what it means to be a good person, to live out truth?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as the next person who gets frustrated and upset and worn down and plain old tired with suffering when it comes my way, but I wonder if that’s my doing, or suffering’s fault?

If a river’s current is carrying me inexorably away, why waste all my energy fighting it? That’s not to say that I lose hope of survival or redemption or justice, but rather that I use my emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual strength to maintain hope in the future; that something better is coming.

I suppose some people view swimming against the current as that something better? That as long as they resist they are not conquered by suffering? Some sort of spiritual, ‘it’s better to die standing up than live a lifetime on your knees’ mentality?

At what point does that become prideful, though, the ceaseless battle against your suffering?

I suppose resignation to our fate is a bitter pill in some ways, but does it have to be such a trial? I feel like there’s something more, something missing from the concept that suffering must be bitter by its nature.

Your thoughts?