Humans find it hard to live with one another even during the best of times. Some of us aren’t emotionally wired for intimacy. Some of us have crippled flaws that make relationships difficult. In fact, some of history’s greatest contributors have been relationship-challenged. As an adult, Isaac Newton shunned personal intimacy in all its forms, preferring his laboratory in the mind to living specimens. Henri Nouwen, who inspired many of us to move deeper into relationships with God and one another, had trouble himself developing intimacy with others. Relational disorders abound among creative people.
Below is a fascinating visualization of the interconnectedness of the Bible, done by Chris Harrison, a doctoral student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and Christopher Römhild of the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hamburg:
I heard about a rooster who spied a large ostrich egg in the yard next door. He quickly flew over the fence to examine it. He looked it over, kicked it, and rolled it back into the yard. He then called the hens together and said, “Now girls, I’m not complaining – I’m simply showing you what some are doing in other places.”
To be born again implies a clash. A Christian is always counter-culturing, swimming upstream, and challenging the status quo in order to make a change for the better. This makes the quality of courage absolutely necessary, without courage, the best of intentions will fail; in fact, vision without courage will merely produce a flood of frustration and anger not only at the circumstances of life, but at life and at oneself.
Great suffering makes theologians out of us all. The questions people ask about God in Sunday school rarely measure up to the questions we ask while we are in the hospital. It is true for those stuck in a hospital bed and those stuck in the waiting room. To love someone who is suffering is to learn what real pain is and to discover a depth of life that is unfathomable when everything is going well. Why me? Why now? Why this?