It seems that stress is a part of life for everyone. Yet I believe it needn’t be that way. The universe is sustained and animated by an all-powerful God – the same God who beats our hearts, flows our blood, and causes thoughts to arise in our minds. The same God that causes us to grow from nothing into babies, into children, then adults.
The God who creates and sustains us is in control of all our worries, and all our stresses. I am certain that if our God decided it should be so, all our worries could be gone in an instant, and forever. I often pray to God to take away my stresses and worries and to let me have the enduring peace that I suppose we are thinking of when we say the word ‘heaven’.
But despite my prayers, the stresses and worries still come each day, and it seems certain that there is no enduring peace to be found in this life time for any of us. It is of course true that the stresses and strains could always be so much worse. In any given day, there are always lots of things to be thankful for.
I can only imagine what God’s reasons are for causing stress to all human beings, century after century, for thousands of years. It must please God in some way to make us suffer, otherwise He would simply grant us all the peace that we crave. He could do that – create a heaven on earth – if He so wished.
I suppose we have to hang on to the hope that God knows best. God has His reasons for the suffering that we endure. This is hard to fathom, however, as suffering seems to be so needless. Why can’t we just have peace now?
In my book Ultimate Truth: God Beyond Religion I speculate two main reasons why God might wish for us to suffer. Both reasons stem from the idea that God Himself suffers. Firstly, if God is all that exists (which I believe is the case: everything is an expression of God), then God is completely alone. God can create anything He chooses, but all of His creations remain a part of the one God. There is never anything separate from God with which God can interact. God has no choice but to be alone for all eternity. There might be a kind of agony in that.
Secondly, life never has an ending for God. There is no rest from being alive. God has to stay entertained for all eternity! Perhaps there is a kind of agony in that as well. These are two ways in which I suppose God might suffer.
If we imagine a God who suffers terribly, then it is perhaps a little easier to understand our own suffering. It is possible that we are created to experience different aspects of the divine being. Perhaps God makes us suffer to give us a taste of what ultimate reality is like for Him.
Maybe, buried deep within the stresses and worries of our daily lives, there is a deeper meaning to our suffering. If bliss and agony are both experienced by God, then perhaps it is only fair that we get a taste of the real thing; of what living is like for God. If only God would reveal to us the truth about such matters and end this speculation! Surely that is not too much to ask?
But it seems that God relishes the mystery and likes to keep us in ignorance during our earthly lives. God only knows why, and I can only hope that despite all of the stresses and strains, God is ultimately merciful. I hope and pray that death marks a transition to a more peaceful place for all of us, and that somewhere out there heaven is a reality.