Normalize suffering

Saint Silouan the Athonite wrote:

Some suffer much from poverty and sickness, but are not humbled, and so they suffer without profit. But one who is humbled will be happy in all circumstances, because the Lord is his riches and joy, and all people will wonder at the beauty of his soul. (Writing, III.9)

Unpopular take: Normalize suffering.

You were wronged? That is terrible and I want to listen if you need to talk. You’ll get no shiny “things happen for a reason” platitudes here.

But we as Christian people need to get over the mentality of Job’s friends and come to terms with the fact that painful things happen to good people. Never mind the theodicy handwaving, I don’t care about the reasons for suffering. “It was not that this man sinned, nor his parents…” (Jn 9:3).

What I want is not to waste suffering. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).