Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Review: The Light Shines on in The Darkness

Suffering Exists
I’m afraid your baby is deformed, and you should consider an abortion.
Your child’s cancer has spread; there is no known cure.
Mother, I hate you!  I hate you!  I hate you!
My name is Officer Smith.  I’m sorry to tell you there’s been an accident …

I regret having to inform you that your father is dying.
You’ve done a great job, however we had to give the promotion to someone else.
Your husband survived the blast, but the Army regrets that it has taken his legs.
We regret having to terminate your employment.

Why am I so ugly?  Why does no one love me?  Why does it hurt so much?
Why am I alone, God, when I need You?
Why is my boss, my sibling, my spouse so hateful?
Why do I have this pain?  I wish I were dead.

I’m sorry to say your mom has Alzheimer’s Disease.
I’ve fallen and can’t get up … will anyone come?

This is the fourth --- and I believe most important --- book in a series by Fr. Robert Spitzer.  The first three talked about God, creation and love; they cite facts, studies and scientists to prove that this is all real.  But then this book says, in effect: “All that is well and good, but I’m living now, today, and life is hard.  If there is a loving God Who created all things for good, why am I suffering?  A truly loving God, an all-powerful God, would not let so much suffering exist.,” and everyone believes there is no suffering worse than theirs.  This book is about a key reality of life:  There will be suffering; suffering must be allowed, to help bring about a greater good --- one that, sometimes, only God can understand.
Fr. Spitzer sets out to prove this statement, and does it well.  I can’t begin to cite all the studies and facts and, yes, logic that he uses to prove that “The Light Shines on in The Darkness,” and after reading this book I think most people will put it on the shelf as a reference manual, kind of like a medical book: When you’re in pain, here are ways to ease your suffering.  The book’s subtitle is: “Transforming Suffering Through Faith,” but I assure you, this is not a “Trust me because the Bible says it is so …” book.  This book teaches the importance of suffering --- to you! --- to make your life better.  It teaches you as professor to student, as loving parent to a little child --- to a suffering little child:  it will be all right.
In your darkest hour, through your flood of tears, IT WILL BE ALL RIGHT.  When things are at their darkest hour, I can’t think of a more important thing to know, and believe.
If you do nothing else, read the 20-page Introduction to this book, even while you sit in the bookstore.  You will be stunned by one of its early statements: “Suffering is not opposed to love, --- it leads to it,” and Spitzer’s preview of how he backs that statement will intrigue you to read on.  “Intriguing” is a good description of this book.  Perhaps “Loving” is, too.  Despite all the pain you feel, this book helps you to KNOW:  You are not alone.  The Light shines on.
-          - - - - - - - - -

Savior, who came to bring
On your redeeming wing
Healing and sight ---
Health to the sick in mind,
Sight to the inly blind ---
O now to all mankind,
Let there be light.
Spirit of truth and love,
Life-giving holy dove,
Speed on your flight;
Move on the waters’ face,
Bearing the lamp of grace,
and in earth’s darkest place
Let there be light.
-          By John Marriott

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