The last few weeks have been hectic and awesome. Sad and joyful. We go from funerals and surprising deaths to new babies and wonderful birthdays. There have been dreadful accidents and the normal wear and tear of life. But when we think of the truly desperate stuff that happens, the sudden death of young people, catastrophic events and disasters there is always a chance to step back and access things from a more spiritual perspective if we survive. Living through the long dark night of the soul as the poets have called it, is a remarkable event.
The chorus in Agamemnon, a famous play by the Greek playwright Aeschylus, has a remarkable statement : “He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain, which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
So here we have the idea that the very act of learning causes suffering. Luther was quick to point out that suffering, prayer, and meditation made a theologian. Learning as we meditate upon the Word of God can mean that the attacks on the spiritual front of our life increase. Oswald Bayer takes an interesting turn on this idea of suffering and chaos. Instead of the idea that when we learn we suffer He writes,
This sense of wonder that we are, that we and all creatures really still are, that the forces of chaos have not devoured us and that, after this night, day has come again, that there is something rather than nothing at all -this great sense of wonder gives birth to all sorts of questions. If we can stand in awe of the goodness of God, we will think more deeply than those who have forgotten it. For the person who is filled with wonder is inspired to think.