As a lifelong baseball fan, the story of Dave Dravecky is firmly imprinted in my memory. It is hard to forget an all-star pitcher whose cancer led to the amputation of his pitching arm.
Dravecky was (and is) an outspoken Christian who speaks and writes openly about his experiences. In one of his books, he wrote the following about members of his faith tradition:
“In America, Christians pray for the burden of suffering to be lifted from their backs. In the rest of the world, Christians pray for stronger backs so they can bear their suffering.”
Although I question the validity of such a broad statement, I believe the allusion to a worldview that sees suffering as optional is worth contemplation. Because it isn’t optional.
The premise of this entire blog is that hope is possible regardless of circumstances. If I am not careful, “starting to look up” may sound like what happens once suffering leaves the building, and while I cannot blame anyone for wishing suffering would go away, research is pretty solid on the ubiquitous nature of suffering in this life we share.
Therefore, my personal goal is to develop the strength of character so that suffering will not win the war. It is that strength, i.e., a stronger back, that transforms any situation so that things begin to look up.