I plan to spend some time focusing on the emotional aspect of evil as this is where it hits home. Consider for instance how C.S. Lewis wrote “The Problem of Pain” where he dealt a master blow to the Problem of Evil. That sounds really good on paper and it is indeed, until his wife died. Then, he wrote “A Grief Observed” and one saw a different side. Now Lewis did still trust in the end, but the difference was an emotional experience.
I’ll grant I’m young. I haven’t lived as long as many, but I have lived and I have seen evil and I want to write about some that I have seen so readers reading me on emotional evil won’t think I’m distant to the problem. I will also say that what I write of is suffering often, but I don’t consider every form of suffering evil.
Probably the first major event I recall is eye surgery. When I was born, I was born cross-eyed. I had surgery at a young age, but I had to have it again when I was eight years old. I remember riding in the backseat to the hospital around 4:30 and hearing a song on the radio I heard identified as “Theme From Mahogany.” That song now always brings back memories and seems like a lifesong in many ways.
I do have humorous memories of that time. I remember waking up and looking at my mother, but trying to figure out which one she was. I had double vision for awhile, which was really cool since I was able to watch TV and see it twice over. Apparently though, I was in good condition for although I was to stay overnight, the doctor said I was good enough to go home that evening.
I was also born with some birth defects. I don’t really want to describe them a lot here, but I will say I don’t really have muscle at all. I weigh around 120 pounds for instance. When I was in fifth grade, I went to the hospital one day for a muscle biopsy and I had a good friend come with me. (Who I recently found again on facebook.) That’s one of my best memories of that day.
I remember they wanted to give me this awful medicine to knock me out. My mother was there and promised to buy me the video game of my choice if I could drink it all. Even with that incentive, I couldn’t do it. (It was that bad!) I was told if I didn’t drink it, I’d have to have the gas.
So can we go on and get the gas?
And I did, no problem. I ended up getting the game anyway. (Final Fantasy Legend 2!) The results of the biopsy were inconclusive also. It doesn’t look good on a guy to lack muscle, but I manage.
Of course, being small in school and being the intellectual geek was not a good combination. I was generally an outsider and only had a few friends. That and I was never a trouble-maker in anyway. I thank apologetics for helping me overcome my being so shy and wish I had known about that in High School especially, although I was known as a strong Christian.
It was in High School that two specific events of suffering came in.
The first was scoliosis surgery. I had a 42 degree curvature in my spine so that meant going in and cutting my back open and putting a steel rod on my spine. I only saw the rod aspect, but my Dad tells me it’s like I have an Erector set in my back. Rest assured, it hurt! I woke up in ICU and I don’t know when I was asleep really and when I wasn’t. I remember my mother singing “Amazing Grace” to me, the only song she could remember. I love her singing and I requested her to sing something. I remember watching Price is Right some as a gameshow junkie, but it is all hazy. The main thing I remember is I was taking even baby steps in ICU. That might not seem like much to you, but trust me, it’s a lot!
The next few months were extremely painful though. This was a couple of months before I turned 16 also. While most were learning how to drive, I was learning how to walk again. I had to have fellow students help me from my classes and had to leave classes five minutes early simply because I couldn’t risk having someone bump into me hard in the hallway.
Looking back on the hospital though, it was a hard time. My IV had an alarm that let anyone know when it was empty. I was on a system where pushing a button, I’d give myself medication when needed. I was on morphine also. Yes. That’s how strong it was. I could hardly sleep at night and then when I fell asleep, I’d have to be turned over.
The drive home was a nightmare when the time came. I felt every single bump on the road we drove over. I am not kidding. If we drove over a pebble, I felt it. When I was home, I had to have my parents help me go up and down the stairs and for awhile, I was so loaded on medication I was going to the bathroom every 45 minutes. (Hence, I don’t drink caffeinated sodas today.)
Then there was the time that the girl I’d had a crush on since Elementary school came to see me. Now every guy in here knows what I’m talking about. I had to lie in bed, but by golly, I was no weakling! I sat up the whole time she was there and we just chatted. Yes. Foolish idiot that I was that needed to look tough before my lady. I sat up.
Probably the worst was the stomach aches. Apparently, they had to take out my stomach when they did the surgery and stretched it some and it took a lot to get used to. We tried every medication for stomach aches and I’d just feel like my stomach was going to explode at times. Today, things are pretty much normal, but I don’t know how I made it through that.
The other event in High School was that I got struck with panic attacks and depression. I think it’s a miracle I am here today. It was finding apologetics in Bible College that really helped set me free. My Christian faith was no longer just a faith of actions. It had real content to it. This stuff was true and I could make a difference through this.
I have a special heart for helping people who are in depression or who are OCD as I tend to be or who are dealing with doubt. I also fully endorse Christians using medication to deal with depression. I was on it for awhile. I see no shame in it. There are actually physical problems in the brain that can be treated by drugs and should be.
Today, I am living out my dream and working to go through school. I don’t like my job now, which is a form of suffering, I still live with disabilities and they’re generally unknown to the populace, but I’ve surpassed all that people would say and done things that they said that I wouldn’t do.
I know about evil though. I’m not saying I’ve suffered more than others. I haven’t. I’m not saying I’ve seen it all. I haven’t. I’m writing this so that when I start writing on emotional evil, you will know that I am a fellow sufferer who is speaking from experience.
For this will be said, my suffering does not make me abandon my faith. If anything, it’s strengthened it. My suffering has a purpose. It is for the glory of God, and oddly enough, I will be the beneficiary someday.
I have trusted Christ with my suffering. He will go through it with me, and the end product will be great.