The last part of the picture that frames affliction ties into the purpose of life. The only true affliction would be something that denied us access to life’s purpose, which is for us to gain bodies that can be resurrected. We would be truly afflicted if after birth we were denied death. Nothing else really gets in our way.
Now is there more to life?
Well, other than dying, mortality offers us the chance to have experiences and to react to those experiences in ways that allow us personal improvement. An excellent real life metaphor for life is those pre-enrollment date workshops that many universities used to offer freshmen. Basically, for a brief period before classes started incoming students were offered the chance to take classes that were “experience” oriented — enrichment activities.
If you look at the next life as entering university, this life is merely an optional workshop. Some people pass on taking a workshop, they’ve better things to do. Some try wilderness adventure, others contemporary theatre, some a life skills class, but mostly everyone looks for an experience that they want.
When I go camping I don’t complain that I’m not at home watching television. Instead I’m glad to be having a real experience rather than an ersatz one.
The difference between choosing a workshop pre-college and life is that we don’t remember making the choice, the perspective or the nature of real reality or really understand time from the perspective of tens of thousands of years. Though when you look at life in context, the real miracle is that God remains so tender and patient with us, kindly reminding us that life is only of a moment, it gives us experience, and all he wants of us is to bring us safely home.
Going home, that is, in the end, all that is important, and barriers to going home, the only real affliction.
I had to look up “ersatz” 1. serving as a substitute; synthetic; artificial 2. an artificial substance or article used to replace something natural or genuine; a substitute.
Stephen–I enjoyed the series–thanks. I appreciate being reminded that this life is short but important, and gives us experience. The more I think about it, experience is king. I might add, experience that Heaven Father wants us to–experience. I find myself substituting experience for intelligence in the well known scripture: The glory of God is intelligence.
I loved your series too, Stephen.
I really wanted to explain a perspective, based on how this life can be fair, how any tragedy or heartbreak can be “of a small moment” and how things must look to us in our real selves.
Thanks for the feedback everyone has given me as they’ve read the series.
Any suggestions on what I should write about next?
I have nothing brilliant to say, but really enjoyed this series. I don’t have any suggestions on what to write next, but I look forward to whatever it is!