God must say after each failure of ours, “Oh, here is a great opportunity! Let’s see how we can work with this!”
After our ego-inflating successes, God surely says, “Well, nothing new or good is going to happen here!”
Failure and suffering are the great equalizers and levelers among humans. Success is just the opposite. Communities and commitment can form around suffering much more than around how wonderful or superior we are. Just compare the real commitment to one another, to the world, and to truth in “happy clappy religion” with the deep solidarity of families at the time of tragic death or among hospice workers and their clients.
There is a strange and even wonderful communion in real human pain, actually much more than joy, which is too often manufactured and passing. In one sense, pain’s effects are not passing, and pain is less commonly manufactured. Thus it is a more honest doorway into lasting communion than even happiness.
The bottom line of the Gospel is that most of us have to hit some kind of bottom before we can even start the real spiritual journey.
Up to that point, it’s mostly religion. At the bottom, there is little time or interest in being totally practical, efficient, or revenue generating. You just want to breath fresh air. The true Gospel is always fresh air and spacious breathing room.
All of the emptying out is only for the sake of the Great Outpouring.
God, like nature, abhors all vacuums, and rushes to fill them.