Watchman Nee taught that the release of the inner man’s potential is contingent on the breaking of the outer man, which usually occurs through suffering. Compassion tends to seep out through the cracks created by hard blows and attaches itself to other damaged people.
Our humanity-wide shared spiritual poverty is the lowest common denominator between us and inducts us all into a hall of shame of sorts. We’re all soul-broken, cracked and leaking. Our destitution is not entirely obvious to all; some of us have to be convinced how poor we are. Loss is the master teacher; unfortunately only some of us learn her lessons or pass her tests.
I never dreamed that divorce, cancer, and relative destitution would be included in my repertoire of God-songs. Nevertheless, my interaction with people these days is much less of a: I have something that you don’t… I’m saved and you’re lost… I’m forgiven and you’re not… While there may be some truth in those, it’s just not the typical temper of my quest for friendship these days.
– Originally published in The Other End of the Dark: A Memoir About Divorce, Cancer, and Things God Does Anyway (the profits of which go to Freedom House).