Suffering is spiritual.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Luke 5:20
A paralyzed man was lowered through a clay roof in front of Jesus in hopes that Jesus would see his limited physical state and heal his body. Jesus saw, was not confused about his condition, yet ignored the physical and offered the paralyzed man forgiveness. Forgiveness!
Which begs the question, how much trouble could a paralyzed man really have gotten himself into? And perhaps that is the point. Sin isn’t about a detailed accounting of moral infractions. Sin is disconnectedness.
Sin is disconnection or separation—from God, from others, and from self (or God’s design for us), and from creation. And that is the paralyzed man’s real issue.
Don’t get me wrong, being paralyzed—and everything else we suffer—is painful and difficult, and I don’t wish it on anyone. AND, Jesus seems to say that suffering, is first, a spiritual issue of disconnectedness. It’s connection, forgiveness, and relationship that God first wants to restore. The physical healings and reprieves from “suffering” are a bonus. Perhaps they are a bonus because they are so temporary. While, it seems, the spiritual is what has eternal significance.
So, our suffering points us to the reality that our spiritual connection is what matters most. And disconnectedness is the suffering we really must address. Once and for all. And everyday. And every moment.