“Consider it joy” Trulah’s ‘Prologue’ In Light of a Year of Suffering
It’s fair to say it has been a year of suffering. Regardless of who you might ask, I’d bargain few would say all is well. And the more informed you are, the more pain you inevitably need to face. Ignorance is bliss, after all. The more we press into the reality of our world, the more obviously we see the broken condition of things. The problem is what we can agree upon, but the solution is a clash of worldviews.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,” James writes. Consider it joy. The worst of us consider it the apocalypse. Many others hope that maybe light is in the distance. But James says joy is current—it is amid the trials. Our active attempts to avoid discomfort rob us of joy. Talk about a countercultural notion. Suffering can be redeemed. This is a uniquely-Christian sentiment, one we see in the person of Christ Himself. So we are not to fear the pain of this life, though we often do.
But it’s this notion—that pain is gain—that permeates Trulah’s “Rain Down.” In fact, she describes the background of the song as so:
Nothing reveals your true self to you and everyone around you like suffering.
Our world is in a fallen state, and until our last breath, or the return of Christ, we will feel the weight of that reality and the calamity it brings. It is, however just one glorious way of God that He and only He can weave such calamity together in a way that good would shine through all such evil.
With suffering, we quickly find out what we believe, where we’ve placed our trust, and what or whom we hope in most. Things about us that have potential to go undiscovered are tested and brought to light in order to be refined.
Maybe we’re quick to flee adversity because we fear who we truly are. Maybe our expressed devotion to anything, be it spiritual, vocational, relational, so forth, is actually unanchored. When put to the fire, the dross is consumed and the gold is refined. What are you made of?
That sentiment is more than enough to ruminate on for days. But Trulah has even more to say:
Our lack leads to longing, and it’s more of a hint to that which truly satisfies than we often think. However, in order to be found by He Whom our heart and our flesh cry out for, we must first be lost and in need of saving.
Are you lacking? Do you miss the sense of normalcy in life? Being able to travel freely, gather with friends, the feeling of freedom? Yet how quickly all of that has withered like grass. Summer has come and gone like a thief in the night; while winter is around the corner, it feels like it never left in some ways. We have been without.
Like the author of Ecclesiastes, we feel the weight of toil—we work, water, and worry. Our labor feels in vain. We rally behind parties, flags, and figureheads, but to what end?
What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
If we can put our pride aside, our attempts simply are not working. And we may feel particularly enlightened in our age—we have the internet at our fingertips. Most of us can read and write. We are a wise people, though perhaps not in proper sense. We are distanced from the primitive warring hoards of bygone era. We are free, albeit perhaps to our own devices.
But Ecclesiastes grounds us. There is nothing new under the sun. A sexual revolution will not save us—it surely did not save Rome. A god-emperor is no stronger now than he was then. Our attempts simply are not working.
And maybe the sooner we can admit these things, the more free we’ll truly live.