Episode 57 | The Burden of Living and the Goodness of God with Alan Noble

The Burden of Living and the Goodness of God with Alan Noble

We don’t often talk about the courage required to face ordinary life. Such common human challenges as sorrow, despair, anxiety, and mental illness may cause us to experience life more as a burden than a gift. For many, this struggle is a constant one.

In his new book, On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden & Gift of Living, author and professor Alan Noble considers the challenges that face each one of us every morning. He concludes that the simple decision to engage with the world each day constitutes a declaration of the goodness of God.

“One of the things I want to remind people of is that actually just by choosing to go through the basic motions of life, you are affirming to other people that this life is good.

“And just putting your feet on the ground and getting up despite the suffering you might be experiencing, communicates to other people that this life is worth living even when you are suffering. And that’s a powerful witness.”

Bearing witness and Carrying Each Other

As Alan so eloquently makes the case, our call to faithfulness is not a solo journey. When we persevere despite our suffering, we communicate that God’s creation is good, and it’s an encouragement to others. It’s by carrying and being carried by others that the pilgrim can make it home.

“Now, there may come times when you are required by your suffering to radically depend upon others to carry you out of bed. My advice is to embrace those moments, knowing that you’ll carry your neighbor in return when the time comes.”

We hope you’ll enjoy this conversation and share it with your community.

This podcast is an edited version of an Online Conversation with Alan recorded in April of 2023. You can access the full conversation with transcript here. Learn more about Alan Noble.

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:

On Getting Out of Bed: The Burden & Gift of Living, by Alan Noble
Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age, by Alan Noble
You Are Not Your Own: Belonging to God in an Inhuman World, by Alan Noble
Jacques Ellul
The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves, by Curt Thompson

Related Trinity Forum Readings:

On Happiness, by Thomas Aquinas
On Friendship, by Cicero
Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl
Augustine’s Confessions
The Long Loneliness, by Dorothy Day
Wrestling with God, by Simone Weil
Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

Related Conversations:

Strength in the Second Half with Arthur Brooks
Cultivating a Life of Learning with Zena Hitz
Being, Living, and Dying Well with Lydia Dugdale
Blessings for Imperfect Days with Kate Bowler
The Burden of Living and the and the Goodness of God with Alan Noble
All the Lonely People with Ryan Streeter and Francie Broghammer

To listen to this or any of our episodes in full, visit ttf.org/podcast and to join the Trinity Forum Society and help make content like this possible, join the Trinity Forum Society

Special thanks to Ned Bustard for our podcast artwork.