SIGNIFICANCE IN SUFFERING
Updated: Mar 28, 2019
February 9th, 2019
It’s a sobering thought that the pain in our lives has such depth of purpose, dare I say God-ordained meaning. The flesh in me wants to escape the pain, the suffering, the hard road. I have asked that God would take this cup- that I would wake from this as but a dream. But, something deep in my spirit says this is the way. Somehow- though I can’t understand it- this is the way of growth, this is the way of faith, this is the way that prepares me for the roads and the calling and the ministry to come, this is the way to be more like Christ.
After all, wasn’t the way of Christ the way of suffering and the way for us to enter into abundant life was the way of the cross. What irony, what paradox, what thoughts far beyond my comprehension- that death would bring life.
How then, could we as followers of Christ not see that God has significance even in suffering and purpose even in our pain? And, how then, could we little Christs wrongly think that if we just had more faith then no hardship would come our way or that any suffering we endure must be punishment. No, “friend” of Job, even Christ himself says in this world you will have trouble and even Christ- the founder and perfecter of our faith- endured the cross for the joy set before Him. Yes, pain and consequences can come directly from our sin and we also battle against things we can’t see. But, somewhere beyond all the questions of why such suffering and especially to do with a baby, who has yet to have a coherent thought of his own, comes the way through. The way of faith can move through the doubt and through the questions and emerge stronger and deeper and more vulnerable all at the same time. And the way through the pain cannot come from your own bootstrapping or positive-thinking, but it’s God who strengths us with power through His Spirit in our inner being so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith and we can be rooted and grounded in His love.
“Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. You lead your people like a flock…” Psalm 77
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23