Wednesday, July 15, 2015

May I suffer with you?

"There is a purpose to suffering and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine." - Timothy Keller

Suffering is real and so prominent in all of our lives. From the very moment we are born, we are destined to experience pain throughout our life. Pain is inevitable because we are living in a fallen world. And when we experience pain, we often suffer. But Christ assures us that if we will let Him, He will make our suffering beautiful.

Last week at bible study, we were discussing the topic of suffering and my mind has been there ever since. Most of us like to push our pain away. We shove it under the rug and we don't like to think about it because it hurts. So it stays there and it hides, but it doesn't really go away. This week, I started to place my struggles into two groups - pain vs. suffering. Heartbreaks, deaths, lost friendships, health issues, etc, I labeled as pain. Only one struggle in my life I labeled as suffering. All of my struggles hurt me and caused me heartache, but this one suffering is the kind that fills your nightmares, that destroys relationships, that catches you off guard and leaves you shaking from sadness, hurt and fear. And I realized that I have kept it from the only One who can make it beautiful. 

In suffering, one of the hardest things to do is open your eyes. This week, God opened my eyes. Pain is not beautiful. Pain is pain. Pain hurts, and it is not hurt that brings joy and beauty - it is Christ. 

3 big lessons I have learned:

1. God experiences our pain. He cares. He feels our hurt and He opens His arms and says "let me hold you." And let me tell you, no embrace is better than God's embrace. 

2. In our suffering, we are placed with the biggest opportunity to draw nearer to Him. We cannot face one single trial without the help of our Savior. He gets us through. He heals us. And He teaches us. 

3. People love you and it's so good to let fellow brothers and sisters in Christ come along side you in your struggles. It isn't a burden, it is a blessing.  

Everyone suffers - and it is destroying people.  Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for all ages. Look around and almost everyone you see is suffering through something. Whose faces do I pass by so quickly that are desperately needing God in their suffering?

I am resolved to be continually praying for those whose suffering I don't even know. We have the opportunity to give our suffering to Christ. We have the opportunity to allow Him to be glorified through our pain. I am inviting you all to join me in allowing Christ to make suffering beautiful and I am asking...

May I suffer with you? 

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