My friend Michael wrote a great post about the Beatitudes and how basically they promise that everyone who is blessed by God is going to suffer. You can read the post here.
I posted a comment in response and I thought maybe it would make a good post on my blog, especially since I’m trying to post more often and this is sort of easy.
So, here it is. What God’s been teaching me about suffering.
I used to be really comforted by the thought that it would be worth it, that all things work together for good, that I’d come forth as gold. I was really focused on those things in my suffering.
Some people say “it’ll all be worth it” as if there are some cosmic scales that suffering and blessings the weighed on that will all balance in the end. The problem is, some suffering, some losses, some hurts–there is nothing my mind can begin to imagine that would be “worth” going through them for. Would anything be worth someone’s child dying for? Would that result be comforting in the moment?
For me what’s become most important and most comforting is that God is with me in all of my suffering. It doesn’t comfort me to think that it will all work out in the end, etc. even though I know those things are true. The really comforting thing is that God is with me–he knows me & knows what’s going on in my life.
I don’t need less suffering or for my suffering to end: I need more of him! I find myself less concerned with whether or not this thing that I’m going through going to result in some blessing later and more concerned with the fact that God is with me, that he is good, and that he always does right. Whatever’s happening the character of God hasn’t changed. And it’s never going to change so I can rest and trust that his presence is with me.
As I relax more into that presence, the suffering is still there but it is dimmed in the light of God’s love for me. The more that I focus on God and who He is, the more possible endurance seems. I remember that even though he allows suffering, he’s not the author of it.
the fall of mankind & of this world is the fountain from which all suffering flows. One day, he will end all this suffering and he will set the world to right…to what he intended it to be in the first place. That gives me comfort–to know that it’s not going to last forever.
Paul said that the things we suffer now aren’t even worthy of being compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. That glory is glory for God. God is using the things that we suffer and everything to reveal his glory and I want him to be glorified! The more I know him the more worthy I know he is.
I don’t know I guess maybe that makes it worth it–maybe that’s the thing I can look forward to and say: “that’ll be worth this.”