No One Escapes Suffering
A lot of folks dear to me are going through valleys right now. Good and decent people deal with financial, emotional and physical suffering all around us and it is easy to lose heart. The news seems to be only tragedy and heartbreaking sadness. What can be redeemed of all of this suffering?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
I can’t explain why things happen. Sometimes it is sin. Sometimes it is simply life. I have learned in my years of following Jesus that He does not let suffering go in vain. I have seen over and over how God redeems sadness and tragedy. He does bring beauty out of ashes. When I cannot see how any good can come out of a trial I trust my Abba Father in faith. Believe me I don’t “feel” that but I can move forward in faith. God has never let me down. And I believe He never will.
Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through
Most of us have been there at some point. If not, you will be someday. Peter talked about the inevitability of suffering in this life in a passage that we usually leave out of the brochure when we tell others about our faith. All of us who follow Jesus are going to suffer.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. (1 Peter 4, NLT)
Count me among the brethren who tried to dance around this truth for as long as I could. Be very glad? Seriously? But when you have nowhere else to turn but to Christ you find out that you should have turned to Him first all along.
So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide
Jesus meets you there and not in theory. He suffered. He agonized with God the Father. He knows the human condition. He has already been where you are. When the hurt and the Healer collide something amazing happens. The pain may not immediately go away but peace and hope begin to slowly heal the pain. Peter did not end his writing on suffering with the buzz kill of Chapter 4. He wrapped it in a bow of incredible hope in the next chapter.
In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. (1 Peter 5, NLT)
That is a promise that we can hold on to in times of sorrow and suffering. I am trusting that promise this week for myself and my friends who are hurting.
Dave Burchett is the Author of Stay: Lessons My Dogs Taught Me about Life, Loss, and Grace. A portion of every sale goes to train service dogs for wounded veterans through Patriot Paws.