Suffering is what is on my mind these days. When someone asks, "How are you doing?" Typically, I say, "Fine. Thank you, and how are you?" Then I think to myself, well that was not exactly truthful. However, who wants to hear, "Well, I am not really doing that well. My life is full of difficulties and I am sad." As soon as you answer like that, truthful though it may be, most people remember at that moment that they have something very important to do! I wonder if when I make it through this tough patch in life, I will be more patient and willing to listen to others who are suffering or if I will also be too busy. I wonder if I will notice when someone is just filling in their pain with, "I'm fine, thank you." At this point, only time will tell.
For now, this is what I know. I have always been afraid of suffering. In a way I have tried to run from it. I have tried to be a "good" girl, thinking that somehow if I was good that God would spare me from suffering. I cannot really explain where I got that idea, but there is still some very faulty teaching out there that leads people to believe that to be true. That is not what the Bible teaches at all (and I am talking about the whole counsel of the Bible, not just a verse or two taken out of context.) The reality is it rains on all of us (the just and the unjust). The difference is how it affects our lives. Now, more than ever I am realizing the presence of my God in ways that I never would have know were it not for the suffering. His Word has become increasingly dear and necessary to my heart. Is He a crutch? You can call it what you want. I know that He is my very Source for life. See, without Him the suffering makes no sense. In His hands, it becomes something beautiful. The enemy wants to destroy us through suffering and worse he wants to destroy our trust in God. It is easy to see how that is possible in the middle of suffering, unless you refuse to listen to the enemy and choose to trust God. Especially when that is the last thing you feel like doing. There are moments He could not feel more distant, that is when I know He is closest. So, I am learning not to trust my feelings. They are important and I will not ignore them, but they will not rule my heart. God proved His love for me once for all time when He sent Jesus. There could be no greater love. The kind of love that waits and even allows more suffering so that more can be gathered into His kingdom and heart. Even though He waits and suffering continues and sometimes seems unbearable, the day is coming when He will return to make it all right. So much so that we will consider the suffering of this life to be nothing. That is hard to imagine in the here and now, but God said it and He "is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?" (Numbers 23:19)