Suffering

I suppose in certain ways some people might think that I am totally unqualified to write about anything like this. I won’t argue with them. Nevertheless here are some things which I have read recently that I have found to be helpful, profound, or both.

our lives are necessarily made up of [suffering]. It is the inescapable consequence of sin. No one can escape it; everyone must somehow either make friends with suffering or be broken by it. No one can come close to another, let alone love him, without coming close to his suffering. Christ did far more, he wed himself to our suffering, he made Death his bride, and in the consummation of his love, he gave her his life. Christ has lived each of our lives, he has faced all our fears, suffered all our griefs, overcome all our temptations, laboured in all our labours, loved in all our loves, died all our deaths. [Caryll Houselander, The Risen Christ; emphasis added]

And:

Man is not being asked to make sense of his misfortunes but rather to have recourse to God and to put himself in God’s hands and not give way to despair. [Introduction to Tobit, in The Navarre Bible volume 3, p. 302]

Despair is easy to do. Much harder is to trust God, to place myself in His hands, to believe Him when He says that He works all things together for good to those who love Him. Even when the road seems completely dark, and there seems to be no light at all ahead, and the easiest thing to do would be to fall apart completely because there just seems to be no point in going forward in this darkness, because there seems to be no end to it and all hope of an end to it is likewise gone…even then (and maybe especially then) the only thing left to be done is to believe God and to plod forward. Faith is the evidence of things unseen. By faith we can know where to go, and know that our suffering is not in vain, however great it may be.

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