Tuesday, September 1, 2015

why do we suffer?

Today's readings: Job 40:1-42:17, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, Psalm 45:1-17, Proverbs 22:14

We come to one of the most profound and needed truths of Scripture today. One question that arises in almost every mind during the course of a human lifetime is: why do we suffer?

The book of Job in its entirety explores this question, but the answer is found in today's reading. Job says it, "I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes."

CS Lewis said, "God whispers in our pleasure, speaks in our conscience, but He shouts in our pain."

I have learned in my sojourn that we are only as deep as our pain. If you haven't suffered, you might find yourself a tad shallow. If you have suffered a little, you're a little deeper. But if you want to be really deep as a person, your pain must also go deep. Why, you might ask? Well, a metaphor serves me usefully here. It's like you're being deepened by your pain in order to be filled with more joy. If we only suffer a little, we are only dug a little, and can only hold so much joy. But if we suffer deeply, we are dug more deeply, and can hold more joy.

It does have something of a mystery to it. But think about the people you know who are shallow, and then think of the people you know who are deep. Now think of the people who have suffered vs the people who have always had it easy. Does the metaphor bear up?

One caveat: when you suffer, you must not allow it to make you bitter, angry, resentful. If you become these things, you bypass the deepening.

I have heard people say that they will go find some suffering so they can be deepened. But believe me, you don't have to go looking. Suffering will find you. It finds all of us. All you have to do is prepare yourself to learn from your suffering, to deepen, and not to grow bitter. When the suffering comes (or if you're suffering now, which I know many of you are), He will use that pain to make you deeper... to grow your faith and prepare you for the greatest joy.

You have heard about Him before... but once you suffer, you will see Him with your own eyes. And every pain you ever felt will seem like nothing in the light of His glory.

Thank You, God, for making us deeper through suffering.

1 comment:

julie reedy said...

So very true Jeff. The times I find myself closest to Christ is when I am in pain, it seems when things are going "good" I hum right along enjoying His creation but not always focused on Christ, but when the pain arrives I return home. Job has been a great deepening of my understanding of the story of Job and our suffering but oh the joy on the other side of the suffering.