January 28, 2014

Are You Suffering?

Dear Friend,

How are you today? No, really. Is everything okay? Are you going through something hard? Well, times can be rough. I can't quite say that I know what you're going through, but I know just as well as anyone what suffering feels like. 

To me, suffering usually feels a lot like nobody understands, that nothing can make things better. Like there is darkness wrapping itself around me and all I can do is let it stay. 

Saying that it is difficult to deal with death, natural disasters, rape, eating disorders, illness, lies, etc. is a major understatement. How are we supposed to look at suffering? How do we explain it? Can we explain it?
People's reactions to your suffering vary depending on what their core beliefs are. They say, "You're going through this because it'll make you stronger in the end." Or, "Don't worry, it'll work out later." Sometimes an "It's okay" even when things are clearly not okay.
And then there's the Bible. 

Paul says that he rejoices in suffering (Romans 5).

The other night at Bible study, we were taking a look at John 11, which is the account of Lazarus. 

Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus came. There was weeping on this day because in Jewish tradition, four days after someone's passing signified that his/her soul had passed to the next life. Can you relate to the grief? Knowing that a loved one is gone forever... I think that this kind of sadness is, in a sense, greater than if I had died in the other person's place.

Why would Jesus allow Lazarus to die? He had loved him--why would he allow the death to occur and allow the suffering to happen?

Could it be that he allowed Lazarus to die so that he could raise him from the dead?

God's Word tells us that his glory is manifested through our weaknesses. The suffering that we go through--his glory can shine brighter and stronger than all of it.

God's love is essential to human life, and that is why our lowest points can sometimes be the most important points of our lives, because those moments are when we experience the greatest potential for letting his love shine through.

Take care,
-Riley XO

Image from Quorri Scharmyn

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