Suffering Well

By Krista Keane

When I read the topic I was to write about for today, my first, raw, brutally honest, thought was, For the love….Really?  This is the topic for today?

As I read further in today’s devotional in Small Surrenders, Emilie Griffin writes:

Fridays in Lent are a good day to recall the sufferings of the Lord.  We don’t do that to mire ourselves in sadness.  We do it instead to bear our own sufferings well.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but this just doesn’t sound fun at all.

I feel like every time I turn around I hear news of suffering; a long time family friend in Oregon losing his battle to brain cancer; a husband and father of young kiddos in Arizona who unexpectedly lost his job last week; a friend, wife and young mom in California in the throws of chemo and radiation for breast cancer; a dear friend here who just said a final good bye to her sweet mom.  And then there’s my own yuck that looms over me like a dark cloud.  I promise you, suffering is not something I only think about on a Friday or during Lent.  It’s every day.  Suffering is all around—all the time.

And for lack of a better phrase--it sucks!

 Then, I read this:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

When I say read, I mean, I glance (once in a great while) at this verse.  It’s not one of my favorites.  I just don’t understand how the words, joy, trials and testing can sit in the same sentence.

And then this:

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4

As difficult or unlikely as it seems, we are encouraged as Christian believers to enter into this maturity on purpose…To join our sufferings to those of the Lord, who is infinitely more able than we are to bear them. ~Emilie Griffin

Jesus, as both man and God on this earth, or as I like to call Him, “God in a Bod,” faced rejection, hurt, anger, and fear.  In other words, He suffered.  But the sacrifice He made, and the suffering He endured on the cross, stand in the gap for all human suffering.

When we join our sufferings and those of others to the sufferings of Jesus, something will come right. ~Emilie Griffin

Something will come right. 

What we must remember is that many of the wrongs committed against us; many of the painful sufferings we walk through, may not be righted until we meet Jesus in Heaven.  This side of Heaven, there isn’t much hope, if any.  I wonder, then, if that’s what James is saying.  Persevere, because someday soon you will find pure joy—in Heaven!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:4-5

My friends: Hold on.  Persevere.  Suffer well.  Jesus is coming to make all things right!