“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:11
As I stood in that hospital room with my relatives and saw my grandmother take her last breath, I was devastated. She was everything to us. I remember stepping into the hallway, leaning against the wall and slowly sliding down to the floor sobbing uncontrollably. Even though she was advanced in age, I had the privilege of having her live the last year of her life in the easily accessible first floor unit of my house. But now I wished I could have her for one more year.
Why must we suffer so? Is there a purpose to pain, loss and deprivation? From Bible times to the present, it’s a question that has been studied and debated.
A friend who suffers from constant migraines attempted to answer in a published essay entitled Theology of Suffering: “In this pain, I learned to look beyond myself, and in looking beyond myself, God revealed Himself to me.”
“Faith is not a means of escaping pain, but a straight and narrow path through it, one that presses and molds us into the image of Christ. A healing encounter can only be achieved by embracing the pain that is intrinsic to life, rather than seeking to escape it through a life structured on the principle of pleasure.”
We were not made for suffering, yet completeness is rarely found in lives of pleasure and ease. God uses suffering to lift us above our wants and self-driven impulses, to gift us with true fullness of life. We may not understand, but trusting His power and keen interest in us, we can see our trials become our triumphs.
Lord, help me to trust that on the darkest days You are working to illuminate my life. Amen.
Written by Tony Corbin courtesy of the West Orange Chaplain Team