The last few days I’ve heard a few interesting testimonies on suffering!
The first was an inspiring young guy who had been contaminated by HIV through a blood transfusion when he was only 5 years old and the second was a heroin addict for 30 years!
Two totally different stories and yet both packed with suffering!
What both had in common was acceptance. Firstly acceptance of Jesus, secondly acceptance of suffering.
Accepting Jesus is at times the easy bit but accepting suffering with Jesus requires maturity, especially if the suffering comes from somebody elses mistake!
Of course in a way all suffering comes from someone else’s mistake. We could argue that it’s not fair that all of humanity should be born under the influence of sin due to Adam and Eve’s mistake.
This is of course where we need the grace of acceptance. Acceptance of God, acceptance of our inherited sinfullness, acceptance of suffering, acceptance of grace, acceptance of prayer and acceptance of our participation in the redemption of mankind!
Only when we accept all these things can we have true inner peace with God, with ourselves and with others!
For as long as we run from suffering, suffering will follow us because it’s there to teach us!
But when we befriend it and tame this wild beast we learn that with God’s grace that it has no power over us!
We learn to accept it, to welcome it and to transform it into grace just as a bee makes honey from nector!
Suffering becomes our daily food! Through God’s grace we can use it to grow in patience and gratitude. We can use it to better understand other people’s lives and to better appreciate life in general!
Suffering forces us to ask questions such as why am I alive, what’s the point….suffering forces us to see our limits and to reach out to others for help!
Suffering forces us to go deeper into the mystery of life and ultimately to accept God’s sovereign hand guiding us all.
Suffering helps us see our need for God and to better understand Jesus’s suffering.
Suffering teaches us to forgive, especially when we are victims of other’s mistakes!
And finally suffering teaches us total detachment from worldly things and that the only thing worth clinging to is God himself!
Of course many rebel against a loving God who allows such suffering but it is worth remembering what saint Peter says about it in the new testament!
“12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And,
“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
19 So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.“
And so today let’s give thanks to God for the suffering in our lives and ask Him for the grace to transform every single bit of it into grace, virtue and holiness that we may be living witnesses of love and hope to the whole world!
Have a day full of suffering (just kidding)….but have a day full of grace, acceptance and thanks for life and for God who promises us an eternity in heaven after a short trial down here!