“Good morning, so you’ve found Jesus” shouted one of the guys in the neighbourhood at me just a few minutes ago.
“What do I get if I find Jesus?” He continued.
“Love” I replied and as I walked away with Rayne I said to Rayne “and lots of suffering!”.
Give your life to Jesus and you will suffer wouldn’t sound very attractive for evangelisation and yet it’s true! When we give our lives to Jesus we will suffer just as he did.
Nowadays people often just mention the love bit but love without suffering isn’t really love and following Jesus and not getting out there and saving souls isn’t really following Jesus.
Yesterday I had one of those suffering days myself, a day that Jesus allowed me to feel the pain of certain souls and to suffer as I prayed for them.
It certainly doesn’t sound very attractive from the point of view of evangelisation. “Hey, this is what will happen if you give your life to Jesus” and yet it’s true. Evangelisation that promises a nice cosy and carefree life on earth before going to heaven and sitting in the best seat beside Jesus isn’t really evangelisation! It’s wishful thinking and make believe but it’s not reality.
So where do we go with this loving God who isn’t going to spare you suffering?!
After all, isn’t that what we all want deep down? To all live happily ever after and to be protected and wrapped up in cotton wool while we are waiting?!
I don’t know about you but I often discern an inner voice in me that’s like this and that finds the reality of the cross and the ways of Jesus difficult and harsh.
And so on this topic, Jesus spoke to me yesterday:
“My mercy doesn’t exclude suffering and great suffering. The more you become my disciples the more you will suffer but suffer with me in love for others.
Love will purify your suffering of impurities such as doubt, despair, complaining, blasphemy, lust etc.
My suffering on the cross was perfectly pure. It was perfect suffering, perfect agony. The suffering in itself was no less but it’s power infinite.
The more you love, the more perfect your suffering will be and the more it will help others and especially if offered for the souls in purgatory, the more it will free.
Everything you suffer for me on earth will be repaid to you one thousand fold when you come to heaven.
In the eyes of eternity your lives on earth are nothing more than a flicker of light in the darkness and yet so important.
When you feel discouraged, think of eternity, think of your eternal reward and continue to trust in me even in the darkest of pain.
I will not test you beyond what you can endure but I will stretch you to the very end and at times you may feel that I’ve gone too far. During these moments look to the cross and my cry of “Father, why have you abandoned me?” and trust.
One day at a time my little ones, your crosses in this life will be your crowns in the next. Trust!”
And so once again a hopeful and yet sobering message that the Jesus we are following is a Jesus that loves us and invites us into the mystery of suffering and whether it’s the suffering of the souls in purgatory or the suffering to purify our own souls or the suffering required for the conversion of others, we simply cannot preach a gospel without suffering and leave people out in the darkness and give them the impression that following Jesus is easy or that somehow it just suffices to be a “good” or “nice” person!
And while this message of suffering might not sound attractive, Jesus himself provides the answer. He tells us to cast our thoughts to eternity and to the eternal rewards of heaven and not to be fooled by the lies and half gospels of this world which ultimately are no good for us, for Jesus, for the souls in purgatory, for the conversion of sinners and for the entire world.
And so today, if you do have suffering in your life, unite it with Jesus and do your best to suffer with love and peace trusting that you are not alone and that Jesus is using it to help others while preparing your crown in heaven also!