Oh the joys of suffering! Yes I did just really write that. Suffering in the world seems to be one of the major issues people have with God. I am often asked, “How can a loving God allow so much suffering?” And they either can’t believe that there is a God because of this or they can’t follow and love a God who allows it. On February 28, 2018 during a very intense and powerful prayer session the Lord opened the eyes of my understanding with regards to suffering and it changed me deeply within my soul. Even though this is not new information it is the way in which the Lord revealed it to me that had such a huge impact. I understand it now in a more complete and life altering way.
Before the fall of Adam and Eve there was no suffering. Suffering only entered our lives through sin and still to this day all the suffering in the world is due to our own sins and the sins of others. God gave us the gift of free will and without this gift we would be like the animals, driven by instinct and emotion. God cannot take away our free will, without taking away our humanity, so here in lies the dilemma. We have free will, we choose to sin and as a consequence of sin we suffer. If God simply took away all our suffering caused by our sin we would still be stuck in sin and would never learn that sin is not good, it will never fulfill us and it brings so much pain and suffering. In God’s wisdom and mercy He sent His only begotten son Jesus to die for us and suffer for us. Jesus’ suffering and death was divine so it had the power to transform our suffering. So now when we suffer we can unite our sufferings with Jesus’ and He uses our suffering to burn away the effects of our sin and to transform us. He can also use our suffering, when we unite it to His, to heal others and bring them to Him.
You see we need to be purified and made perfect (like we were before the fall) before we enter heaven so it either has to be done in this life or in purgatory. The suffering in purgatory is much worse then the suffering on earth because God is not with us in purgatory to console us, comfort us and give us grace and strength. So I decided I would much rather accept and be joyful about my suffering here on earth. I am able to finally see suffering as a blessing rather then something evil and horrible. Suffering has been transformed through the blood of Christ. I mean come on, I’m going to suffer in this life regardless if I accept it or not. The thing with embracing it and using it for redemptive purposes is that all of a sudden the suffering lessons. The only pain that remains is in the body. With acceptance, all the mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish vanishes.
So now I catch myself throughout the day in bad habits of complaining if my stomach hurts or my back or if others are annoying me. As soon as I catch myself I actually say “Lord I accept this suffering with joy and patience and unite it with your passion and death to use as you see fit”. Another thing I’ve started doing is asking God to transfer someone else’s sufferings to me so I may offer it up and unite it to Jesus’ suffering so that the person may be healed in whatever way they need. You see they may not know their suffering can be used for good but I do and God revealed to me that I can suffer for them.
I did this a while ago for my husband, Rob, because God asked me to. At the moment I said yes I felt intense pain in my legs (my husband has neuropathic pain from a horrible spinal cord injury). Two days later Rob was able to let go of forgiveness, resentment and bitterness that he was struggling to let go of. Through my suffering for him the Lord softened his heart and brought him to a place where he was able to tell me he forgave me. Alleluia! Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy!! Jesus I trust in You! Amen!
What are your beliefs about suffering? How do you deal with your own suffering?
How do you help others in their suffering?
How is your trust in God effected when you see horrible suffering in the world?
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