Thursday, May 19, 2011

Accepting Suffering In Our Lives

“Suffering, once accepted, loses its edge, for the terror of it lessens, and what remains is generally far more manageable than we had imagined.”

~Lesley Hazelton

No matter what kind of suffering you have, are, or will experience in life (marrital problems, abuse, illness, poverty, loss of a job, loss of a loved one, broken dreams, infertility, having a prodigal child ...) accepting that suffering can disarm it of much of it's agony.  I don't mean that we shouldn't do our best to get out of the possition of suffering (especially in the case of abuses), but that we should acknowledge the suffering in our lives and give it to God - knowing that He can redeem even the worst pain and suffering.  He never promises to take away all of our pain and suffering - but He does promise that no amount of suffering can separate us from His love.

John 16:33
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

Suffering should not be a shock to us - we should go through life knowing that suffering will be part of it in one way or another.  There WILL be trouble throughout life.  And John is talking to believers here - so faith doesn't take away all suffering here on earth.
1 Peter 4:19

"So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good"

We shouldn't assume that because we are suffering that we did something to deserve it - or that we are missing God's will for our lives.  God allows suffering and sometimes it is even part of His will.
Philippians 4:6-7

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

This passage in Philippians is a great example of how we should accept what suffering God has allowed in our lives.  Not that we can't ask Him to remove the suffering - but that we shouldn't be anxious about it and we can trust that when we bring our requests to Him He will do what is best - that is where the peace comes from.
Romans 8: 31b, 35, 37-39

"If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. "

I LOVE this Romans passage.  Through EVERYTHING we face in life (and Paul knew a few things about suffering when he wrote this) God's love will be with us.  We can have hope and peace as we accept whatever He allows in our lives.

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