Suffering and it’s fruits
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
I have been a Christian for years, but there are days when I read this verse, and I just want to scream. Scream out in pain. Anger. Frustration. I believe this verse. But I ask: “Why do things have to be like THIS!?” My own suffering. The suffering of friends and family. Total strangers. At times, it’s like a vice closing around my heart and all I can do is weep and scream.
I don’t think i’m alone. In fact, I KNOW I am not alone. I’m not alone in the fact that other people are suffering, even more so than I. But I am also not alone in that, in those moments, when I am weeping, sobbing on my carpet, desperate for an answer, God is there too (even as I type this, my eyes well up with tears).
“The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
“But Why? WHY!?”
There is an answer. Part of me hates the answer; my sinful flesh wants to take the pages where the answers are to shreds, spit on them and burn them. But the redeemed man in me, weeps yet again; a mixture of quiet sadness and deep joy. Not exuberant, “dancing around the room, the Seahawks just won the super bowl” joy, but a type of joy that only grows deeper roots over time. A joy that cannot be taken away. A joy, that like Godly peace, surpasses all understanding.
We suffer (in part) because, through suffering, we are made more like Jesus Christ
“we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
“…if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:17
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
That last verse kills me. “Consider it all joy?” My immature, fleshly side struggles mightily with that one. But, by God’s grace, I do find, that my redeemed self is growing in this area. Slowly…but growing.