Discovering Jesus In Our Pain & Suffering

I've had more than one opportunity lately to offer advice and guidance to friends and family, who are going through difficult seasons.  Some have lost loved ones, others are going through health crisis, and still others are dealing with doubts and fears.  

What advice I have to give, I’ve shared.  When guidance was needed, I’ve done my best to give it.  But in the end, nothing I can say will completely heal the wounds that come from loss, pain and suffering.  

There's no way around suffering and struggle, sadly.  When it comes, you can't avoid it, you just have to journey through it.  

The great playwright Tennessee Williams once wrote, "Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know you're dead."  

At this point, you're probably saying to yourself, "Leon is cranking out some uplifting stuff today!  Keep that positivity coming, brother."  I hear you, but stick with me.    

Through the low moments, the valleys of shadow and death... through the loss, the fear and doubt... through the seasons of struggle when suffering seems like a constant companion...  You are not alone.  

And in your suffering, you are given the opportunity to identify more deeply with Jesus, to draw closer to him and to feel his presence more intimately.  

The great German theologian Jurgen Moltmann once wrote,

"Our disappointments, our lonelinesses and our defeats do not separate us from [Jesus]; they draw us more deeply into communion with him.  And with the final, unanswered cry, 'Why, my God, why?' we join in his death cry and await with him the resurrection."

During these last weeks of Lent, may you discover the presence of Jesus in your difficult moments.  May you feel his love in your suffering and struggle.  May you know hope as you realize that pain, sin and death do not get the last word.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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