Suffering & Hope

Fredrick Buechener once wrote, "For people who don't believe in God, suffering can be understood simply as part of the way the world work.  For people who do believe in God, it must remain always a dark and awful mystery."  

Since my mom's passing, I have been thinking deeply about suffering, and it's role in faith formation.  

The Apostle Paul (who knew a little about suffering) wrote that: 
"...suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope." 
Today I re-read a passage of Scripture from 1 Peter chapter 2 that says this about suffering as a Christian: 
This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.
So all that is well and good, right?  It makes sense.  And totally sounds like the kinds of things that are written by people who have seen suffering and come through the other side.  

What I've discovered is that despite what you might know to be true about suffering, and despite all of the incredible encouragement you can take from the lives of Peter and Paul, when you are in the middle of suffering and sorrow... you just want it to stop. 

In the end, all we can do is surrender the outcomes to God, and cling to the promise that there will be hope on the other side of it.  

W. Phillip Keller once wrote that when he gave God control of his life, it produced the "peace of God" which is the only thing that can bring true healing. 

Today, I am going to practice surrendering all the aspects of my life to God--even my grief, and the suffering it causes.  And I will continue to have hope.  

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


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