Suffering And The Flow Of The Spirit

When I was a kid I used to think that if I could somehow be good enough in the eyes of God, that God would spare me from discomfort.  

When I felt like I was about to suffer some calamity or punishment because of a mistake I'd made, I would start praying profusely that God would intervene.     

I would seek to purify myself and my thoughts. confess my sins, apologizing for all the things I imagined God was displeased with, and then some.  My hope was that if I could just "get right" with God, that God would take pity on me and keep me from suffering.  

This kind of belief system was destined to collapse under the weight of reality, as you can imagine. Even though there were occasions when it seemed as though my prayers got answered, there were as many or more occasions when I simply suffered.  

Thankfully, I've come to a deeper understanding of the role that suffering and difficulties play in my life of faith.  

Suffering, as it turns out, is simply part of what it means to be in the flow of the Spirit of God.  We learn just as much or more about who we are in God through life's challenging moments as we do in the triumphant ones.  

And when we learn to embrace the role that suffering plays in our lives and the fact that God is present with us during our low moments, and suffers as we do---then we are then able to more fully empathize and offer life, grace, and peace to those who are suffering.  

Hear these words from the Apostle Paul, who understood this perhaps more completely than anyone: 
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 1 Cor. 1:3-5
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.   

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