Sunday, November 16, 2014

The meaning behind the pain

Everybody has struggles and trials, they are a part of life that we just can't avoid.  My personal struggles are different from yours, and in a sense, they are the same as yours too. It's easy to complain about them because they make life more difficult.  Some of our personal trials leave us in darkness feeling like we have no way out and we just want to find the exit.

I read a really great article this week about finding light and hope during depression, and while I don't agree 100% with everything it said, I love the idea that it is based on. It talks about a sermon given by a pastor who addresses light and darkness as it deals with depression (although I think it can be applied to the darkness we feel during any trial). The article can be found here:

Oftentimes I think we expect that if we are living our lives the way we think God wants us to, then we should be happy and have an easy time of things, I mean after all, doesn't God reward us with blessings when we do good?  Of course that would lead us to believe that if we are doing something wrong, then God will punish us, and therefore we will be miserable.

But surprisingly, scripture doesn't support that.  Look at all the good people in the scriptures who are amazing examples of righteousness: they all suffered.  There is an entire book devoted to the lamentations of Jeremiah.  Job wasn't a sinner, but he lost everything (his family, home, money, and eventually his good health). Abraham was possibly the only Prophet in the scriptures who we don't have a record of being chastised by God, and yet he was asked to ritually sacrifice his own son. Jesus himself is the perfect example of someone who never did anything wrong (in fact he did EVERYTHING right 100% of the time), and he suffered more than anyone in the history of the world will ever suffer.  So we can't assume that suffering is a punishment.

What the pastor in this article brings up (and what really caught my attention) is that trials and suffering put us in darkness, and it is up to us to find the light.  Trials put us in the perfect situation to seek God's light, and by seeking Him we are coming to know Him better. As we search for Him we study His words, we speak to Him in prayer, and we search within ourselves to find the deepest most secret part of ourselves and offer it to God as we try to understand our situation. Being in the darkness is an invitation to come to know God better.

And in truth, since Christ "bowed beneath all things" and suffered all the pains of everyone everywhere, the darkness of our suffering invites us to walk where He walked. As we seek the light we become as He is. So whether your struggle is depression or financial hardship or that your health is failing, remember that it's not a curse.  It's an invitation to come to know God better by seeking His light.

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