Everything around you seems to start sucking. I’m sorry I used the word “sucking”, but I don’t know another word.
Some thoughts on suffering after studying it for the week:
When we suffer temptations or our kids seem to fall prey to temptations on repeat, we can feel reassured that the enemy doesn’t like where we are/they’re headed.
When the enemy doesn’t like where we are/they’re headed, God does. Keep pressing in. Grasp hope and promises in that minute. At one point you will look down and realize you aren’t just white-knuckling wishful thinking, instead you’ve got a fistful of peace. Notice I didn’t say the problems go away. Rather you find yourself standing a little taller, shield about you, poised to stand firm.
When we suffer it shouldn’t be arbitrary. Even if what we are going through falls under natural consequences, don’t let a second of it be in vain. Learn. Press in. Press on. Purpose to hear God and change. Repent. Turn about. Carry on. Take it like a man. Take it like a boss. But don’t let it be useless. Don’t simply sit and beg for it all to go away. You’re in a mess. Watch how God turns every hard time to be used for good and his glory. Punch the devil in the face by standing in your doorway and singing to Jesus at the top of your lungs. You got this. God’s got you. Make it count.
And finally, don’t let what Christ did be for not. Jesus opted to come here to this jacked up, most of the time sideways world, so he could trudge through a life we would someday relate to. He put on suffering. He walked into situations knowing his best friends would betray him before they knew they would. And do you know how he responded? He washed their feet. He knelt before Judas, and Emmanuel chose to serve a trader in the most humbling way. Christ spoke to Peter with love, not passively through hidden aggression at what was to come. He showed Peter that Peter was worth every sacrifice all the while knowing Peter would turn away from Jesus pretending never to even have been his friend. I don’t respond this way. When I know someone has evil planned for me I roll through ten scenarios of how I can be meanest to them before they can get to me. Then I’ve won, right? Not according to this.
I want to know how to suffer properly. I want to learn how to fight well. I’m finding it has nothing to do with quips and fists and sarcasm.
Loving others is hard. Suffering is hard. I’m so grateful that we have an example to follow after.