Thursday, February 08, 2007

Suffering....

Below is a post found on Prodigal Daughter's Blog. She nails it here. I can only add a fervent 'amen' to her thoughts. The understanding about the real blessings of suffering was pretty much "off the books" and not really spoken about in most of the places we were foraging for "scraps of truth falling from the Master's table." We gathered many good bits & pieces of truth, taught by some excellent preachers over the years, and for that, we'll be always grateful. However, no matter how enticing the menu, how tantalizing the pictures, with descriptions of various mouth-watering dinners, breakfasts and lunches, it is the Meal itself in the end which sates a famished stomach and even more, a starving soul. That is the difference between where we were and Where we are.

Suffering in all forms can best be coped with when it is 'embraced' as "from God." Not that we become 'masochists' by any means and not that we don't take medicine or try to thwart suffering in others, I'm not saying that at all, please don't misunderstand me. This is what we do know: Jesus had to succumb to a bloody, cruel death, and his own Mother had to suffer right along side Him, all the way to the Cross, with a "sword piercing her heart" as Simeon had predicted at the Presentation of our Lord. Surely we can't presume to think we'll be exempt, God forbid! [I think here in America we're more prone to refuse to accept suffering, and sadly, that thinking has crept into our places of worship and it almost seems that we then "worship" health, more than the God who gives it to us and the God who, for greater purposes than we attempt to acknowledge many times, sees fit to "take it away."] We are not immune, as followers of Christ, from the "trail of blood and tears" - (no servant is not above his Master) and if we follow Him, we will surely suffer to various degrees as God permits - mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually ...the Bible tells me so.

Romans 5

2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.
3 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.



susie

Happy Those Who Suffer With Him


After spending years in churches that refuse to accept sickness as the will of God, and then watching the faith of families and friends shatter as their prayers for healing go unanswered, I find much comfort in the words of Brother Lawrence.

"I DO not pray that you may be delivered from your pains; but I pray GOD earnestly that He would give you strength and patience to bear them as long as He pleases. Comfort yourself with Him who holds you fastened to the cross: He will loose you when He thinks fit. Happy those who suffer with Him: accustom yourself to suffer in that manner, and seek from Him the strength to endure as much, and as long, as He shall judge to be necessary for you. The men of the world do not comprehend these truths, nor is it to be wondered at, since they suffer like what they are, and not like Christians: they consider sickness as a pain to nature, and not as a favour from GOD; and seeing it only in that light, they find nothing in it but grief and distress. But those who consider sickness as coming from the hand of GOD, as the effects of His mercy, and the means which He employs for their salvation, commonly find in it great sweetness and sensible consolation.

I wish you could convince yourself that GOD is often (in some sense) nearer to us and more effectually present with us, in sickness than in health. Rely upon no other Physician, for, according to my apprehension, He reserves your cure to Himself. Put then all your trust in Him, and you will soon find the effects of it in your recovery, which we often retard, by putting greater confidence in physic than in GOD.

Whatever remedies you make use of, they will succeed only so far as He permits. When pains come from GOD, He only can cure them. He often sends diseases of the body, to cure those of the soul. Comfort yourself with the sovereign Physician both of soul and body."

2 comments:

Prodigal Daughter said...

Thanks for the affirming post Susie. Just in time for Lent! I'm planning to do 14 meditations, one for each Station of the Cross. Hoping to revive some excitement about this awesome Lenten devotion. God bless!

Joyful Catholics said...

I LOVE Lent! It's such a wonderful meditative time, and teaches me so much how to "embrace" suffering. I do it VERY POORLY, I'm a spoiled, sometimes pouty little girl of the Baby Boomer generation, and used to "getting my way" but so much of the time, 'my way' has led to disaster. I pray Dear God help me to die to myself, and dearest Mother Mary, teach me how to suffer, to embrace suffering, to be a "woman wrapped in silence" as you were. Not whining or pouting or moping or complaining, but "embracing" and contemplating, and pondering and saying "Be it done unto me, according to thy Word." amen.

Rich and I made Stations of the Cross booklets for the Holy Family Shrine last year. We may used them again this year for our Stations day out there again, if we don't use Father's.

I look forward to reading your meditations, Deb. Thanks for your comment.