Today at A Holy Experience, Ann asked each of her readers to write on: The Practice of Suffering…. What does it mean to pick up a cross? How do we walk through hard times? How do we participate in the sufferings of Christ?
Suffering…pain…heartache…devastation. Never an easy topic to discuss. I, like many, don’t enjoy spending a lot of time thinking about suffering, much less enduring it. It hurts too much.
But, I live in a world that knows suffering. It groans under the weight of it. There are so many times when I am silent in the presence of others pain…because I don’t have the words. I can’t answer the why questions. I don’t know why. When the heart aches, the answers aren’t always going to make sense anyway. Just emptiness.
Sometimes, during times of suffering, all I can do, is be present. Be there. Hold a hand. Calm a spirit. Love a person.
To this very day, I still cry when I hear of someone losing a loved one, to death. I don’t even have to know the person, and it still makes me cry. I know that particular suffering from personal experience…..and it changed me. My heart aches for the widow and the fatherless. The tears flow as a parent’s heart breaks, knowing that their child won’t be coming home. A child, no matter how old, feels empty when their parent is no longer there.
Suffering is hard. It hurts. It changes people.
I do know that if I had not been widowed at a young age, if my father had not died, if all my family members were still here….I would not feel the same way that I do now. I would not be able to share in the suffering. I would not be able to comfort others, like I can now, because of what I have been through.
Because of Christ‘s comfort given to me, I can comfort others. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT
I believe, as a follower of Christ, I am called to be His “hands and feet” to others who are hurting. To be honest, it isn’t really what I would have picked for myself, had I had opportunity to decide. I mean, would any of us choose suffering? Ever? If there were any other way?
I am so eternally grateful that even though Jesus knew the suffering that was ahead for him, he said, ” “Abba,Father everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36 NIV It is because He chose the cross, that I know suffering will not be forever. It will one day cease to be.