“But We Rejoice in Our Sufferings…”

life-be-like-andy-gill
Just keepin’ it real, but, the past two years, life has just completely and utterly beat shit out of me. It was like being trapped underneath a seemingly never ending set of waves; one bad thing after another; feeling a sense of panic from the uncertainty that you’re going to make it.

But, in the same way you don’t try and stop the waves from coming, it’s fruitless to exert your energy on any attempts at stopping this series of unfortunate events; while it’s even more foolish to become angry during these circumstances.

Pain, we all experience this in various forms, it’s simply a part of life we learn to accept, get used to, or, just allow to pass with time.

There’s a verse in which the Apostle Paul says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings…” This verse is all to famously quoted and miscontextualized while then, as a result, unintentionally dismissing one’s pain or loss. The difference in this verse is that Paul’s pain and suffering was expected, anticipated, and possibly to a point even sought after; as Jesus guaranteed to His disciples and followers that if you were going to be His disciple there would be a cross you’d have to bear…

Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.”

– Jesus (Matthew 10:16-18)

In other words, Paul, he was suffering for a purpose. I’ve found that, when we suffer for a purpose the pain is so much easier to bear through. What makes suffering hardest is when the emotional pain we’re enduring doesn’t seem to have a purpose or legitimate reason to it.

Impoverishment.

The loss of a child.

A broken marriage or relationship.

Police brutality.

Terminal illness.

Uncontrollable Injustice.

Life, similar to that of the ocean, is uncontrollable. Many times there’s no rhyme or reason to why this or that happened; it just was.

“Suffering is no guarantee of holiness. Many times it can be an invaluable teacher; other times it can crush a person into self-pity.” – Rev. Jim Willig

All we can do in life is resolve to the fact that suffering, pain, and/or hardship is an inevitable certainty of life; and that, although we cannot avoid it, we can choose how we then define it.

You see, Jesus, when He came into this world, offered up Hope in the form of meaning. He gave his followers a mission, and with this mission came a sense of purpose. And, with this purpose came this “super-natural” ability to endure through the pain that is life.

If your goal in following Jesus is to rid of the pain or suffering in one’s life, then you’ve chosen to follow the wrong person.

We’re all chasing after happiness, but when we focus our attention upon Jesus, and abide to his true message, yes, we find suffering, but in that suffering we find meaning, self-worth, benevolence, and essentially what Jesus came to bring…

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10:10

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