You are not the only one in intense suffering.
In the last week, I've talked with several people who are battling the following major sufferings:
- Loss of a child
- Extreme Anxiety
- Extreme Depression
- Physical Abuse
- Sexual Abuse
- Crumbling Marriages
- Financial pressure
When I read the list it seems black and white...no shades of the colors of the conversations I've had with the victims of these terrible monstrosities. I wish I could paint a better picture but due to safety I will stay black and white. The black and white does no justice to the loads these beautiful God lovers are carrying...
Faithful followers of the Christ that died to set them free....yet they suffer...
Listening to the stories and shedding tears with the broken this week have led me to two thoughts:
1. Suffering knows NO prejudice. It will take anyone.
2. The old cliche rings true: As bad as you think your story is...there is always worse suffering than your own.
I've had to evaluate suffering over the years. I've had to muddle through my thoughts on the subject and really get down and dirty in the thick mud of suffering. I could not understand the concept of unanswered prayers. Did that mean that I should stop asking? What was the point of prayer? Why not just love God and submit all to him without requests? Why would the Bible ask us to make supplications if He were not going to answer anyway?
After 5 years of these questions, it hit me at a red light. Seriously. Don't ask me why, if you're close to me the randomness does not surprise you in the slightest. I digress. The red light. It hit me.
GOD PUT NO LIMITS ON GRACE AND MERCY. GOD PUT NO LIMITS ON SUFFERING.
Just as he freely gives us forgiveness, unconditional love and justice...He also allows unlimited suffering. I don't know why...but that gave me such peace. We can never explain or justify Grace. It's totally unmerited and unbelievably unearned and undeserved. Same with suffering. We cannot explain it. We cannot justify it. We are mostly undeserving of the terrible suffering we encounter. But as hard as it sounds to accept, Suffering is just as much a unmerited aspect of life as Grace.
We are content to not try to explain or dissect Grace...yet very quick to dissect and explain suffering. As if, WE, these flailing human souls, dirty and undeserving DESERVE grace and have the RIGHT to question suffering. I'm so sorry...and it hurts me to say this...we have no rights. Nor do we deserve them.
It's like the old "Facts of Life" theme song "You take the good, You take the bad, You take 'em both and there ya have...the facts of the life!"
This life thing...it is what it is...we don't get to question it. Doesn't mean we won't...but we won't get answers. Grace and Suffering are the yin and yang of God's equation. I'll take suffering for the rest of my life if I continue to receive His grace. (Dangerous statement)
All we can do is muddle through...find acceptance....and trust that He has us. I'm pretty cool with that this week....check me again later...
Grace n Peace,