Suffering Awakens

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.  But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17 (NLT)

No one wants to suffer.  It’s not something that I tend to look forward to.  It’s not something that I want to participate in.  Suffering is something that I want to avoid and run away from.  And, when I go through it, the question that permeates my mind is, “Why?!??!? Why do I have to go through this?? Why is this happening to me?” 

It’s an age old dilemma.  It is discussed in philosophy and psychology classes on university campuses around the world.  It is debated in the realm of sociology, taking into consideration another person or culture’s belief system.  It is analyzed and processed with every single client that sits in a chair inside a counselor’s office.  It’s typed out over texts and sobbed over through a telephone when talking and venting to family and friends.  It’s a pretty prominent question and thought process in this crazy adventure called life. 

I’ve had my share of asking the question “why” have I had to go through things, just like you, my friend.  I could sit down with you and a cup of coffee and relay to you all the things and injustices that I have suffered.  I could try to convey a message of understanding and hope to you as I share my stories, but deep down, there is still the “but why?” 

Jesus told us, point blank, that life was going to be hard (John 16:33).  I’m not sure when the idea of being a Christian meant walking through a field of flowers with a pretty sundress on, in the warm sunshine, and soft, peppy music playing came from, but it’s not accurate.  We live in a world that is broken and fallen.  It wasn’t suppose to be this way, but disobedience (sin) made it so. 

We all have those things that are in our minds and hearts; those sharp and jagged events that hurt us and had ripple effects in our lives that maybe we are still feeling the affects from.  Maybe it’s a ripple effect from our parents’ choices that we had no participation in.  Maybe its something that we did that we just can’t let go or forgive ourselves for.  Or maybe its something that you don’t even want to mention because the suffering has been long buried and bringing it up again isn’t an option. 

Precious one.  Imagine me leaning over my cup of coffee, across the small table, and whispering to you.  This is important.  You need to hear this. You have suffered.  And you’re going to suffer again.  That’s the bad news.  But.  The awesome, amazing, and beautiful news is that, if you allow Jesus to do it, suffering will awaken you from your spiritual slumber.  It will shake up everything inside of you and bring you to your knees.  It will create a flow of tears from your eyes and heart; but through that release, you’ll have the opportunity to surrender.  And it’s in that beautiful moment of brokenness and surrender that you may figuratively (or literally) fall to your knees.  And Jesus will be right there to catch you, look you in the eyes, and say in the most loving voice, “My beautiful girl, I am right here.  And I am going to help you get back up.  And, you’re going to amazed at what I am going to do with this to bring absolute beauty and hope and healing through it.”   

When I was 20 years old, I was sitting on a bathroom floor, holding my knees, and crying as I looked up at the man that I had been with for the past 4 years.  I glanced at him with a desperation and said, “I wish you still loved me.” He looked at me with a face and eyes of stone and said, “I wish I did too.”  And he walked out of the house and out of my life.  I was so broken and felt so rejected.  That moment re-opened so many wounds within my heart.  But, I can tell you with confidence, that Jesus was there.  And that moment was the catalyst for me being on a journey of obedience and surrender to Jesus.  And because of that suffering that led to brokenness and surrender, God has been able to reach into my soul and provide love and grace and healing in so many ways.  Now, 14 years later, I can see Jesus use this experience and others in my life, to bring good as I have been refined through that fire.  I work with women who are in the criminal justice system, clients in my private practice, friends, and family, who have suffered exponentially, and I have the opportunity to speak life into them.  Personally, through my suffering, I have grown as a woman and found areas of my life that needed some attention.  Things such as selfishness, pride, bitterness, anger, and depression.  Areas that I needed to be healed in and allow Jesus to minister to me, which happened through my suffering.   And now, I am thankful for what I have gone through.  I am thankful that God has created beautiful things out of the ashes, because only He can create things from nothing.

If we know that suffering is a guarantee in this life at different points, we have the choice to either put our hope in Jesus who can use the suffering to awaken us from sleepy spirituality and use it for good and His glory; or we can experience the suffering with no hope of anything beneficial coming from it.  The choice is ours sweet sister.  I choose to allow the suffering to be used for good in my life and hopefully in the life of others.  What do you choose precious one?  May these verses from Isaiah be a comfort for you and a reminder of God’s ability to bring good from your suffering:

Announce freedom to all captives,
    pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
    a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
    and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
    give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
    a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
    planted by God to display his glory.
They’ll rebuild the old ruins,
    raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They’ll start over on the ruined cities,
    take the rubble left behind and make it new.

Isaiah 61:1-4

Megan is a native born Las Vegas gal who secretly wishes she had been born in Small Town USA.  She is a mama to 3 children, Rocco, Zia, and Vincenzo.  She has been married to her wonderful, charming, servant leader husband, Vin, and loves him way more now then she did on their wedding day, which she didn’t think was possible.  She is a drug counselor in private practice and works within the criminal justice system, which gives her an opportunity to pour the love and light of Jesus into people who are at their worst.  Megan is passionate about people becoming whole and healthy through Jesus, grace, community, and mercy, as that is how she has found healing herself.  She hopes her writings and speaking can be used for God’s glory as she walks in obedience.  She loves coffee, writing, chocolate and peanut butter, reading historical fiction, and hearing her babies giggle from their bellies.