Monday, March 4, 2013

The Goal of Suffering

In the book of Romans, Paul says that we should rejoice in our sufferings, even glory in them. Suffering, in the end, produces hope and this hope will not dissapoint us. When I struggle, I surely think of hope but it is a hope that the suffering will end soon. I'm not convinced that is what Paul meant for us to hope for. Paul speaks of the glory revealed during suffering, that suffering is a refiner's fire and that we are being perfected and that somehow, glory will be revealed. Perhaps this glory will be seen by us, perhaps by others, perhaps through us? Our hope is in the glory revealed, but this can only come with a shifting of the mind about the nature of suffering.

Suffering will happen directly to us and sometimes it is uncomfortable and sometimes it is truly unbearable. When one is in intense physical or maental or emotional pain it is nearly impossible to see outside your own situation and all you might be left with is "Why me?" or just plain "Why?" These are honest questions and I'm not sure if I can give a satisfactory answer theologically or otherwise. But I do know that the promises of the bible say that every amount of suffering is for some reason... God collects our tears and counts the hairs on our heads...this is a God of tremendous detail even though at times of suffering He seems so far from us. Though he isn't far from us. A God capable of that amount of detail...a God that asked Job all of those questions, must be highly aware of all that we are dealing with, even the infinitesimal  worries of our heart.

So what do we do with it? Truly, I believe the suffering is the goal. I don't mean that we should purposefully place ourselves in a state of suffering expecting to have the glory revealed, but we must be alright with the fact that our suffering might be the only part of the glorification process revealed to us. Only later in heaven might we get the answer to the "Why?" of suffering. We have to come to terms with that. As we suffer for our art, our work, our family, our friendship, we also share in the glory that the suffering produces. That very same glory may not leave us unmarred by the suffering...Paul too had a thorn in his side, but the suffering is never for naught.

The toil we deal with in situations beyond our control, and the suffering we bring onto ourselves in our work striving for excellence, become the point. God will turn the suffering into glory, we will become better because of it, the Kingdom will be glorified through our pain and struggle. So, stand fast in the is for grace that we might share in the toil of Jesus, knowing that we will also share in His glory.


No comments:

Post a Comment