Understandably, the knee jerk response to personal suffering is “Why me, Lord?” Yet, it has been the clarion call of our spiritual leaders that encourage all to ask “What would you have me do with this Lord?” Suffering, in its many forms, is simply unavoidable in our life. Not only is suffering the key to lifting up the cross of Christian humility but further sows a proper perspective towards harvesting our meaning and purpose given to us by God. I imagine the response, “Why me Lord?” is appropriate if we hear God’s voice emitting from a burning bush or confronted by the likes of an archangel Gabriel, however, for the rest of us with eyes fixed forward and silently plowing this field of faith, our hope of understanding the full value of Calvary’s tribulation is also rooted in our question of “what“. It is in our ordeal’s solitude, when our vision is blurred by tears and life stagnates in a silence that’s as thick as our disbelief, that the “what” promotes action away from self-pity. It is the very compassion of God that clears our eyes to encourage us to offer our burden at the feet of a crucified man who humbles our heart towards understanding and healing. Suffering should never be wasted. Every tear God holds is in hope of receiving what we cannot bear alone. This is the available love of God. An extraordinary love that waits patiently in unexpected forgiveness. This same love we seek is also commanded towards our neighbors – even our enemies. If we love God and neighbor personally, then we soon unravel the paradox of the intimacy shared between love and suffering. Suffering is the uninvited prayer that quiets our life and bends both our ears and knees to God. In 2 Corinthians 2:5 we read, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” Furthermore, in Colossians 1:24, St. Paul, ministers to our afflictions by preaching, “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” “My sufferings for you…” the very inspired words of God that mysteriously connects all suffering that we offer up to God connects back to Calvary. It is here that the Author of life compassionately absorbs all our suffering in exchange for forgiveness and immaculate, eternal life. It is in the dying gasps of crucifixion that the Finisher of our faith consecrates creation with His very blood and water which instantly unites all suffering to His finished work. Here in the meaning of life, our sufferings are humbly returned as prayers for the whole body headed by Our Sole Redeemer. He is the Beginning and the End that benevolently waits on our response. Oh, the capacity of Our Savior, the gift of free will, the power of prayer, and the opportunity in suffering seem now to hinge on that little word what.
In Him we rise,
Love and Suffering “Why me, Lord?! Lord, why me?” “How much longer before I’m free?” “Why should I bear such misery?” “Lord have Mercy on me!” Silence is your only answer, To the “whys” of my misery. “What should I do with life’s cancer?” Soon stirs a voice deep inside me… Like a whisper, A gentle touch. God takes my fear – My hated crutch. His voice now clear, Return to me Blossom in faith Not self-pity. Love has conquered, What once owned me. Pain now offered, To Calvary… “What now Lord?! What now?” Please strengthen the faith I still plow, Despite this pain you have allowed, Your mercy is with me now. ©2011 By Chris Clody 3/22/11
Please take a moment and leave a comment regarding your perspective on suffering and possible new insights to Colossians 1:24 or do you agree there is an intimate paradox shared between love and suffering?