Thriving in the Midst of Suffering

Life is messy; life is hard because we all suffer on our journey towards the heart of God.

Recently, one of my daughters, feeling overwhelmed by her circumstances, was feeling sorry for herself. In the space of a week, she met three people, all who appeared successful and problem free on the surface, only to discover each one was suffering deeply. She literally ran into one woman who was jogging through their affluent neighborhood. This fashionable-looking woman’s husband was bedridden, her family had been forced to sell their home and live with her elderly parents, her teenage kids were acting up, and she was trying to run a home daycare so she could be physically available to her parents, her kids and her sick husband.

We must often draw the comparison between time and eternity. This is the remedy of all our troubles. How small will the present moment appear when we enter that great ocean. -St. Elizebeth Ann Seton

Suffer With Joy

People cannot avoid pain but only choose how to go through the difficulties which rain down on them. It is possible to live a hard life yet be filled with joy and peace. I am a joyful person, even though by society’s standards I should be miserable because Jesus has finally managed to show me how to be filled with joy as I journey into the heart of God.

If we only knew the precious treasure hidden in infirmities, we would receive them with the same joy with which we receive the greatest benefits, and we would bear them without ever complaining or showing signs of weariness. -St. Vincent dePaul

Christian cognitive therapy is a wonderful tool to shake us out of our self-pity. Take a step back, count all your blessings, stay focused on receiving God’s love, pray, and watch the mountains you face grow smaller. When I focus only on my problems, they grow larger and more difficult. I also discovered much of my anguish is self-inflicted because I try to steal God’s job by trying to save myself and everyone else around me. The large weight of despair lifts off the moment I surrender my pain to Christ, asking Him to truly be my savior in the nitty-gritty reality of daily life.

He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2: 24

When I focus only on my problems, they grow larger and more difficult.

Saint Paul

Saint Paul is an example of a man who lived in the joy of the Lord, even though by the world’s standard’s he should have been miserable and full of complaints.
He was the most important apostle to the Gentiles, well-educated, and famous for founding churches all over the Roman Empire. In unity with the Holy Spirit,  Paul discovered and articulated the new Mystical Theology of the Christian life.  His letters were read and reread by the first Christians, the ultimate standard on how to live as a Christian.
Yet, when he was over 60,  he was not enjoying retirement but in a Roman prison, awaiting a trial which could result in his execution. Although he was in his own quarters, he was chained to a Roman guard 24 hours a day and suffered under unfair criticism by jealous Church leaders. He had endured another two years confined in Caesarea earlier never mind he almost died after a shipwreck on his way to Rome.

Despite all these hardships, St. Paul was filled with joy because he did not demand comfort but had the grace to live in the Love of Christ no matter if he was rich or poor, in prison or free. He realized God was using his circumstances to purify him. God allowed him to suffer.

Jesus suffered and died to save us. One day Christ will wipe every tear wiped from our eyes (Rev. 21:4). However, Jesus also promised us that if we are truly His disciples, we will suffer because it is the only way to bring us closer to the heart of God.

Suffering teaches you to love. -St. Gemma Galgani

connecting with theology is a verb and reconciled to you

3 thoughts on “Thriving in the Midst of Suffering

  1. Oh my goodness…..I needed to read this! I won’t bore you with myriads of details where I go on and on about the ongoing, unrelenting, tiring etc past three years of various trials that my husband and I have endured. The mercies of the Lord ARE truly new every morning and I am so grateful for that. Whenever I feel like I can’t take another step under the stress , I find articles like yours that lift me up and remind me that it’s how we respond to these trials and sufferings that really counts. Thank you so much! God bless you! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a tendency to ask for God’s help in my suffering without actually relinquishing control. Thank you for this beautiful reminder to trust God and recognize the hidden joy.

    Liked by 1 person

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