Monday, April 20, 2015

The upside of suffering.

"We are pressed on every side by troubles,..." 2Cor.4:8a NLT

  “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.  We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.  Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus SO THAT the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”  2Cor. 4:8-10 NLT

Will there ever be relief from this storm called life?

Some parents of special needs children not only wonder this, but live this on a regular basis.  Others looking into their lives don’t really understand how difficult an average day can be.  It may be those endless doctor visits.  It may be the constant financial burden.  Maybe it’s always watching your child feel so lonely. Or it could be that fear of another call from your child saying they messed up, overdosed, or drank too much.  It could be all of the above like it was for me.  That’s where I found myself when I got that final call no parent wants, but I almost expected it sooner or later. David had overdosed for the last time.  I remember getting that last call and how much God used my suffering to point others to Him.  That call and many other scenarios are all very real and a part of life for the parent of a special needs child. 

Amidst all of this suffering in our lives can anything good come from it?

The world says no and blames God for it all.  We know better even when we don’t feel better.  If we turn from God then we slowly are crushed, driven to despair, feel abandoned by God, and feel destroyed. 

But when we turn to Him, seek Him, and ultimately trust Him, then and only then can suffering have an upside.  The last verse above tells us what that is.  “Through suffering….the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”  Did you get that?  Our suffering shows Jesus to others.  I don’t know about you, but for me that verse gave my suffering purpose.    

I wish I could say that my suffering has always had a purpose, but I can’t. 

I wish I could say that my suffering will always have a purpose, but I can’t.

I will say that when I focus on my God that I know never abandons me, and when I cry out to Him in my agony, and when I read His word, He never disappoints.  On top of that my suffering again has a purpose. 

So I have to ask myself, “Does my suffering have purpose?”  If I say no, then I know where my heart is and it’s not in a good place.  But if I say yes, then I can rejoice in the knowledge that others will see Jesus. 

How about you?  Where are you at right now? 

Prayer:  Lord, Help me to always seek you regardless of my circumstances.  Help me to show you to the world no matter what season of life I am going through.  Especially, help me to suffer with a purpose.  Amen

Ann Gapinski
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net  Stock photo - Image ID: 100279445         
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