Tough Stuff

I have struggled with not having answers.  I want answers.  I want to find comfort in having all the answers.  So I can justify something that has happened, making the pain less.  I want something tangible to hang on to.

Life circumstances just don’t make sense sometimes.

What are we supposed to do when we don’t have answers?  When we can’t see the light in the darkness.

I’m sitting here thinking about this pastor, 30 years old Andrew Stoecklein, who committed suicide.  Suffering.  Alone.  My heart aches for that family, the suffering they are enduring.

And then I realize, there are a lot of things in life we don’t have answers for.

People die of cancer, car accidents, natural disasters.  This is the age old question “If God is real, why is there suffering in this world?”

I hate suffering, does anyone like it?  Have you suffered?  Grieved a loss?  Walked through a dark time in life?  Been so anxious you couldn’t eat or sleep?

I have and because I have experienced those things, I know there is a God who is real.  More real than any pain we can experience here on this earth.  More intentional with showing us the way than ever before.  More loving and kind than I imagined.  More powerful and real even without healing.  Even in death, He is with us.  Oh He is with us.

Romans 8:38-39 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Satan would love for us to see it differently.  That he is the one with all the power.  He’s gross and cruel.  He has no victory, and he is acting out of defeat and he knows it.  He’d love to deceive us into believing he’s won.

But Jesus took our pain and sin carrying it to the Cross and broke its power by sacrificing Himself because of His love for us.  And then in all His power, rose from the dead, letting us know He is the One who holds all the victory.  He has won.  We can rest there when we don’t understand.  When it hurts too much.

Father, show us Your Love and help us to have eyes to see it even when we have no answers.  In Jesus name, amen.

 

“The Way of Suffering”

Suffering.

How can a word provoke such a powerful image, feeling, or place most everyone can relate?

I might have already lost you.  No-one wants to suffer.  I don’t want to suffer.

But we do want deeper.  We do want closeness.  We do long for acceptance and understanding.  We do want compassion for those hurting, and patience with people closest to us.  We want freedom.  We want peace.

I feel very unqualified to write anything of worth about this topic, but I have suffered.  And I think suffering is what makes us most relatable.

For the longest time, I’d gloss over tough topics with people and put a shiny Christian phrase over their hurt.  Fighting that urge to try and remove someone else’s suffering.

Not too long ago, I was sharing with my counselor how I was feeling about others pain.  I don’t like when others are hurting or are upset.  I want to remove it and make them happy.  And she said something profound, she said “Tara, you don’t really want to take it from them do you?  This is their journey.”  See those moments I’ve wanted to step in and save are the moments someone needs most.  Those are the moments I’ve needed most.  The moments when I was alone and no one could save me but Jesus himself.  He became so real, so close.  And in the moments you realize for yourself who God is and pursue Him, those are the deep, compassionate, loving, kind moments with a  Savior that will never let go, never let you down, even though the world has turned their back.

The truth comes forth.  You see who you really are.  What you are really made of.  And that makes all the difference.

And I know 100% that God will use your suffering for good.  I cannot recount every moment that God has used my suffering for good and for His glory.  Those things in my life I thought were better left hidden and concealed.

Be vulnerable.  Even when it’s hard.  Let God use you.

And maybe we can just sit with people who are suffering, let them know we are there, that we care, and watch them soar in ways we didn’t even see possible.  Maybe we can be proud people are healing and restoring.

I fumble, maybe speak too much.  I’m still learning what sharing my suffering and story looks like, but I know it’s good.

There’s purpose to suffering is not just for you, but for others too.  Keep your eyes up, He will use it.

Looking for a picture for the title page of this blog, and it is fitting I found a picture of the Via DeLorosa from our trip to Israel.  The places where Jesus carried His Cross to Calvary for us.  Jesus came, suffered on the Cross for me and you, and rose victorious three days later.  I think it make sense to think about suffering as we prepare to enter into the Easter season.

Suffering is for victory.  Our ultimate victory in Heaven with our Savior.