I have been a HORRIBLE blogger.
Part of this is business...my nephew is home (and his mom and dad). I have work, travel obligations, etc, etc...YET some people are excellent at blogging.
Recently I have been thinking about suffering. The sermon at my parents' church this wkd was on the first portion of the first chapter of James...a chapter we are all familiar with, because it seems to be a go to chapter when times are tough.
Suffering makes us stronger. It builds perserverance. It develops character and faith and all those lovely things. yada yada yada....
You always hear that and you know its true, but it does stink to hear. And sometimes I hold on to that encouragement with a death grip and sometimes I let it slip through my ears, because knowing it will make me better doesn't always provide comfort in the midst of it. Just being honest. Doesn't make it any less true, and 75% of the time, I take JOY in knowing that my suffering or others' suffering can be used for God's glory and my growth.
HOWEVER something stuck out to me during the sermon...something I have heard before, but no one wants to focus on. SUFFERING SHOULD NOT SURPRISE OR SHOCK US. We should expect it, but it always knocks us on our feet, like death or cancer or heartbreak or failure should not be affecting us...wooaa, sorrow, where did you come from? I think that this idea is from the notion that we "earn" good times. Of course, if we are prodigal sons, we should not feel surprised when bad times come our way, afterall, we would have earned it. But, I feel I am a decent human being, loves God and others, so life should go easilly. THEN rough times hit and I literally have to pick myself off the floor. I am so surprised when bad things happened.
But, if my Savior, who was blameless, suffered, then I, a product of a fallen world, should expect suffering too.
I have to say, one thing I have noticed about myself (and about people much older than me) is that as each year passes, each bit of suffering shocks me less. There is a knowledge of God's faithfulness to pull me through because I have seen it before. I know who will provide and sustain because I have lived it.
And thats the encouragement for suffering: not only will God use it for His glory and your good, but He will get you through the times when you don't think you will get through.
Let's not live our lives expecting heartache, but knowing it can come at any minute...not in fear, but in gratefullness for the times that we aren't experiancing pain. (After all, in a fallen world, it would be fair of God to only give us pain daily.)
Anyways, nothing that substantial today, except that I wanted to share that tidbit.