Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Shared Suffering

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. I Pet 4: 13

He was a tough old soldier. He had been through hell in one war and was going through hell with his illness now. Even the morphine was not fully controlling his pain.

After we had finished our medical business, he said to me, “Do you know how I can bear all of this now?”

He then showed me the screen saver on his cell phone. It was an isolated cross on a hill with glorious light behind it.

“What I’m going through now is nothing compared to what He went through for me.”

Suffering is hard.

When we see it in our patients, we can work philosophically and compassionately through it to help them in their pain; but it gets tougher when we the suffering is our own. Suffering hurts and we can rarely think our way around it when it is laid across our own shoulders. Whether it is a personal illness, a hurting loved one, a failure at work, a failure at home or a shattered dream, rarely can we reason around the philosophy of our own suffering and feel okay. We can become stoic in our thinking, but we cannot find much solace there.

When we suffer, our greatest hope for solace is not through our minds but through our relationships. Rather than holding on to our pain, God would have us share our pain. He would have us share our suffering with each other and He would also have us share our suffering with the One who suffered for us. When we give our pain to Jesus Christ, He holds it up to the Father, blesses it, and then gives it back transformed, with a touch of peace, a touch of purpose and a touch of His glory.

Dear God,
When I suffer, let me do so hand in hand with Jesus.

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