I have been listening to this podcast about suffering recently. It’s really good and I would recommend listening to it. https://plus.google.com/share?url=http://www.ransomedheart.com/podcast/suffering-part-1-0
There are four parts, the link is for part 1, but you can find the others at that website. Anyway, they are discussing the subject of suffering and how we as Christians deal with suffering. It’s a subject that we all have to deal with and you have to figure out what your thoughts are about suffering because let me tell you that it will happen multiple times in your life. I have had many times of suffering in my life and each time I asked the question of why do I have to go through this? I think everyone does. Why me God? What is the point of this in my life? Is there any meaning to this pain? You have to find answers to those questions in order to continue growing in your relationship with God as you go though suffering. If you don’t find a way to answer those questions, you will turn your back on Christianity when you go through something difficult.
There is this thought in Christian circles that Christians should not suffer or go through anything hard. That having a relationship with Christ means your life will be unicorns and roses, and if it’s not you are doing something wrong. There must be sin in your life and you are not a good Christian. That is just not true. Christ himself suffered on earth and he was without sin. All of the heroes of the Bible suffered.
In 2008, we experienced our first miscarriage. It was the first time in our marriage that we had faced something truly difficult, something we just couldn’t understand. It was terrible and we asked why God was doing this in our lives. In my prayer time with God in crying and praying about how to process what had happened to us, he gave me something. He said that I would have a daughter someday. It helped me through my grief, to hold on to a promise that someday we would have a child again. We went on to adopt a little boy and then birth another little boy. No daughter yet. So, we felt lead to pursue a little girl through adoption. Two years of paperwork and we brought home our daughter in November of 2013. She was 11 years old at the time. I thought that our journey was over, I was wrong. It was just beginning, and the next year would be the hardest of our lives. She waged war against us and we struggled to figure out how to live with this child. We were suffering. She was suffering. It was ugly. Why God? We couldn’t understand, and I can’t say I do even now know exactly what He’s up to with this. It’s not over yet. It’s better, but truthfully I don’t know if it will ever be over. She is a profoundly messed up child. She has intellectual disability and she has severe attachment issues. I’m just being honest here. I have read so many accounts of other moms who have walked this road we find ourselves on. They speak of hating their child and being angry with God for putting them in this position. I get that. I really do. I’ve been there. I’ve wondered why me God and wondered if this child would have been better off to stay where she was instead of being in our household. I’ve questioned everything and stumbled around in the darkness trying to find my way out of this mess. Now that things are better, now that we are on the road to a better place with our daughter, I am looking back and seeing things a little more clearly. I still don’t know why we are going through this, but I do know we have seen God work this year. We are different people now, deeper. We also have a deep respect and understanding for other people around us who are parenting difficult children. I don’t judge other parents anymore. I tried not to before, but now I know that sometimes those parents are trying the best they can and those kids are just giving them a run for their money. That those parents are beat down and at their wits end, and just need someone to come along side and support them, without judgement. I am a humbled parent. I know that I know nothing and can’t boast about my accomplishments because I am not the wise parent guru who can fix any kid. I got nothing, some days. That’s okay though. I just take one step at a time and ask for help from others. It’s a whole lot easier than thinking you have all the answers.
No one wants to suffer. It’s no fun. We don’t learn anything in the happy times of life though. It’s in the hard times that we are stretched and grown and learn how to be like Christ. This life is not just about the here and now. It’s about preparing us for Heaven and perfecting us. The way that is done is through suffering. If you are in a time of suffering, take heart you are not alone. Reach out to others around you and you will find they are suffering too. If you are in an easier time of life, it’s coming. The suffering will come, as it always does. But know that God is growing you into the person he wants for you to be. I would not trade my past experiences with suffering, because those are the times I can look back and see growth in my life.