Suffering – an opportunity to meet with ourselves
Hello friends. It seems like a while since we have touched base and so much has happened in between. I have been away from home and life has been quite hectic, resulting in neglect of my spiritual life and all things Christian. But on the upside, it has brought to mind that when I am absent before God for a while, I realise just how much I need Him in my life – and it also takes me to the title of this post.
In this blog I want to write about suffering, not the kind of suffering that comes from physical illness such as cancer, but the kind that comes from life and all that it has thrown at you. A place of burden, stress or anxiety. When people and life are simply getting you down, or bad situations or experiences are hanging around you and not wanting to go anywhere. A place of chaos where your soul is not at peace.
We all suffer. Some more than others and it comes in a variety of ways. Most of us will go to great lengths in order to avoid it. At times we will keep ourselves overly busy in work, drink lots of alcohol or overeat to keep ourselves distracted from ourselves and the negative effects life or others are having on us.
But what if we took a different view of suffering? What if we see it as a guide to personal growth and a greater understanding of who we are?
What if we embraced it and sat with it, accepting it as part of being human?
The Catholic church majors on suffering and places great emphasis on it as the church fully recognises suffering is part of the human experience and that it is not something we need to shy or run away from. This model of faith comes from Christ Himself, the saints and martyrs who all suffered greatly: physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Friends, what I have learned is that in our suffering, there is so much to be gained. It can bring us to where we truly are in life and highlight the darkness that is contained within us all. It can bring us to the place where we recognise a greater need for God in our lives and to the areas in our personal life that need our attention.
For me, it has showed me that I need to be kind and merciful towards myself when suffering hits. That I need not to be afraid to sit with it and recognise my own limitations.
Suffering can either make us or break us. It can force us to meet with who we truly are as people. It can bring a great spiritual awakening and acknowledgment of our own frailty and weakness, thus allowing God’s grace to work in our lives.
Friends, don’t be afraid when suffering hits. Listen to it and acknowledge it. It is hard but allow it to shape you in the best way possible, and more importantly, pray.
In James 1: 2-4 it says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
I thinks this sums it up beautifully!
Have a great day.
© Carol J. Kelso 2016