We grow up hoping to get the trophy; we hope to get the most beautiful girl/guy, the big house, lots of money and be an all-around successful human being in this great big world. We think that getting through life unscathed is the most successful thing a person can do. We do our best never to experience suffering.
When we do enter a season, or even for some, a lifetime of suffering, we ask God why. We say why me? Why is this happening? We are so conditioned by society to be winners; to be at the top of any game you are in whether work, sports, or any hobby. We are taught if we don’t win, we are a nobody. So when failure comes or a mistake or a setback, rejection or whatever that hurtful thing that happens in your life, we aren’t taught how to manage it or even how to deal with it. Everyone is so busy preparing to be a winner, and no one is teaching us how to fall forward or deal with trauma, trials, or tribulations. Suffering isn’t a popular topic for company trainers, motivational speaking gurus, or even pastors. I think we all want to steer clear of anything perceived as a failure, trial, or pain. Who wants to hurt? Well no one, but we all do anyway, so it’s time we look at it for what it is. It is something we all go through. Jesus’ ministry is to preach good tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, to open the prison to those who are bound, to comfort those who mourn, to give them BEAUTY for ASHES, the oil of joy for mourning, to provide a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Ok, so this is why Jesus came to earth to die for us who would die without Him.
What if our thoughts and teaching (or lack thereof) or our world views on suffering are dead wrong? What if, instead of trying to get through this life without any pain, mistakes or trouble (not that I am saying to live dangerously) or what if when it comes, and it will come, we don’t ask why me, but instead way say, Lord have your way.
We were never meant to get through this life unscathed. Life is about our faith in God within the suffering, within the trial. Because let’s face it, we don’t need a whole lot of faith on that mountaintop, do we? When we can truly have faith in our God within our suffering, something happens to us. We become like Christ.
Philippians 3: That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.
OR 2 Corinthians 1:5: for just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. We become like Him because we suffer as He did. He is called the suffering servant.
Don’t fear when trials happen, don’t think you did something wrong or that you are a loser, most certainly don’t think you’re the only one going through anything. That is the biggest lie of the century. We are all going through various hurtful experiences in our lives.
Have faith and know that our God has it all worked out already. It is finished. When Jesus said, “it is finished,” He meant it.
Romans 5:1-5 a part of it reads “and not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulations produce perseverance, and perseverance character, and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint because the LOVE of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
So all of this to say, when suffering comes, when we go through life-altering situations, instead of thinking the worst of ourselves and go inward with our self-hate and shame, let’s go to the cross and allow Jesus to turn us into beauty for ashes. If we allow God to have His way in our lives, He will turn all of it into a beautiful tapestry of His grace, mercy, and compassion for this lost and dying world. We will indeed be turned into all of those things HE promised to do when HE came to earth. Something happens on the inside of us, and the jar of the most beautiful aroma is broken open, and we get to share it with the world. You know longer look at people from a lens of judgment and sin and ugliness; you look at them through the eyes of our God who sees the back story. You look with love and tenderness to someone’s pain and suffering, because you too have suffered. It’s the most beautiful thing if we allow God to work it out and not get bitter within the trail.
Don’t fear, hold on to faith and Jesus because He genuinely has you and your life under control. You will not be the same, but you will be like Jesus.