Why do I have to suffer?
Have you ever asked yourself this question?
Now, let me clarify, I don't mean a reflection upon generic suffering, like thinking about the fall of man and the consequences. I mean really pleading internally, “Why do I have to suffer this?”
Because I'm sure we all know how much easier life is, without living with the consequences of brokenness that we have no control over; like our bodies, or someone's poor choices.
Personally, yesterday was the culmination of a challenging month for me. It resulted in a very challenging afternoon and evening, where I was quite unwell mentally and physically.
I could not help but think in my humanness, “Why do I have to suffer like this? I am so much better without this and I am supposed to be a pastor!”
Yet this evening I got some news about a friend, and rather than judging (yes, I can easily do this) my heart broke for this person, and I prayed a prayer for them I honestly know I could not have prayed without having experienced suffering myself once again yesterday.
As Christians we know the theology of staying humble and relying upon The Lord to guide us, as opposed to our flesh...but it is another thing to learn this theology.
Yes I am a pastor, but I am human and need to 'practice what I preach'.
None of us like pain and suffering we have no control over, it can make us feel vulnerable and inadequate, tired and frustrated, even different and alone...
But it is from a place of inadequacy and vulnerability, that we can approach the throne of grace where Jesus sits. Seeking Him again and again to be our only sufficiency.
It is by suffering that Jesus lived His humanity and it is therefore by suffering that we truly journey alongside others.
It is all too easy to get puffed up and to forget how real struggling can be when we do well for a season. Perhaps this is why Paul wrote about boasting of suffering – because of the good it can produce. Read it here, Romans 5.
If you are suffering from something you have no control over be kind to yourself. It is unhealthy and non-biblical to view yourself as less-than other Christians, or uncared for by God, or unable to serve. We are not super-human, we are all brothers and sisters because of the One who is more.
When in the storm, hold onto His promises, while praying and waiting for day-break. Do not surrender to anything but Him.
Let me leave you with a song that has really helped me this week: