Monday, December 12, 2005

Suffering & Appreciation

I came home last night to discover my wife, Aleta, sick with the flu... I mean, really sick. My immediate reaction was to pray that God would heal her body & ease her pain. This morning we chatted about how bad the flu can feel & also how people tend to get used to those kinds of experiences so they're not as monumentally bad.

I remembered how painful breaking both my legs in '94 was & how miserable it was to be crippled for a year... & how, afterward, painful experiences that used to frighten me didn't seem so threatening. Even those "I-wish-I-could-die" ... toilet-worshipping, flu sessions don't seem as bad to me any more.

As I met with the Lord this morning I found myself reflecting on reasons to thank our God for the suffering we experience...

  • It creates opportunities to refine character & attitute;
  • It teaches perspective & endows endurance;
  • It renews trust in God alone;
  • It reminds us of our weakness & frailty & humbles us;
  • It helps us empathize with others who suffer;
  • It moves us toward community dependence (mutual need);
  • It makes us appreciate gladder days;
  • It makes us long for heaven;
  • It reminds us of the sin that permeates this world & the reason we strive to set people free from it.

Is it even possible to mature in Christ without suffering?

"Father, sometimes You remove the suffering; and sometimes, You refine the sufferer. Thank You, loving Lord, for knowing when to do which."

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