Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Suffering: I Want To Live

To label the events that have occurred over the last few weeks as disheartening would be an understatement. It has been blow after painful blow. Sudden illness, cancer, suicides...The consecutive tragedies are enough to make anyone question the purpose. How does one not get caught up in the suffering in the world?

While countless people are currently sick and suffering, there is good in the world. Life does contain moments that make it worth living. Hearing the lyrics to a favorite song, the birth of a new family member, and laughter from a joke shared between close friends are just a few. These moments transform into lengthier periods of contentment when life goes smoothly and according to expectation. We yearn for it to last.

Struggles and the suffering that results can be isolating. However, we are not alone. We each have them. We are not alone in questioning why either.

As Christians, we are not expected to worship a God who is unfamiliar with earthly burdens. He is all-knowing, and Jesus, His son, faced the ultimate struggle and suffering on the cross. Suffering is inevitable. It is an unavoidable part of life that is a direct result from sin entering a fallen world.
"We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen.” - 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
Nobody has the desire to endure suffering, regardless of how minuscule. Pain from struggles is not pleasant. Whether a little fender bender before work or terrible adversity, like the death of a close loved one, these trials challenge our happiness. We seek to avoid struggle once it intrudes. Evasions appear in the form of denial or even taking the easier way out in certain situations.

In the attempts to escape, we run from more than just suffering. We also run from living. And we run from joy, peace, and Christ who suffered too.
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds." - James 1:2 
So, suffering does have a purpose. It must be accepted to truly experience the wonderful aspects of life. Suffering only expands the capacity to recognize life's joys. It bonds others through struggles and strengthens our relationships. It exemplifies the openness to live, the willingness to recognize all life has to offer.

And I want to live.