Why Do We Suffer?
By Dawn Kelley, NLW Community Development Director
Earlier this year, my husband of 19 years took his own life…
He struggled with mental illness and, towards the end of his life, he believed it would be best for me and our two boys if he were no longer a burden on us.
With the holidays coming up, I find myself in a terribly difficult place emotionally and, to be honest, I am tired of grieving. Sorrow is messy and I don’t like messes. Life takes us down roads we never imagined and people make permanent choices that leave loved ones permanently scarred.
For me, a scar would be a welcome addition because it would mean this wound would no longer be gaping open.
I want the pain to end. I want God to heal me. Right now. I want to move on. But God has chosen to leave me right where I am and I must humbly submit to His timeline for my healing. It is a process by which He is teaching me to be vulnerable and honest and to entrust myself to Him. Which leads me to explain why I am sharing my journey of grief with you all: because of the power of a testimony to encourage the body of Christ.
We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. — 2 Corinthians 1:8-10, NLT
If you are in a place where you are simply just trying to endure the pain of a gaping wound, please be encouraged: God still heals. But your healing — my healing — will not always come when and how we want. In fact, our healing is not even the end goal.
The goal is to get ourselves to Christ in the middle of our suffering.
A relationship of complete trust in Him during the worst of circumstances is the desired result. It is in the process of suffering by which we learn to solely rely on Him. If we do not need healing, we do not need Him. Not only that, I must daily (sometimes every moment) remind myself it is better for Him to heal me properly, in His own sweet time, than rush through it to avoid pain and do a terrible job of mending myself in the process.
So, until that day…
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. — 2 Corinthians 1:2-7, NLT
To connect with Dawn, you can email her at dkelley[at]nlwinternational.com.