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Blessed are those who Suffer

The life of faith is not free of pain and suffering. This is not something promised to followers of Jesus.

In fact, in many ways Jesus offers the opposite. If we follow him, that means he asks us to take up "our cross" and follow him. As Christians, we worship a suffering Lord who died tragically by crucifixion. In Jesus, we see the way of suffering: Jesus does not fight back, he does not resist, he does not run away. What comfort is that to those of us that suffer?

The life of faith is not free of pain and suffering. But our problems, our suffering, and even our trauma are not outside of God's love.

In Jesus, we see God staying present with us in our suffering, acknowledging the pain of being human. Jesus had faith in his Father, that his Father loved him enough to not leave him alone in his suffering.

God's unconditional love that abides with us in our suffering allows us to suffer in hope. The Gospel teaches us that God's love can never and will never leave us. God's love stays with us in our trauma. And God's love transforms us into loving others. Because God stays with us in our suffering, we can stay with others during their time of suffering and trauma as well. We can be transformed into a community shaped by the cross.

We can suffer in hope, not alone, but together, because we have confidence in Christ's death and resurrection. We can offer each other the love we've already received from God.

Our theme this week is Blessed are those who Suffer, because as our devotional says, they do not suffer alone. God is with us. What are your thoughts about suffering? We'll continue this in next week's theme, blessed are those that are lonely or suffer alone.

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Growing up, I was taught to "put on a brave face", to hide my tears, to never show weakness, grin and bear it. And I am STILL in the process of unmasking from that. I think I will spend the rest of my life in that process. I remember very distinctly a sermon at IHS where I discovered the healing message of God as Father, like FATHER, a PARENT, not a judging figure who would leave me for making a mistake, a harsh figure full or rage, but LOVE, the actual full divine effect of love, the kind that doesn't leave but waits patiently while you cry, who gently guides and corrects when you make a mistake, who never ever…

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These are beautiful, personal thoughts. Thank you for sharing them!

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