Suffering Well

As I look at my calendar and realize that in a few hours we will actually be in December, for some reason it stops me in my tracks. The holidays are undoubtedly filled with such joy and I am so grateful to be able to say that as we approach this second Christmas without Maddox, I am overwhelmed with peace and I have a very content heart. However, this time of year is definitely marked for me. December 1st initiates the time of tremendous joy and intense pain that I experienced as I walked intimate journeys with close friends while they welcomed and then often quickly said goodbye to their precious babies. First Angie, then Yvette, then Christie, then Kim and Karen... then our turn... the list goes on.

As I reflected on this time of year today, I came across a devotional in my Bible that spoke directly to this and it reminded me of a memory verse from earlier in the year: "I tell you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!"- John 16:33. Each of us will suffer, in some way, at some time. And the crummy thing... it likely won't even be just once! But what exactly does it mean to suffer and do it well? Is that even possible? Read this devotional and let me know what you think...

Suffering Well
1 Peter 2:4-25

Have you ever asked that question? If so, you're not alone. The problem of pain and suffering in the world has turned many people away from faith in God and has inspired countless books and articles. Scholars and laypeople have tried for centuries to unravel the mystery of how God's plan can include evil in any form.

We live in a corrupt, fallen world in which illness occurs, violence happens and evil, for the time being, is allowed to run its course. Suffering is inevitable... our passage today even tells us we were "called" to suffer. It's not a matter of if we will suffer but when we will suffer. As believers in Jesus Christ, however, suffering offers the opportunity to display Christ's character and grace. For Christians, rather than asking, "Why does God allow suffering?" or even, "Why am I suffering?" we should ask, "How can I suffer well?"

Most of the early church leaders suffered violent deaths because of their outspoken and radical faith in Jesus. But every time one of them was martyred, the number of Christians grew. Why? Because people long to give themselves fully to a cause worth dying for. We all long for purpose and peace- and Jesus Christ offers both.

In his book Velvet Elvis, Bible teacher Rob Bell writes, "Ultimately our gift to the world around us is hope. Not blind hope that pretends everything is fine and refuses to acknowledge how things are. But the kind of hope that comes from staring pain and suffering right in the eyes and refusing to believe that this is all there is. It is what we all need- hope that comes not from going around suffering but from going through it."

Let's pray that God will allow us the privilege and strength of suffering well... for our sake, for his sake and for the sake of those who don't yet know him.

"But you are a chose people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."- 1 Peter 2:9


Corie said…
What a perfect verse John 16:33 is for me at this very moment and what a beautiful post you wrote. It is so very timely! I have so much more peace this year then last...but somehow I have still been caught off guard by some of my emotions. Maybe im expecting it to look different then it does...yet I know God is not suprised. Someday...I hope we can meet! I would love to talk about our boys Heaven day in person :)! Sending Holiday hugs and prayers for a calm and peaceful season.
Lyndsay said…
Thank you for posting this....I just had a normal check up at with my doctor today and I'm measuring 3 weeks ahead and my baby girl's heartbeat was irregular so she wants me to have an ultrasound this week to check everything out. I'm of course worried and anxious, but I need to put my trust in the One who's in control.
Emily said…
Thank you, Kenzie.

Perfect and so true.
Anonymous said…
I've been reading your blog for some time now and you are amazing. Thank you so much for this post. I am having a difficult time right now and have a lot of questions about things. This entry helped me a lot and I thank you. God bless.
Cathy said…
Just wanted to say thank you for precious Christmas card So cute... Mine just went out today. AGain, think of you and your family so often.
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