I am lousy at suffering.
It seems only fair that, having been blessed with a happy life, I should be able to take whatever breaths of trouble or suffering blow my way. Puffs of the real thing, really--nowhere near the heart-wrenching, life-changing extent that some others have to face.
But I can't.
I find that often I react to suffering the same way I would to a blister. Even if I'm not crippled by it, I still limp as I go on with life. I chafe and complain and feel like my whole life is ruined because of that one thing (read: whole body disabled because of that one little white blister.) Maybe I mean to keep a stiff upper lip (sometimes not even just out of sheer silly heroics, but perhaps because the rational side of me actually realizes what a silly little thing it is)--but end up with a long face. Maybe I do bear with it without too much fuss--but I let it irritate me more than it should, ruin my mood, make me unreasonably cross and grumpy even to those trying to help and sympathize. (Humans are foolish in a very complicated way.)
(Hopefully this analogy isn't completely serious. I'm horrified at how out of proportion my reaction to a mere blister seems to be becoming.)
I may bear the suffering, praying for strength and telling God I'm trusting Him--but I do it with bad grace. Reading Psalms, reading Isaiah (Isaiah had one of the most tragic lives of all God's servants in the Bible), I know that I'm not bearing the suffering as I should. Where's the joy in God that should characterize a Christian, even in suffering? I didn't have it.
Even as I professed to know it was for my own good, I squirmed and made faces and complained when I had yucky medicine to take.
As Dad once shared at a prayer meeting, it's not just an added bonus to have joy in suffering. It's important--because it means we are accepting God's plan for us, trusting Him. Lack of joy leads to dissatisfaction, unhappiness (well duh), even a grudge against God, despite professedly accepting His will.
We have to pray for joy, as well as strength, for our suffering. Specifically, joy in God.
Not joy in His gifts to us (duh that's a natural response at any rate), which turns our happiness into an erratic, superficial roller-coaster of an equation, Me + Good Things Happen = I'm Happy/I Love God; Me +Bad Things Happen = I'm Sad/I Hate God.
Joy in the Giver. Because He never changes, His love for us never changes, and His goodness never changes.
a quiet voice
Ci thinks some of God's greatest blessings to mankind are
all images from Pinterest unless otherwise specified. thanks, Pinterest!