Suffering is not a desirable thing. In fact, suffering often sucks. It typically involves tragedy, health issues, relationship problems, the list goes on. It is uncomfortable to say the least. It’s heartbreaking and often unbearable.
As a Christian, I believe the Bible. I believe it’s truths about life and Jesus. So, when I read that we need to find joy amidst suffering, it makes me pause and think.
How in the world am I supposed to find something good out this horrible tragedy? Is it even possible?
One of my favorite verses is James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
So what is joy? I think joy is something deeper than happiness. Happiness is an emotion. It changes amidst circumstances. Joy on the other hand is different. Joy is that burning fire, deep inside your gut. It is that unshakeable mountain of hope that sits protected from the storms of life.
So if joy is not necessarily an emotion and it is tied to hope, what does it look like, practically speaking? It begins and it ends with Jesus. Believing that He came, He died, He forgave, and that he provided a way to eternity. It’s knowing that, no matter how bad life gets, there’s hope beyond our here and now.
The beautiful and mysterious thing about God, is that he often uses the tough times, the times of suffering, to glorify Himself. Very often, it isn’t until we are at our wit’s end, that we even consider calling out to our Creator. There is a saying, “God is more interested in your character than your comfort.” This is so true. He is more concerned about our eternal state than He is with our earthly state. Sometimes, actually, often times we don’t see the big picture. I think that if a tough situation can lead a soul to God, that is His main concern.
Now, let’s be real here. Yes, I believe the Bible and I believe in Jesus. Does that make suffering easier? I guess it does. Does it make the pain and struggle go away? Heck no! There WILL be troubles in this life, that is guaranteed. No fun.
I am not at all attempting to minimize tragedy and the evil that happens everyday to people near and dear to our hearts. I am just trying to shed light on the Light that is available at the end of the tunnel.
The fuel that fans my flame is this: I know that the suffering is temporary. Meaning, that in light of eternity, this life is a mere mist. We are as temporary as dried grass on a summer day.
There are those who have no hope though. This world is it. It doesn’t have to be that way. Through Jesus Christ, we have eternity to look forward to. We just need to dive in and believe. Is it possible to find happiness in suffering? That’s tough. Is it possible to find joy in suffering? I think so. As far as our broken selves will allow us to experience it.
Have you suffered greatly? If so, were you somehow able to find joy through it?