Thursday, December 8, 2016

Finding Meaning in our Suffering

Finding Meaning

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin."  Hebrews 4:15

Suppose you're walking down a street when you are accosted and forced to carry a huge and heavy basket on your back. You're ordered to walk three blocks, turn left, go two blocks, turn right, then proceed straight on. Staggering under the weight, you stumble on, bewildered and angry. The whole thing is meaningless and haphazard. When you are halfway down the third block, you finally bellow, "What gives?!"
The truth is then revealed. The burden you are carrying is your child, injured and unconscious. "Whaat!" On top of that, you discover you are not trudging through a meaningless rat-maze, but the most direct route to a hospital emergency room.

Immediately you straighten. Adrenaline and fresh energy quicken your pace and you move forward with a new attitude. Why the change? The suffering you're going through involves a relationship. Not just any relationship, but one with your child. Your relationship gives your burden meaning. Even your twisted path makes sense. You know where you are going. Your journey has a positive end -- the hospital -- and this instills hope.

Suffering has no meaning in itself. Left to its own, it is a frustrating and bewildering burden. But given the context of relationship, suffering suddenly has meaning.

You are not alone in your hardships. You have not been blindsided and ambushed by suffering, only to trudge on in senseless disappointment. God is with you. He is deeply involved in your circumstances. You have a Savior who can completely empathize with your weaknesses. In other words, you have relationship; and this, like nothing else, is what gives your circumstances powerful meaning. Intimacy deepens between you and God in the midst of hardships -- and intimacy makes for meaningful relationships.

Lord, press my soul up against Your breast through my pain and problems. And as You do, thank You for deepening the intimacy between us. This, like nothing else, gives my hardship meaning!


Joni and Friends

From More Precious than Silver, 1998

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