Redemptive Suffering

This past Sunday Pastor Brad Wong spoke on suffering and his words cut me deeply. This past year has been one of suffering both emotionally and physically as I’m coming to terms with my inability to bounce back as in my youth, struggled off and on with times of low energy and bouts of depression. And as I’ve gotten older I feel weaker, and much more vulnerable.

Living in a world that measures the value of a person on how successful and productive they are I feel like the last year has been my least productive. This leaves me feeling indifferent and wondering if my passion for Christ has waned. I am left anxious and feeling more alone, unsure of what the future holds and my capacity to face new adventures.

In sharing with a friend he reminded me of these words from Isaiah 35:6b-7, “Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool…”

As I pondered his words that had pierced my heart I was reminded that in that desert of suffering, the darkness of the wilderness, Jesus gives me life and continues to offer me that life in union with Him. Often when we suffer we chose to seek comfort in another or in some broken pattern of numbing to ease the aloneness. So many of us in our pain choose to isolate and sin rather than to choose Jesus.

But Jesus saves us in those times of suffering. He alone can make our suffering redemptive. He did this for me as I risked sharing my life with a fellow brother who is on the same journey with me. He brought the words (water) of life to refresh my thirsty soul.

In the desert times of life may Jesus become everything for you. I leave you with His words to the church in Smyrna. Revelation 2:9, “I know your affliction and your poverty–yet you are rich!”

May your present suffering bring forth a treasure within that brings hope and life to those who you meet on the road ahead.