One of the things that initially put me off about Christianity was the glorification of suffering. Looking back and knowing what I know now, it’s probably because our society views suffering as a punishment and ease as a reward. More specifically, I used to be one of those people who believed that people suffer because they didn’t work hard enough.
Consequently, I wanted to invest effort in things that will make my life easier down the road. I mean, why would I want to volunteer myself to suffer? That felt stupid at best and masochistic at worst.
I don’t claim full enlightenment and yet I’m starting to understand.
John 12:24 says “ Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
Embracing suffering is not a consequence to be avoided, but a beginning of something more beautiful. As such, should sought after. The ultimate example being Christ’s crucifixion, which in earthly terms was dumb and in spiritual realm became the ultimate leadership by example case study of how doing God’s will, even when deadly, produces incomprehensible results.
So what does this mean? Should I start self-flagellating myself? No, of course not.
To me, it means looking past short term suffering that will inevitably come when I make choices based on what brings more love into my life. Then realizing that suffering is not a flavor of what’s more to come, but rather a sign that a part of me has to die to make space for the new source of ease.
It started small. For example, I set aside time for daily prayer, which entailed some suffering because it took me away from more fun or seemingly important tasks. Yet, it actually brought more ease, because putting myself in presence of God took much anxiety away from things that were out of my own control. So I began to kick it up a few notches over time by doing bible studies, Adoration, retreats etc.
Fast forward seven years later … I mustered enough faith last week to something my old self would never even permit myself to consider … quit my day job.
I am not exactly sure what will come of it and yet I know that it will be good.
And I also know that there will be many more steps of faith to come in the future.
How do you view suffering? How can your suffering be a beginning of a new ease?
Searching for something better? Don’t know what you want? What’s missing?
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