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The Transformational Power of Suffering

Even though suffering is such a big part of all of our lives on this side of heaven, no

one necessarily likes talking about suffering. As if we don’t talk about it, then suffering will just disappear from our lives. And of course that’s furthest from the truth! My goal with this blog is to guide you and help you change the way you think about suffering. I don’t pretend to know what your personal struggles and wounds are, but as someone who knows a lot about suffering, I can sympathize.

We live in a society that tells us we need to avoid suffering at all costs. Most of the time suffering is looked upon with resentment and the sentiment of “why me”. One of the many beautiful things about our Christian/Catholic faith is that it teaches us how suffering can be redemptive. Which means that despite the pain suffering brings, if we allow it, that same pain from our wounds can transform us and those around us.

God can use our experiences to draw us closer to Him. He can also make us into wounded healers to others.


Suffering is unavoidable


Once we get past the fact that suffering is unavoidable, then we can move on to praying that God will teach us how to suffer well. To suffer well is to understand that God can use our sufferings for the sanctification of our souls and that of others. Suffering can also transform us into better missionary disciples.Those who have suffered much are usually the ones who can love deeply and abundantly.

With all the suffering and pain we are seeing all around us, it can be tempting to assume that God is no longer listening or that maybe He just doesn’t care. Of course that is not true. He does listen and He cares - 1 John 5:14 says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”

Sometimes, in our human nature and because we can only see parts of the puzzle which make up our life here on earth, we find ourselves asking questions such as - why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow so much suffering? And the list goes on.

One thing we can all agree on is that suffering is just part of our lives on this side of heaven. We all go through it. What we do with our sufferings is what makes all the difference.


You are never alone in your suffering


Friends, whatever struggle you are facing in this season of life, it’s good to remember that you are never alone. Psalm 34:18 reminds us that “God is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit.'' This verse is one I cling to when I find myself in a dark place.

And remember this: Your sufferings and struggles are not a detour, but they are the most important part of your journey. It is from those struggles, that the good Lord can make beautiful things.

Our struggles also have the power to purify us. Mostly from the illusion that we are in control of our lives. Simply put, we cannot become the best version of ourselves without going through those rough waters of our life journey. We need to learn how to see God’s Glory, even in the midst of our sufferings.


And of course those struggles are unique to each one of us:

They can be the pain and sadness from losing a loved one,

The pain from going through the devastation of being sexually, physically or mentally abused

The pain from all types of addiction/ including alcohol, drugs, and addiction to pornography

The pain from depression and anxiety

The pain from neglect and rejection;

The pain of going through a long lived illness such as cancer

The pain of going through divorce or watching your parents go through a divorce. And of course the list goes on…

In this fallen world we live in it is difficult to find someone who doesn’t have some big wound that needs healing. If we allow it, those personal sufferings can become redemptive. We can get to a point in life where we are actually thankful for our scars. Because we can clearly see that those same scars have brought us closer to Christ.

After all I have been through in the aftermath of being raped and sexually abuse at the tender age of 8 yers old while growing up in Brazil, I have come to believe that the worst part of suffering is not necessarily the suffering, but suffering alone. Our suffering, united with Jesus’ suffering can bear immense fruit in this life and the next!

I love what Fr. Jacques Philippe says in one of his books, Interior Freedom:


“We need to stop dreaming of a life without suffering or conflict. That is the life of heaven, not earth. We must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness.”


Jesus was clear when he said In John 16:33- “ I have told you these things, so that in me you will have peace. In this world you will have tribulations. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


In saying that in this world we would have tribulations I don’t think Jesus was trying to scare us. I think his goal was to prepare us.

What Jesus is saying to you and I is this:


“Yes, there will be suffering in this life, but remember that I have overcome suffering, therefore if you truly believe and trust in me, even though you will go through suffering, it will not destroy you.”


And the reason why it will not destroy you is because with Jesus anything is possible. When we don’t see a way out of a situation, he’s there to show us the way. Jesus himself will prepare us to go through all those trials and tribulations that are sure to come our way throughout our life journey.


We need only to do one thing: We need to welcome Jesus into our hearts and wounds and give him permission to take over for us. When we have our foundation in Christ’s words to us we can stand any type of storm that comes our way.

Friends, We all have a story, and our stories matter! You matter! The enemy will have you think that only other people’s stories matter. That’s another one of his lies.

Healing happens not only internally, but also in communal sharing. That means when we share our stories, they have the power to inspire and give others hope. My story was never supposed to be told.


You see, the enemy is a bastard and he made me believe that I needed to keep my story hidden in his darkness. But then the Lord showed up and told me something completely different- He wanted me to tell my story so that other men and women like you, would know that no matter what they have gone through, healing is available and possible to all God’s children.


My story is the perfect example of how God can create amazing things with and from our broken pieces. Don’t be afraid of your broken pieces. Bring those broken pieces to the foot of the cross. You will be amazed and in awe at what the Lord can do with those broken and hurting pieces of our hearts.


No matter what’s going on in your life right now, I pray that you can rest knowing that God sees your pain and that He desires to be your healer and comforter!


Here are a few simple statements to keep in mind in case you are walking through your own dark valley.


1- Place Christ at the center of everything in your life- that means your emotions, your struggles, your well-being

2- Let the Divine Physician make you whole

3- Shift from self-reliance to reliance on Christ

4- Pray every day

5- Read the Scriptures every day

6- Cultivate awareness, consistence, patience, perseverance, compassion, and most importantly, trust

7- Every night before going to sleep surrender everything to the Father and sleep in His peace


תגובות


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