Thursday, March 3, 2011
More on Suffering
I come back to the topic of suffering a lot, don't I. I fixate on it and ponder, ponder, ponder. Why do we suffer? Must we at all? Sometimes I think yes, sometimes I think no; sometimes I think the word "suffer" is the wrong word to use.
I'm reading another fabulous new book: "Your Secret Name: Discovering Who God Created You to Be" by Kary Oberbrunner (he was featured on my fav. radio show, Live the Promise). He states that there is so much discontent (paraphrased) in the world because people don't know their "secret names." That is, the identity they embody at their core. Strip the Given Names: SLOB, SELFISH, DECEIVER, etc. He explains his own journey from a self-injuring, stutterer who was floundering in Bible School to a well-defined man who had, though trial after trial, discovered his own Secret Name. I won't tell you what his is; you'll have to read the book.
I realized, however, that he got to know his Secret Name through difficulty and suffering. Is that what it takes?
These hands of mine want to give, to touch, to love. They are red, cracked, stretched skin thin from the dry air and cold. It hurts to type, but I am doing it anyway. It hurts to hold a pen, but I write, nonetheless.
Is that life's story? Life's history? Persevering and, through graceful strife, come to the bounty that is rightfully ours? Do we not deserve it if we have had a happy, less trialsome life? Has anyone had such a life?
These questions haunt me. In the days before I knew Christ (before last November - and that was many years) I suffered almost daily. I had beautiful things in my life, so many blessings, but my vision was tinted and tainted by depression. I tried to fill the void, the darkness, with things I thought would keep me company.
I had no idea what company was until I prayed with Husband that November day, praying to God to help our lives that had suddenly turned downstream.
Never had I known a friend, never had I known a suitor, never had I known a companion as when I found the Lord.
I think about suffering a lot, even these days when I no longer suffer all the time. Jesus suffered for us. So we don't have to? Not necessarily. I don't think we have to suffer, but I think the way our paths are lined out, we must go through suffering to get to the other side where you meet your very best self. A self of survival. A self that trusts in Him.
Writing those words (I first typed 'worlds'), this song comes to mind. Read the lyrics, then listen to the song, if you like.
I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain
I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray
Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Bring the Rain by Mercy Me
Yes, Lord, You are greater than my pain. I am now realizing that for the first time. You are greater than the scars on my soul, greater than the hurt on my heart. You were there during all of it.
I am reminded of another blog post about rain and suffering. I noted that the Lord does not cause the rain, but He walks with you through it.
And I believe that.
Yet I have one question. It's a question that Husband and I have been pondering for a week or so now. If God is all-powerful and can choose to take away strife or give strife, why do people even suffer at all? Well, it is through free will choices that we suffer. But why do we continue to do so? Can't God put a stop to it? I am sincerely curious and confused about this.
Perhaps you can help me with a comment.