Finding Meaning in Pain

This is a post I wrote back in February but didn’t publish because it’s a hard topic. I didn’t want to rattle off thoughts about suffering while I wasn’t really going through any suffering and come off like a douche. I haven’t gone through any suffering since then to justify publishing the post now, but having let time pass and still agreeing with what I wrote, I feel just comfortable enough to throw it out there. So here it is:

The sermon this week was about how Jesus is not a quick fix for our problems, a genie that we can make wishes on and then get back to life as usual when our needs are met. There was also a good bit about when God seems to fail and bad situations aren’t resolved, broken hearts stay broken etc. and it is hard to explain without seeming trite. I think that giving meaning to suffering is something that has to come through the sufferer – someone on the outside who says “something good can come out of this terrible thing that has happened to you – God will use it for good!” very often make God out to be either very cruel or very heartless for subjecting us to misery “for his purposes.” I didn’t love the illustration our pastor used because it seemed to imply that God holds out on us sometimes so that we can relate to others who suffer.
But there is a nugget of truth somewhere deep in the middle of all the confusion and tension, that God does give meaning to pain. Suffering humbles us, reminding us of our weakness, and often makes us cry out for help. Sometimes it teaches us something, and that helps us find meaning in it. Most often it shapes us, whether we realize it or not, and affects our identity and our outlook on life.
No conclusion yet, just thoughts I’m processing… comments welcome.
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