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The other day, I got into a discussion about whether or not Jesus would have been pro-choice. Yes, really.
The conversation quickly turned into a discussion about suffering. I totally get that the existence of suffering is a huge hindrance for the faithful. I know that it can often be the breaking point for people who have doubts. I know for some people, it is the reason they stopped believing in God. But I still think that what the Christian Church teaches us about suffering is still a much better answer than what secular society says.
The way I look at it, there are two ways you can look at suffering.
- Christian: There is a purpose for suffering. Even if it is unknown, we can hold onto the hope that it is part of God’s plan and will play a role in leading us (or others) to eternal happiness with Him in heaven.
- Secular: Suffering is meaningless. We suffer in life, and then we die.
In addition to the first option being the truth, it is also a much more comforting thought.
What was so interesting to me about this conversation was the persistence of the others in convincing me to accept the latter explanation for suffering. They were so determined to take away my hope and accept this extremely depressing outlook.
Why would you want to do that to another person? What benefit is there to making me view my chronic illnesses or my depression or my other struggles as pointless realities that will plague me for the rest of my life?
Why not let me live in hope? Why not let me believe that someday, all this junk will make sense? Why not let me trust that someday, I will have a body that works perfectly? Why not let me grip to that idea that I will be free someday from the mental illness that has claws dug into my subconscious?
I think the answer is because our hope frightens people. This inexplicable joy can be intimidating to them. And when they can’t find its source or when they can’t accept the admittedly challenging reality of it themselves, they want to snuff it out in others.
I am not claiming to be the prime example (or even a decent example) of a joyful Christian. One of my most frequently confessed sins is some manifestation of succumbing to despair. I cry a lot. My frustration is very obvious on my face. But it isn’t about me, anyway. It is about allowing Christ, in all His goodness, to work through me. All I have to do is be a willing tool.It is about allowing Christ, in all His goodness, to work through me. Click To Tweet
Please God, shine your light through me. Heal my weak heart, mend my soul, qualm my doubts, and allow me to proclaim your goodness through my life.
Hope photo by Ron Smith
Jar string photo by Gabriele Ribeiro, edited by me