NOTE: This is a reblog. I wrote this over a year ago, but I love it and I wanted to share gain. Keep an eye out for part 2 coming soon.
None of us are strangers to suffering. Some know it like only a distant cousin; others feel as though suffering has become as close as a friend.
Let’s be real. Suffering sucks. Even the word sounds unbearable. You can practically hear the pain in the connotation of the word suffering. I’ve been thinking about the idea of suffering lately and what it looks like both short and long-term. What does our suffering look like from the outside? How do others view us that are suffering?…and how do we who suffer view those who aren’t?
Think about the idea of light. When you walk in a room, you flip the light switch on. Why? Well, because you don’t want to try to find your way around a dark room of course. That’s just silly. But if we didn’t have light switches, would we know for sure the rooms were dark? And if the rooms were lit all the time…would we appreciate the light, or is it the possibility of darkness that makes us appreciate the light?
You see, if we didn’t suffer, we wouldn’t be happier. In theory we would be happier, but in reality, we wouldn’t appreciate that happiness and really feel the depth of it if there were no suffering to fear.
I think there are two types of suffering: suffering that is shared with other people, and suffering that is done alone. Which is worse? In my opinion, the kind of suffering done in solitude or in secret is much worse.
“There is a loneliness that can be rocked (aka comforted)….Then there is a loneliness that roams. No rocking can hold it down. It is alive, on its own. A dry and spreading thing that makes the sound of one’s own feet going seem to come from a far-off place.” -Toni Morrison
I love this quote because there is so much truth to it. Loneliness is a type of suffering that too many of us know well. I know that I’ve experienced a lot of unexplained loneliness, even when I’m physically with my closest friends and family. It hurts deeply. And some of it can be rocked; some can be soothed and comforted. But there is some suffering (and loneliness) that cannot. Some things bring pain that changes your very soul and you seem to become a stranger to life itself, and everyone around you. Not much light there.
I’ve had some lyrics in my head lately. I love music, so this is the case most of the time. My good friend burned me a mix CD and as I was getting ready the other day I was listening to it, and I heard a line that literally stopped me in my tracks. It said, “You don’t know how it feels to be alive until you know how it feels to die.” Wow. All I could think was Yes! That is so true. And while this may sound depressing, I think there is a huge wave of relief in that line for those that are suffering. Deep pain and suffering essentially makes us feel as though one part or many parts of us are dying. But like the lyric says, how can we know what it feels like to be truly alive if we’ve never experienced the opposite. I find comfort knowing I’ve died. Because I do know what its like to be alive, and I can appreciate it wholly.
Take heart, those of you who feel your hearts callousing over from all the suffering you’ve experienced. Because you know what it feels to be alive. And that means you know the beauty in life. Rescue is coming. It’s also coming in my next blog entry :).
I want to end with a few thoughts from one of my favorite authors, Beth Moore. These words come from her book Breaking Free:
“Often when we’re oppressed, instead of cooperating with God and going to a place of freedom, we hide in shelters. Sometimes we just go into isolation…Anything that treats the symptoms instead of going to the source is a shelter.
We can be saved, the Holy Spirit can dwell in us, and yet we can continually live in defeat because the enemy can outwit us if we do not depend on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
God did not allow His people to be so oppressed so that they would be defeated but so that they would ultimately be victorious. God will sometimes allow thigns to get bad enough that we will be forced to look up. Victory always begins with a cry for help. When we come to the end of ourselves and cry out for help, amazing things happen.”
What a comfort. Friends, those I love, lets cry out for help and let some amazing things happen.
Peace and much love.
P.S. if you need a song to get you pumped for the next part of this very got series, check out “Rescue is Coming” by David Crowder Band