“Suffering stops us in our tracks, makes us re-examine our sense of control, drives us into community (if we allow it) and transforms us in its crucible. And then there is this mystery: we are somehow allowed to enter the holiest of places and share in the sufferings of Jesus, destroying evil by our presence in the midst of loss.
And some things are simply too precious to reduce to words.”
Wm. Paul Young “The Beauty of Suffering” Wmpaulyoung.com
I love that Young acknowledges the wonder and mystery of suffering. Of course, God is so grand and so powerful that we cannot comprehend fully how the lives that seemingly “happen to us” are all intertwined.
And why do these life events bring us sorrow? Young writes above, “Suffering stops us in our tracks, makes us re-examine our sense of control.” If the suffering we experience in this life is the darkness that reveals the light, the hardship that molds our faith, our journey to something better, than we simply can not see what is on the other side.
2 Corinthians 4:17
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
One of my favorite musicians is Josh Garrels. His music touches on the beauty and the pain that is life so wonderfully. In his song Beyond the Blue he writes;
Stand on the shores of a sight unseen
The substance of it dwells in me
Cause my natural eyes only go skin deep
But the eyes of my heart anchor the sea
Plumbing the depths to the place in between
The tangible world and the land of a dream
Because everything here ain't quite what it seems
There's more beneath the appearance of things
A beggar could be king within the shadows of a wing
There is so much in those lyrics. We can’t see it all, but we can feel far more, and “the substance dwells in me”. While our worldly experiences may appear one way through our human eyes, and they may be painful and confusing, our “heart(s) anchor the sea”, or our faith and our God can keep us connected to the bigger picture, without even seeing it. This wonder and mystery intrigue me.
Yeah wisdom will honor everyone who will learn
To listen to love and to pray and discern
And to do the right thing even when it burns
And to live in the light through each treacherous turn
A man is weak but the spirit yearns
To keep to the course from the bow to the stern
And to throw overboard every selfish concern
That tries to work for what can't be earned
Part of our faith is having trust in this relationship with God. God’s love is so that He sent Jesus to suffer for us and the Holy Spirit to live in us; to be “the light through each treacherous turn”. And our trust is that by keeping on the right path, keeping our hearts connected to our Lord, we can be “transform(ed)” through the “crucible” of suffering, as Wm Paul Young points out.
Sometimes the only way to return is to go
Where the winds will take you
And to let go of all you cannot hold onto
For the hope beyond the blue
The beauty in suffering is that we don’t know, because our God is so much more powerful and fully in control. The beauty in suffering is that we don’t need to understand because if we “anchor our hearts” to the Lord, He will guide us. The beauty in suffering is that there is mystery, but in that unknowing, simply stay connected to God.
“we are somehow allowed to enter the holiest of places and share in the sufferings of Jesus, destroying evil by our presence in the midst of loss.”
Wm. Paul Young
The beauty in suffering is our relationship with the Lord and our part in bringing light to darkness, by welcoming God’s presence through a trusting relationship full of grace and a powerful faith; that connection that was bought through Christ’s suffering for us.
I sing yellow and gold as the new day dawn
Like a virgin unveiled who waited so long
To dance and rejoice and to sing her song
And rest in the arms of a love so strong
No one comes unless they're drawn
By the voice of desire that leads em' along
To the redemption of what went wrong
By the blood that covered the innocent one
No more separation between us
So lift your voice just one more time
If there's any hope may it be a sign
That everything was made to shine
Despite what you can see
So take this bread and drink this wine
And hide your spirit in the vine
Where all things work by good design
For those who will believe
And let go of all we cannot hold onto
For the hope beyond the blue
Said I'll let go of all I could not hold onto
For the hope I have in you
About the Author
Leona is a wife, mother and traveler who is intrigued by how different people live. Her latest project is exploring ways that different walks of life can simplify, in order to live a fulfilling journey.