Jane’s Blog – When Things Don’t Make Sense: Suffering

There’s a song on an album by the group Casting Crowns titled “Just Be Held.”  One line in the song – “But life hits you out of nowhere, And barely leaves you holding on” – struck me as I was thinking about our current message series. It became even more poignant as I was praying for some people in our church who have found themselves in deep, troubled waters.

“So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away, You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held,” the song goes. Hearing those powerful words reminded me of Pastor Sean’s message points when suffering comes to us: 1) Keep perspective; 2) Distribute the weight; 3) Don’t lose hope. The Holy Spirit seemed to stop me with that second point from Galatians 6:2 – “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” That law, of course, is love.

The song is written from Jesus’ perspective with reassuring words like, “I’m on the throne” and “In the storm is where you’ll find me.” But in the storm, I know from first-hand experience, is also where you’ll find the tremendous love and mercy that God has infused into people in the body of Christ. There will never be a more powerful witness of God’s love than when your friends hold you, pray for you, feed you, visit you, do the work you were responsible for doing, send you cards and gifts, and do it all with joy and thankfulness for the opportunity.

We are a marked people, we Christians. We wear love like others wear tattoos. It is the force that changed the world, and continues to change it. No one can refute its power. “God is love,” the Apostle John says (1 John 4:16). And it’s in our living in him that we see love worked out each day. Living in him sparks the motivation to love and serve each other.

Suffering will come. For the atheist it fuels disbelief, bitterness and angry denial that God exists. But for us who have put our trust in God’s goodness, suffering draws us closer to the one who suffered for us, died and rose again. “When your eyes are on the storm, You’ll wonder if I love you still; But when your eyes are on the cross, You’ll know I always have and I always will.”

May we fix our eyes on the cross, dear ones, pray without ceasing, and carry each other’s burdens with joy beyond measure!

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