There’s a divine mystery to suffering that we must discover on our own… a mystery that enables us to both endure and smile at it. It feels odd to include “smile” and “suffering” in the same sentence; it’s counterintuitive that pain and joy might be friends. But I’ve come to know that they can be, and in some remarkable way, God enables you and me, and many others, to sing songs at midnight. A.B. Simpson wrote, “It is then, [through patient suffering] that crucifixion begins to weave itself into a crown.” Beautiful.
May I share some advice? When your “suffering” time comes and you’re under the knife of the Divine Surgeon, lay still while on His operating table. Submit your will to His, and He will do all that needs to be done. Our lives are in His hands, and whatever will be, will be. It took years (and much pain) for me to learn that. Scripture says He has done all things well. (Mark 7:37)
When St. Francis of Assisi turned his back on worldly wealth and power and walked out of his village, he was stripped naked. As he left the city, he saw a leper standing on the edge of the path, and he embraced the man, then turned and continued his journey. Looking back one final time, he saw that the leper was gone. For the rest of his life, he was convinced that the leper was Jesus Christ. Who is to say that he was wrong? He’s there, friend… always. He doesn’t leave you alone in your pain. If anything, He shares your tears.
David wrote, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8). Aren’t you glad He’s there when you’re sad? Aren’t you glad for the bottle and the book? Me too. Such love. Such intimacy. Such tenderness. That’s our God, dear one, and you’re His precious child.