Weakness and suffering are a reality of life, so how does faith survive suffering?
I attended two funerals this week. At one funeral, a son who watched his father suffer with cancer remarked, “These are the days when we find out whether our faith is real. Do we really believe those things? Or do we despair and give up?”
Life here can be so difficult.
This past year, I have watched my son live with physical weakness as he recovers from two mono viruses and their complications. It isn’t easy for a seventeen-year-old boy to sit the bench on his varsity basketball team or to struggle with six weeks of missed work and maintain top grades.
For the past two months, A friend has been sharing his grief openly after the loss of his wife. Not only has he suffered that loss, but he had already endured the loss of his business through a fire and the loss of his daughter a few years ago. But, he is still thankful.
Over the past two years, a dear friend has been rebuilding her life after the betrayal of her husband of 35 years. Despite the pain, she is living a real faith that gets up and goes to work every day, free of bitterness.
There are others. God knows your names.
Living daily with suffering is like walking a tight rope or standing on the edge of a cliff. The desire to jump into the self pity and let the pain engulf hope is strong. But a Savior who holds out His hand and invites us to stay by His side says, “I understand. I suffered too.”
Maybe, suffering is important for faith to gain a more intimate awareness of His Divine Presence. Maybe, suffering is important for faith to understand that we are held by Love and nothing else. So, faith is not extinguished by suffering; in weakness it burns stronger, brighter.
Peter, one of the first followers of Jesus, promises those who suffer:
“You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does” (1 Peter 5:10 MSG).