In the hands of a good God, Suffering is a Gift!

Nov 11, 2022 Suffering, US Blog

๐‘ฐ๐’ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’…๐’” ๐’๐’‡ ๐’‚ ๐’ˆ๐’๐’๐’… ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’…, ๐’”๐’–๐’‡๐’‡๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ ๐’Š๐’” ๐’‚ ๐’ˆ๐’Š๐’‡๐’•.

Colleen Chao is living under the shadow of terminal stage four cancer, and she’s learning how to suffer with hope. It’s stunningly beautiful.

“Hereโ€™s the thing about suffering (at least in my own limited experience): none of us are good at it. None of us have the capacity to suffer well with hope and joy.”

But the secret to slowly growing into a hope-filled, joyful sufferer has been shockingly simple: Go to God. Again and again and again.

I go to Him when Iโ€™m angry at His will for me. I go to Him in the middle of the night when grief threatens to undo me. I go to Him when Iโ€™m weary to the bone, or when Iโ€™m throwing myself an epic pity party.

By ‘going to Him’ I mean I turn my thoughts to Him and tell Him exactly what Iโ€™m feeling, all the nitty-gritty, gory details. I ‘pour out my heart like water in the Lordโ€™s presence’ (Lam. 2:19)โ€”and with the smallest mustard seed of faith, I believe that Heโ€™s listening to me and that He will be able to do something about my suffering (Isa. 64:4).

That rhythmic act of going to Him softens my heart to listen to Him, to hear His voice, to end my self-absorbed monologue and begin a beautiful dialogue with Him.

And hereโ€™s what Iโ€™ve become increasingly convinced of through this process over decades now: I cannot hear from Him or dialogue with Him (and thus cannot suffer well) apart from His Word.

Through the pages of Scripture He speaks exactly what my heart needs to hear. He reveals himself (sometimes in ways I donโ€™t immediately recognize), and those revelations change everythingโ€”my thoughts and desires and perspective and all.

And herein lies one of the most sacred gifts of suffering: the sufferer has a unique capacity to experience God through His Word in ways that cannot be experienced through days of comfort and ease.

I know I sound like a broken record, but Iโ€™ll sing this song to my last day: in the hands of a good God, suffering is a gift.”

Read more of Colleen’s blog post:

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