Suffering

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Suffering | There are times in all our lives when we go through trials: illness, rejection, abuse, death of a loved one, or loss of a dream, just to name a few. When such things happen, it can be difficult to stay rooted in the truth of God’s connection to us | #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #TipsforConnection #OpennesswithGod #KnowingGod #ValuingGod #SufferingSuffering

There are times in all our lives when we go through trials: illness, rejection, abuse, death of a loved one, or loss of a dream, just to name a few. When such things happen, it can be difficult to stay rooted in the truth of God’s connection to us. Even if we’ve had mountaintop experiences of God’s love, sufferings such as these can cause us to feel isolated, disconnected, or abandoned, even from our all-loving creator.

Let’s take a look at the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the archangel Gabriel appeared to her. He greeted her as “favored one” (Luke 1:28). He went on to promise that the son she would conceive would rule with greatness over an everlasting kingdom. Yet, she is the Mother of Sorrows. She went on to be told, by Simeon, that a sword of sorrow would pierce her heart. She had to flee to Egypt to protect her newborn baby, watched him be contradicted continually throughout his life, deserted by his closest friends, mocked and mercilessly tortured, and subjected to a shameful death without seeing the fulfillment of those promises. It was not because God didn’t see who she was or value her. Remember, she is highly favored. We see the greatest example in Jesus himself, whom the Father called his beloved Son, and yet the cup of abuse and death was not taken away from him.

These cases show us that God has a much bigger big picture than ours. He is outside of time and sees all eternity. When suffering comes, it is not a result of not being loved and valued by the Lord. He will work all things to our good, even if it does not happen in this life. We’re used to watching sports or playing games – whoever has the most points at the end is victorious. In this life, we don’t see the scoreboard. Only after death will we know fully how God, who will not be outdone in generosity, will repay all we have to endure.

When Jesus was betrayed, Peter was so terrified of physical suffering he three times denied knowing him. Even so, only days after the Lord’s resurrection the Acts of the Apostles presents us with a bold and courageous Peter proclaiming the truth regardless of threat and persecution. He even rejoiced when he was physically abused for the sake of preaching about Jesus. Peter finally learned through the Lord’s resurrection what Jesus had told him all along; His kingdom is not of this world. When we remember the same fact, we are able to keep our view on eternity rather than seeking our reward in this life.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. Recall a time of suffering or trial in your life. Did you question God’s love, value, or protection of you? Why or why not?
  2. What, if anything, have you found helpful to remind yourself of God’s love and to connect to him during painful times?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we know you suffered and left us an example of faith in our Father’s love. Please grant us the grace to follow you. Remind us of the Father’s constant love for us, even in the most difficult times. In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Action Step

Consider what it is you are most caused to doubt about God during times of suffering. Write a letter to yourself reminding yourself of God’s love that you can read when difficulties come your way.

Journaling/Further Reflection

Consider your answer from number two in the discussion questions. Ask the Lord what he wants you to know about that and note what he brings to mind.

Scriptures for Meditation

Sirach 2

Wisdom 3:1-9

Luke 2:34-35

Romans 11:33-36

Hebrews 4:14-16

Even amid your sufferings, may the Lord give you peace!

Margaret

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