Contemplating Loss and Suffering
My eyes scanned the Scripture card that is set neatly into a miniature lighthouse figurine located on a ledge under the medicine cabinet in my bathroom between a small bottle of Tide and a generic version of VapoRub.
I read the card again.
“Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV).
A relative was expected to receive a diagnosis that day. The kind of news that can change everything.
I nodded, knowing Jesus was indeed with us, no matter what.
The diagnosis didn’t turn out to be great news, but it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.
That was months ago. I haven’t flipped the Scripture card since. Instead, I’ve chosen to keep Matthew 28:20 prominent so I can see it every morning as I’m getting ready.
I believe Jesus. He is with his church. He is with me.
A year ago, I experienced several losses. I can’t write about them yet, but the time is coming.
Last week, my family lost another relative.
I’m reminded of what John Eldredge says in his book All Things New. He says life is one long series of goodbyes. I can’t remember all the examples he cited, but the sentiment is self-explanatory. Everything is temporary — except Christ.
Yesterday morning, I was reading from 3-Minute Devotions with Charles Spurgeon. He made this comment: “Fellowship with Christ is so honorable a thing that is worthwhile to suffer, that we may thereby enjoy it [the fellowship].”
There’s the reminder again. Jesus is present. And fellowship with him is so honorable that it is worthwhile to suffer. It’s not that we can’t fellowship with Jesus without suffering but suffering takes us deeper — transforms us somehow.
Over the last year, I’ve been contemplating loss and suffering, especially in light of my relationship with Christ. I have no expectation that he’ll rescue me from heartache or hardship. In fact, if he rescued me, I might very well miss a closeness to him that can only come from being sustained while in the fire.
Spurgeon says it better: “I should never have know the Savior’s love half as much if I had not been in the storms of affliction.”
I don’t know what sort of storms you are enduring right now, but if you are a Christian, take heart. Jesus is with you. If you are not a Christian but would like to know how to become one, send me an email. I’d love to talk to you.
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