“They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?”
~ Dr. Martin Luther
I have shared in previous posts that my real struggle with the issue of suffering didn't come from purely personal suffering, but from experiencing the sufferings of my children. My first head-to-head battle in this area came when Ammah Grace was still in NICU, and I struggled with the tiny scars that evidenced the traumas she had been through in her short life. God taught me much through that time...and then graduated us from Suffering 101 to Suffering 102 with the illness and death of my dad. Not only was my grief more intense than I had ever experienced before, but my children were experiencing real grief for the first time...which was a heart-wrenching thing for this mama. We were still reeling from that, when we were hit with another extended family crisis...a crisis far beyond what I ever imagined experiencing. Again...the personal hurt was and is huge, but it has been nothing compared to watching the intensity of my children's pain.
Up until this point, my struggles with "why?" had been very limited. There were moments of confusion, but never any real doubt. God was good, He had a purpose, and eventually joy would come in the morning. This time, however, was different.
"WHY is God allowing my children to go through this? WHY are they having to be exposed to this kind of pain? Have they not gone through ENOUGH suffering in their young lives? God COULD have prevented this. HOW in the world can I explain to my children that God is good, God is loving, and God is All-Powerful when He allowed this to happen?"
But just as God lovingly showed Thomas the Doubter the wounds in His hands and His side, so He has patiently walked me through ever deeper paths in the school of suffering...and He continues to walk me through them. The very concept of today's quote...the suffering that Jesus went through before us...has been what I have clung to during the painful learning experiences. Not only has He gently reminded me of the suffering of Jesus during His time on earth...but He has also reminded me that as a Father, God knows what it is to watch His child suffer. And He has reminded me that unlike us as earthy parents, He had a choice. He could have stopped that suffering instantly...and the reason He chose not to was His love for us. The same love that allows us to go through suffering, so that we will be more like Him. The same love that allows our children to go through suffering, for the same reason. The same love that will carry us...and them...through those times of suffering, if we will allow Him to, and if we will teach them that same lesson.
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." I Peter 4:12-13
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." 1 Peter 2:21For more thoughts on this quote, visit Iris at Sting My Heart for today's In "Other" Words.