The life journey of the one who truly desires to follow Christ is one that is commonly characterised by trials and suffering. We grapple with various complications such as broken dreams, broken relationships, broken sexuality, and a host of other forms of brokenness in our lives. These experiences potentially affect the way we understand God. The important thing, in the face of these trials, is to remember the most excruciating suffering that Christ Himself had to endure in life (Jn 18.1-19.42). So painful and gory was his torment that “his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Is 52.14). Our God suffered.
Similarly, our lives will never be free from trials and suffering. But we can cling to this counsel: “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (Ps 31.24)”. Augustine of Hippo once offered this prayer in resolving to embrace the trials of life: “Is not the life of man upon earth a trial? You command us to endure them, not to love them. No person loves what he endures, though he may love the act of enduring.”
Reflection: During times of trials and suffering, what can you do to ensure that your experience does not lead to utter despair, but rather, hope in the Lord?
(meditations by Sherman)