Life Lesson: Suffering is Normal


“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33

Thursday morning was hectic. I was at church by 8 a.m. to get ready for Bible Study with my precious mom’s group. I got the call at 8:45 a.m. Reports were in. My husband needed surgery.

A wave of sadness swept over me. My class was starting. The girls were coming in. My heart was aching. How could my husband deal with yet another surgery? How could I deal with it?

I made several frantic calls to doctors and welcomed my moms. They noticed when I swept a few tears out of my eye, so I had to let them know what was going on.

We’ve been walking through my husband’s cancer together…praying through it, e-mailing through it, blogging through it, really.

They offered to cancel class, but somehow I knew — I knew this was where I needed to be. I call my mom’s Bible Study “sitting at the feet of Jesus.” I take off a morning from work to be there. I’m NEVER disappointed for taking the time.

–Why go back to work to face scheduling and calamity? I needed to sit at the feet of Jesus for an hour or so. The girls and I tucked children in the nursery and set about the day’s lesson.

“Five Smooth Stones for Parenting” was our topic. Hmm… What could my aching heart learn from the pastor’s video? A Bible verse flashed onto the TV screen.

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.
~ 1 Peter 2:21-23

Smooth Stone Number One: Help your child grow through suffering.

I gulped my coffee. I did not believe it. God knew what I needed. I was spellbound as the pastor explained the life message:

Suffering is normal. We need to ask: How can God help us work this suffering to glorify him? WOW! God — you are giving me a new perspective. The moms and I were taking notes.

A Theology of Suffering:

–Life is hard, but God is good.
–Life is unjust, but God is just
–Genesis 37-50 tells the story of Joseph and his suffering – Check out how he glorified God.
–The New Testament gives us the words of Jesus:

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But Take heart! I have overcome the world. — John 16:33

We all sat in the room spellbound… sniffling. The lesson was clear: our connection with Christ is intimate and vibrant. God, in essence, knows what we need. He gave us the right lesson that morning.

Truth be told, every woman in that room carried her own silent suffering. We needed to hear: God can use this ugly stuff…to His glory. Our children need to hear this, also.

Thank you, Jesus. I sat at your feet at my Mom’s Bible Study and was richly rewarded.The surgery is over and healing is coming. God gets us through. Suffering is a part of life. God helps us find meaning, focus and ministry through the misery we may experience.

Life lesson learned. I am so very very grateful.

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