As beautiful as life can be, there truly is suffering in life. Sometimes the suffering is so intense that we can become overcome & literally immobilized with despair, feeling helpless & hopeless about ever being able to do anything to heal or correct whatever issue may be causing the sadness & pain. Regardless of what the form of suffering is when we experience it in our life there can be no healing if our spirits are wounded & if we become consciously or unconsciously disconnected from God. We need God in order to survive & to heal from the suffering that comes upon us in life.
Psalm 121:1-2, Psalm 46:1-7, Psalm 61:1-5, Matthew 11: 28-30 & Proverbs 3: 5-6
Life is a complicated gift don’t you think? We are blessed in so many ways, surrounded by the beauty & goodness of all creation given to us by our gracious creator & yet, there are times in life when we are faced with unexpected challenges that are outside of our control & that unbalances us, turning our lives upside down to the point of despair. I don’t think it can be denied that both beauty & suffering are part of everyone’s life to one degree or another. Some days are so full of beauty where we are blessed to live with healthy, physically strong pain-free bodies, clear minds & peaceful, grateful & even joyful spirits. And then, on other days, our lives are challenged by suffering in our bodies, minds & spirits. Just as beauty is experienced in a variety of ways & forms, so is suffering in terms of: illness & brokenness of our bodies, confusion, grief, loneliness, anger, stress, anxiety & fear in our minds, & loss of hope, wavering faith, doubt that fills our hearts, temptations & unsettledness in our spirits.
When all three; body, mind & spirit are in harmony with one another & if we have any faith in God our creator at all, though it is humbling to think we might be worthy, when we pause & reflect on the mercies of God, it is relatively easy to believe & trust God’s promise to always walk with us, guide us & love us unconditionally & then to gratefully rejoice in the healing goodness of God as we live into the beauty of the symphony of the Holy. However, when suffering comes to us, it is often so distracting that it is easy to forget the many mercies of God that have been bestowed upon us & to sink into a spirit of hopeless despair. Hopeless, seemingly helpless despair is particularly present when multiple forms of suffering occur at the same time. At those times when we are journeying through seasons of suffering, be it of our body or mind, I think if our spirits are not fed in some way, we can lose hope & our faith can waver, blocking & unbalancing any healing. When our spirits get muted by the noise of the pain & suffering of this earthly life, it is difficult to feel gratitude let alone to rejoice & hope.
As beautiful as life can be, there truly is suffering in life. Sometimes the suffering is so intense that we can become overcome & literally immobilized with despair, feeling helpless & hopeless about ever being able to do anything to heal or correct whatever issue may be causing the sadness & pain. Regardless of what the form of suffering is when we experience it in our life there can be no healing if our spirits are wounded & if we become consciously or unconsciously disconnected from God. We need God in order to survive & to heal from the suffering that comes upon us in life. The Bible tells us that throughout all the days of our life, we live in a covenant relationship with God that is built on God’s love & promises & on our faith & participation in the receiving of His gift. Jesus said in the Gospel of John: “I am the vine & you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing.”. The Apostle Paul in chapter 8:37 in the book of Romans said: "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Neither death, nor life, not angels, not rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. These are the words of God. His steadfast promise to us. They are words we can trust & live by. God alone is our refuge & our strength in both the beauty & in the suffering of life. We can try to manage the suffering that comes our way & sometimes we are able to manage the symptoms of pain we experience. However, without God, the full healing of our body, mind & spirit is not possible.
Some issues are so intense that they weave all the pain of our body, mind & spirit into one big painful web that entangles us in such a way that without even realizing it, we become so distracted & overwhelmed trying as we will to unsuccessfully fix or heal everything on our own that is causing us to suffer, that we often even give up & sometimes even forget about God & set our faith aside. At times like that, it feels like we will always feel this level of suffering & hope for healing slips away. I would guess that we all have felt that way from time to time in our lives at least for a moment or two. I certainly have felt that way & as a person of faith I know in my heart & soul that there is only one way to move through suffering into wholeness & healing even in the very worst of times. As stated in the book of Proverbs 3:5-6: in relationship & connection with God our Creator we will be healed when we “Trust in the Lord with all our heart & do not rely only on our own insight. In all our ways we are called & invited to acknowledge Him, & He will make straight our path.
~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy
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