Monday, March 3, 2008

Transforming Suffering

In earlier posts I wrote about suffering. Below is an excellent article on the subject from a daily devotional I read, which puts suffering into perspective. The writer has since gone on to glory, but his devotions are still being published. In this article, he tells of his personal tragedies and how he dealt with them. He writes:

Yesterday we said that even though we try to avoid suffer­ing, nevertheless it has the power to transform us. And it is often in those moments of suffering that we learn most about ourselves and our faithful God.
The first half of my Christian life was comparatively free from suffering. Then my wife was struck with cancer. I re­member sitting by her hospital bed before she underwent major surgery and reading this:
“Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and existence of free wills involve, and you will find that you have excluded life itself. However, perceiving a suffering world, we can be assured on different grounds that God is good”
I sat and cried as I read these words. “How could anything this bad produce good?” I wondered. After several years [my wife] died. Three weeks later my father also died. Some years later; I myself was diagnosed with cancer and “[adult] onset diabetes.” And then, within the space of just ten months, I lost my two sons — my only children.
Yet, as a result of all the emotional and physical suffering I have experienced, I have gained a deeper compassion for those in need, and… am being brought closer to perfection and the fulfillment of God’s plans for my life.
What has that done to me? It has transformed my life, deep­ened my message, given me a sensitivity to others, and a new note in my ministry. I am a wounded healer. From experi­ence I can say that though I have hated the pain, the rewards of suffering are of infinite value.

(From “A Wounded Healer” by Selwyn Hughes, Every Day with Jesus daily devotional magazine, January 19, 2008, © 2007 CWR, Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom. All rights reserved.)

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