On Suffering

Greetings in Christ,



    ‘Out of the depths I cry to thee, O LORD!’ Psalm 130.1


    I have been thinking about suffering of late. We all hope for and seek a life that is full and complete. I know of no one who looks for loss, pain and sorrow. Yet suffering comes to nearly everyone in some form or another.


    Some experience the loss of health and face the prospect of a disease becoming the main focus of their days. Many must contend with chronic pain that is unrelenting which erases any joy that might come. An illness is for many the event that leads them to death itself and progresses toward that end without faltering.


    Other experience emotional suffering which is far more common than folk would realise. For far too long emotional and mental suffering was something no one talked about. It was regarded as a moral failing, personal weakness and something of which one should be ashamed. Thankfully, we now regard emotional and mental struggles for what they are, an illness that is no different than any other physical ailment. Still, people often carry this burden in silence for fear no one will understand.


    There is suffering that come when the rains won’t quit or the darken skies drop tornadoes on Iowa fields, towns and cities. The response to this suffering is often immediate and generous. However, as time passes the focus goes elsewhere and those impacted by these events are left to struggle through the long recovery.


    We live in a time when we learn instantaneously of disasters, violence and other tragedies often as they are happening. We often need to turn away, not because we do not care, but because we can bear it no longer.


    In all of these things and more the believer’s faith and confidence in God is tried and pushed to the limits. It is not unusual that our human strength fails us and we are overwhelmed by doubt. It is at this point we cry out to God from those depths that we all have know or may still know. We cry out, pleading with God to hears us.


    At those moments may the spark of faith within us hold tight to the promise Jesus made on the Mount of the Ascension, ‘Lo, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’