The End of Suffering

Sorry for going off-grid.  I normally write my posts on the weekends, but the majority of this weekend was spent "on the go."  I figure that now is a good time for a couple of guest posts.  This one is by Alex F.  Though he sent this to me awhile back, as I re-read it, I feel ministered-to all over again.  The Truth of Scripture truly is timeless and applicable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in all righteousness.  Praise be to God!

Have you noticed how difficult it is to see the end of a struggle when you are in the midst of it?  It seems like once you hit the floor, just lifting your head is unbearable.  Okay, maybe that is a bit too melodramatic and poetic, but it’s true!  When you are in the thick of things, one of the greatest problems is not seeing how it could ever end.  There are about a million sermon illustrations for this idea.   One memorable illustration is of the swimmer embarking on an epic swim across the English Channel who gave up when the fog rolled in and obscured the opposite  shore.  They no longer could see the goal, no longer could see how close they were to the end, and they gave up. It wasn’t until it was all over that they saw just how very close they were to the end.  They would have finished if only they had persevered.  See, a good lesson for all of us, if only knowing there is a problem equated solving that problem.

This all comes to mind because I decided to take a moment out of my day (just a moment, mind you) to take stock of how my week has gone so far.  It was a tiring and stressful week mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.  Finally it was over and pretty much the culmination of all that and a return to normalcy, or as normal as I can get, anyway.  And I thought, how did you get here, Alex?  I thought back to the beginning of the week and how utterly exhausting it was.  Only by prayer, perseverance, and the grace of God, I made it through.  And although my circumstances really didn’t change throughout the week, no other subsequent day was as difficult as that first. 

However, I distinctly remember thinking on that first day, “I can barely make it through today, I will never last like this.  It is unbearable and it will not end.”  There was no reason I thought this trial should or would ever end.  I prayed that it would, but I hardly believed God would answer my prayers.  But, in the moment, it was enough just to know that He heard them.  Now, looking back, He clearly did answer my prayers because after that first day I wasn’t faced with the thoughts, accusations, and feelings that had discouraged me so.  And in God’s wisdom and grace those trials did not leave me empty handed.

 Now, looking back, the word I hear from God is that our suffering lasts but a little while.  Though we cannot always see it, there is an end.  And it is more than just an end, but is the hope for a new beginning in the fullness of life in the hope of Christ Jesus.  So persevere!  Draw on the strength of the Spirit and put one foot in front of the other.  The goal is at hand!

I could have used that encouragement earlier this week, to correct my hopelessness.  God does meet us in our suffering, and this is the joyous Truth that got me through my struggle More importantly, though, He is our deliverer.  He is mighty to save us from our struggles and sins, trials and temptations.  He is faithful and true to deliver us to Himself.  Though the trial may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.  And no matter how long the night lasts, a day, a year, a “season” or even the rest of your life: God is mighty to save.  He will lead His children home and He will wipe away every tear and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!