Monday, May 15, 2006

Suffering With Those Who Suffer

In his book "The Hungering Dark" Frederick Buechner wrote: "When someone we love suffers, we suffer with that person, and we would not have it otherwise, because the suffering and the love are one, just as it is with God's love for us."

What I believe Buechner is getting at here is the point that part of being a Christian, encompassed in the love of God, is loving others and experiencing life with them fully- both the highs and the lows. When this is lived out within the Church it is a truly beautiful thing.

Seeing this love that suffers with those who suffer is truly an amazing experience and whenever I have privilege of seeing it, I can't help but ask myself how often do I give myself to this type of love even during the hard times of my life? Because even when we are suffering ourselves, it doesn't mean that God no longer expects us to love others in the same way. Suffering doesn't give us a "get out of love free" card that we can hang onto until things get better. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Really, there is no better time when we can truly love than when we are experiencing suffering ourselves.

One of the main reasons being because we can truly understand what the other person is going through. Even though it's not one of the best things to have in common in our minds, it's that common ground that builds a relationship and allows love, God's love, to flow forth.

Maybe that's the reason why many of those who run pregnancy crisis centers have had a crisis pregnancy themselves, or why often those who work with the homeless were first once homeless themselves. I'm not saying this is always the case, but often it is. God uses our life experiences to allow us to love others who are in the same place that we once were or even currently are.

In the end though, the question all comes down to: are we going to allow ourselves to be used of God in this way? It isn't easy to come alongside of someone who is hurting, but it is necessary! God wants to use His people to accomplish His work here in His world. And if we don't do it, He will find someone else who's willing and then we've missed out of being a part of something truly beautiful.

1 comment:

A Bondservant of The Lord said...

I fully agree with that as a guy who's been through suffering it allows me to help others as Paul puts it

12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,
13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ;
14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
15 Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill:
16 The former[b] preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains;
17 but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel.
18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

Hence my nick name Bondservant