What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Really?
Seems like suffering just hangs around these days, doesn’t it? We’re living in wild times. Angry people, tired people, scared people and all the people really just trying their best to do their best.
Aren’t we all really just trying our best? Trying to navigate this pandemic life as best we can with all its changes and fears and decisions. We’re walking through a collective trauma and we’re still carrying around the same wounds we were holding before this all started. How does more pain, more struggle, more suffering make us…stronger? And who really wants that anyway? Did it ever do anyone a heap of good?
And where is a good God in it all?
Trauma and stress and grief can wreak havoc on our bodies and our faith. Pain lifts the veil on our own brokenness- the veil that’s been hiding it away, even from us. It reveals a fragility that can make us uncomfortable because who wants to be vulnerable? To feel less-than-able to be strong? Struggle on top of suffering and haven’t we all stood alone and wondered-
How can a good God stand idly by?
Suffering doesn’t strengthen us. It doesn’t make a heart tough- it makes it tender. Tender to the touch, tender like a man with a pierced side. Paul wrote a prayer for us long ago, for times just like these.
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know that this love surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3: 14-19)
That’s all well and good, God, but what about the pain?
What about the pain? The pain in our inner beings, the tender place…what if that’s exactly the place that Christ dwells? What if pain doesn’t just make us tender, what if it also makes us full? The place that’s the most vulnerable and the most uncomfortable- what if pain doesn’t make us less-than-able, but better able to feel the fullness of love?
Is a good God as good as His word?
A good God who doesn’t stand idly by, but a God who embraces suffering Himself- not so we wouldn’t have to, but so that we wouldn’t have to alone. A good God who let this broken world break Him so our broken hearts could be full in the knowledge of His love. Filled up to the measure in the strength of his love.
He is a good God and His mercy endures forever, to the ages of ages.