Only in hurt … that soil of weakness and brokenness, will the lovely rose grow, will My grace bloom.
Suffering is a crucible for our faith because it brings us to the end of ourselves. It takes what we cherish and steals it away. Broken hearts, broken bodies, and broken dreams … this is the soil of suffering. However, despite its appearance as a dismal wasteland, this ground is incredibly fertile for growing our faith.
I struggled to write this post because I know that many of you are suffering in ways I can’t imagine. And if it wasn’t enough to just survive such suffering, now we speak of a need to come out the other end with a stronger faith! The last thing I want is to minimize suffering as merely God’s gift of “an opportunity” for developing our faith. No, God suffers with us in the midst of our grief and though suffering can be a redemptive tool in his hands, his heart still breaks every time we are crushed and every time we are bruised.
So if this is true, why doesn’t this God of infinite love and power stop our suffering and find another way? Once again, we are faced with the mystery of theodicy. Nevertheless, for now, it is enough to say that we don’t have to understand God’s ways to trust his purposes.
Scripture is clear that this side of the grave, suffering plays a vital role in our progress of faith (Philippians 1:29; Philippians 3:10; I Peter 4:13, James 1:2-4). Through suffering we become either receptive or resistant to the grace of God—it all depends on how we respond when difficulties arise.
In this place of empty hands we can discover the provision of God. Yes, in this place of broken hearts, God’s unfathomable love beckons to be known. And in this place of shattered dreams he yearns to awaken the living hope of Christ already planted in our hearts. Truly, there are many important lessons and experiences that can only be attained through suffering … but such cannot be had unless we choose to trust him with our griefs.
So, are we promoting the pursuit of suffering for a life of greater faith? No, that would be sadistic not redemptive. Rather, whenever suffering does strike, we emphasize the importance of consciously trusting Christ—despite our tears, fears, and doubts. When we do, we’ll surely discover why “only in hurt … that soil of weakness and brokenness, will the lovely rose grow, will [God’s] grace bloom.” Next week, we discuss the need of “grit” for our journey of Christian faith.
What Do You Think?
Does suffering scare you? What would it take for you to let go of that fear and trust Christ through your times of adversity?
♦ To see the video and poem this post is based on, click here.