Some of you may see the title and decide not to read this post. I understand. None of us like suffering. When suffering comes into our lives — be it physical, spiritual, emotional, existential — we have several responses: flee, avoid, deny, evade, remedy. Generally speaking, we don’t embrace it. But somehow the power of Christ’s resurrection and His suffering are inextricably linked — it seems we cannot have the one without the other.
I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:10-11
How lovely it would be to skip straight to the resurrection. But there is no resurrection without death.
What kind of suffering are you undergoing today, Friday, September 23? As I grieve the death of my mother, I have been re-reading A Grace Disguised, by Gerald Sittser. In minutes, his mother, wife and youngest daughter were all killed by a drunk driver in an accident he and his other three children survived. Most of us cannot begin to understand that kind of catastrophic loss. His writing is very insightful about the nature of loss, whether it be due to death, divorce, or job loss, and how to go through it to the other side. Sittser insists that to find the grace Jesus offers during the suffering, and afterwards, we cannot run from it. He made it a point to “reserve time and space in [his] life for solitude so that [he] could descend into the darkness alone.” The most poignant illustration is a dream he had of trying to outrun the setting sun. His sister pointed out that “the quickest way for anyone to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west, chasing after the setting sun, but to head east, plunging into the darkness until one comes to the sunrise.” How true.
As Jesus suffered, so we will also suffer. In the suffering, He is there. His grace is extended to us. But as Jesus rose from the dead, so will we. And He will lead us to the light.
- Autumnal Equinox
- The Broken Way