What I’ve Learned from Suffering (Beyond Our Walls)

Having a birthday in December used to frustrate me as a child. I would go to all these cool birthday parties during the year, but would have to wait until the end of the year to have my own. The days passed slowly as I waited. Now that I’m older, the days pass like lightning. I can’t believe I’m almost 51. My 50th year has certainly been a year of highs and lows. My husband spent time in the hospital and finally had questions answered about his health. My older son finished his freshman year of college and has a girlfriend now. (I really enjoyed meeting her the other weekend.) My younger son has progressed academically, received his learner’s permit, and now has his first job. And I have continued to write-through all my highs and lows.

I’ve come to a better understanding of the subject of today’s devotion (God’s Work Through Suffering) as well. It’s not a perfect understanding, but it’s better.

Romans 8:18 says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

This verse comforts me and gives me hope. I think I might need to memorize it for the next time life knocks me down. Because, in the midst of my husband getting answers about his health issues, he also went through a time of unemployment–the third time in three years. I asked a lot of questions. Why is this happening again? What did we do to deserve this? Why can’t we have stability in our lives?

The answer came to me when I was writing my devotion for the devotion booklet I’ve been responding to for the last few weeks. ‘Because you will understand when others are going through the same thing.’ I realized God was right. Someone who has been at the same job for five years or ten or fifteen or twenty can’t understand the hopelessness and hurt of losing a job that provided for your family like someone who has been in the same situation.

Those thoughts give me comfort and hope that our time of suffering was not wasted. But, then the thought comes that brings me to my crucible, and I flinch back in shame. Have I walked with other people in their suffering, I mean, truly walked? Not only with other believers, but with those who don’t believe so I can share the reason for my hope. It’s easy to say we will pray, and yes, praying is important, but it’s just as important to show up in the midst of suffering. God does some of His best work there. We can’t tune out those who are suffering just because we have the promise of a better place. We need to walk with them and share about the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

God’s blessings on all of you today!

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