Respecting Suffering

Category: Suffering

Suffering is often lonely. Those moments when you are alone, in pain, longing to be set free, longing to be healed, but you’re not. Trying to explain it to others or to yourself. It’s lonely. You haven’t done anything to deserve illness. You’re a good person. You repent when you’ve done wrong. You apologize to your spouse for the harsh word spoken. There are so many other people out there who are more deserving of pain and illness, but they seem to go scott free.


This morning I picked up my Message Bible and turned to Job to find comfort. You see, I’ve been suffering from inflammation and joint pain for almost a year now. Every day, waking up with cramped fingers, feet and knees. Getting out of bed takes effort. There’s no bouncing out these days. Yes, I’m seeing a doctor and we are trying new things, but so far, I am not getting the relief, the HEALING I would like. So, I turned to Job. In his commentary before the first chapter, author Eugene Peterson makes a statement that stopped me. “In the course of facing, questioning and respecting suffering, Job finds himself in an even larger mystery–the mystery of God.”

Respecting suffering. I thought about it for a long time. Yes. When you suffer day in and day out, there is a respect that develops for this thing, this power over you–suffering. Peterson goes on to say: “Perhaps the greatest mystery in suffering is how it can bring a person into the presence of God in a state of worship, full of wonder, love and praise. Suffering does not inevitably do that, but it does it far more often than we would expect.”

“The fact of the matter is that more often than not, people do not suffer less when they are committed to following God, but more. When these people go through suffering, their lives are often transformed, deepened, marked with beauty and holiness, in remarkable ways that could never have been anticipated before the suffering.”

And so it is with me. I know that I am being transformed, that veils in my life are being torn down. Veils that have hidden pride or hostility or any number of things. Somehow, the suffering has tuned me in, sharpened my hearing. And I’m not liking what I’m hearing and recognizing. Really? I’ve been harboring THAT for 40 years? Oh my. Tears and more tears. And yet, after repenting and wiping away the tears, there is worship and praise to my God who loves me so much that He will continue to transform me into his image, in spite of myself. So while I am suffering, I respect it. And I am thankful for the work it is doing in my soul.


One response so far

One Response to “Respecting Suffering”

  1. Dianaon 28 Jan 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Beautiful, Martha. As someone once said, we do not grow on the mountaintops, but in the valleys. Well put. xo

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