There I said it!! Suffering is a gift although many would not agree with me. People, in general, go to extremes to avoid any type of suffering. Oh darn, I broke my nail. How am I going to continue working with a broken nail!! Exaggerating a little, maybe a lot, but we have come to a point in life where comfort is our God.
How do you keep up with the latest invention that is supposed to make your life so easy. There’s that word again, EASY. The word is comforting in itself. Who in their right mind would turn down something that would make their life easier?
Our boat is already loaded to the maximum capacity with comforts. We can no longer maintain the barrage of things that are supposed to make our life easier.
You might wonder where I am going here. How does comfort have anything to do with suffering? Aren’t they opposed to each other?
Suffering comes in many forms. For instance, a child takes a toy away from another child. There are two ways the child can respond. Either the child cries demanding the toy back or the child thinks, I will go and play with something else, I wasn’t attached to that toy anyway and besides it’s his turn to play with it. This is suffering in the smallest sense of the word.
Notice the actions that could occur from these choices and how we can apply them to our lives in every way. The first choice was for the child to cry. The child is thinking this is mine, I want it, it gives me comfort. The child is only thinking of himself and how much it gives him pleasure. The second choice was thinking about the other child. It was his turn to play with it and I can always play with something else. One way is me centered and the other way is God centered which is the same thing as saying other centered.
“For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45
Okay, but what about when the choices are hard and the suffering seems worse?
For those of you who know me or visit my website, I had a very debilitating illness which was nicknamed the suicide disease. At first, I tried so hard to push this suffering away from me. I cried and despaired and pleaded and tried everything imaginable to separate myself from this horrendous pain. I took every medical route offered to me to the point of brain surgery. Nothing worked. It wasn’t until God took me and showed me the real meaning of suffering.
I pondered on his suffering, not only His bodily suffering but the sufferings of his heart. He was abandoned by the very men that He spent three years with. The people He came to save hated Him and even called Him the devil!! They turned Him over to be crucified!! Can you imagine the pain in Jesus’s heart which was human, with human feelings? I pondered on the love of the one who would suffer so much for me. This is where the transition happened. Instead of crying and despairing, I accepted my suffering and offered it up to God for others. Fran called it my “superpower”. I never thought that my suffering had any merit. I thought it was a personal thing that only I had to deal with.
We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. What we do matters to someone else that we might never know. How? When we pray for all those that are away from the church for instance. God can apply that prayer to anyone He chooses. It’s the same with suffering. You can offer up your small sufferings and I say small because nobody suffered more than Jesus. Sometimes coming to that realization itself tempers your emotions and gives you the grace to see through the mountain that you are going through to notice that God has a path hewn out of that mountain for you to take.
It’s been two years since I have been healed and the Lord has put me on a total different path in life. Before, I was so me-centered. Everything revolved about what I wanted to do instead of what God wanted me to do.
I have gotten used to being healthy. I have become complacent in my mission to share my story. How this happens is a slow process. Life takes over and you submit to its hectic, busy, loud environment thinking that I am doing all this for God, but really it’s for myself.
My compass moved from being God-centered to me-centered again. I am having all kinds of skin issues. The devil whispers in my ear. You are going to get sick again. Your illness is going to return and whatever else he can say to keep me in fear. Unfortunately, I am a very weak little girl that’s why when I start to run, I have to stop and allow the Lord to carry me and so I fell into the trap of the fear.
First, I went the same route as before. Am I supposed to go back on a stricter diet? Let’s try this medicine and that medicine. Pray this novena and beg the Lord to take it away. Where did my trust in God go?
The anxiety returned and my stomach was in knots for the first time in a long time. Why is this happening to me?
I was in Adoration and I just surrendered it all to God again and just didn’t think about it anymore. What a major grace that God gave me. I was taking my eyes off of Him and putting them on me thinking I could fix it. I can’t fix nothing.
I quoted St. Faustina in my book where Jesus told her, “Without my grace you wouldn’t even be able to accept my grace”. In other words, we can’t do anything without God. Anything good comes from Him. The thought that pops into your mind. The feeling you have to call someone. This is not you, its always God through the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, suffering is a gift. Suffering is like throwing water on an unquenchable fire, taming the flames of our selfishness and reliance on others. Suffering turns us toward the Cross. Who but God could love so much as to suffer so willingly? Suffering in any form unites us with our Savior if we but just trust in Him.
JESUS I TRUST IN YOU!!
For more information on my story and how to purchase my book, please visit my website at www.cheryleannemiller.com.