When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. (Psalm 126: 1-6)
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How many of you get tired of hearing Christians use “silver linings”? You know - those stories that describe the hardships, struggles, and obstacles that life can bring, BUT God did this great thing that made it all better.
I feel as though the stories (or perhaps the way we choose to tell them) often minimize the suffering that we have gone through.
Does God want us to share the victories and healing that He has bestowed? Of course!
However, we often jump to the “silver lining” in ways that make our problems lose authenticity. In fact, we paint a picture that God was only present for the good portions.
But this is not our God.
Our God is actually more acquainted to suffering than we could ever be.
We get to know another side of God by sharing in even a miniscule piece of Christ’s suffering. However, we have a tendency to only recognize God in the moments where He changes our circumstance.
This is why pain and bitterness have consumed so many people. Their suffering seems to have little to no meaning. In fact, if we do not choose to find Christ in our pain, that pain is merely an interruption void of any worth.
On the other hand, we can choose to find God in our suffering. Think of those relationships where you’ve shared your deepest, darkest struggles. These people are the ones you always go to when in crisis. They know you…deeply.
Imagine then, what it would look like to understand God in that way. The more we recognize that He knows and has carried our burdens, the more deeply we can know Him.
Those who follow Christ have access to a fresh and new meaning of their pain.
"Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy."
Even if the suffering is not healed in this life, followers of Christ have a guaranteed “silver lining.” All of the pain and sorrow of the world will suddenly become untrue when Jesus returns.
It is important for us to express our sufferings in a way that shows that God was there the whole time. Not only that, but that we became more like Him through it all.
This is especially crucial in the way that we relate to those who do not follow Christ. Seeing a life that finds meaning in suffering can cause others to question where that meaning comes from.
So I challenge you to choose to know Christ better through your pain. Show others that to suffer is not a meaningless interruption, but instead, that it has the potential to redefine and change you for the better.
We would love to know, what have you discovered about God through your suffering? Feel free to let us know by commenting on today's Instagram post! You can find it at Instagram.com/DeclareGlory. And feel free to use the image below to share it!
guest writer, Steve Sullivant