The Value Of Suffering

2 Mar

“Suffering is a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”  ~ St. Mother Teresa

We all have conditioned responses.  Parents truly depend upon that when they raise children.  Just remember how quickly you learned “Ouch!” and “Hot!”  All our parents had to do was say one of those two words and we stopped short because we already had learned by experience that hot things can burn us and hurt terribly and other things can simply hurt terribly.  We shied away from “ouch” and “hot” like the plague.

That is one of the reasons that we so abhor illnesses.  They lead to pain and suffering and we do not like that.  We want to do everything that we can to avoid what leads us to pain and suffering.  If we find ourselves in the midst of pain and suffering, we tend to give up.  We also tend to become angry or depressed.  We get angry at ourselves, others, or God because of our condition.  We become depressed when we cannot get out of our painful situation.

What a difference it makes in our life if we can view our suffering as an opportunity to become closer to God.  The most pain that we can get from any illness or accident is nothing compared to the pain that Jesus endured on the road to Calvary and on the cross.  Our pain unites us to Jesus’ suffering and can be quite redemptive if we turn it over to the Lord.  Our pain can also unite us to others who suffer as well.

I have met many people through the years who were suffering in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice units, or at home who have said in one way, shape, or form that their suffering was “not as bad” as what others might be going through.  They also said that every time they felt pain, the prayed for others who had it worse than they did.  I have always believed that stance to be quite admirable and heroic.

I think Mother Teresa said it best when she stated “suffering is a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.”  We can allow our suffering to turn us inward or we can allow our suffering to turn us outward.  Turning inward we will become cold, hurting, depressed, or bitter people.  Turning outward, we see the pain of others and we see the Lord who waits to comfort us.

Allow yourself to be kissed by Jesus today and pray for those who suffer much more than you.

FAITH ACTION:  Pray for all who suffer that they might see how closely their pain unites them to Jesus.