Suffering 2015

Have you ever had one of those ‘why’ moments? When something happens which causes us pain, suffering, hurt or sheer frustration and anger – and all you can do is ask ‘Why?’.

Why did that person I love have to die?

Why did my friend develop that condition or disease?

Why did that person get the job I wanted (and deserved)?

Why have I suffered so much when I know I don’t deserve it?

Why did that expensive thing I need break when I don’t have the money to replace it?

Me too.

I’ve asked the question ‘why?’ so often it’s become a chorus, a song stuck on repeat in the depths of my heart. I still do.

But recently I came about an answer, in the most unexpected way.

Why can be a helpful question sometimes. When you’re reflecting on ideas you want to share with others as a writer. At times during during self-analysis and therapy it’s healthy and constructive to ask why. It can help us diagnose a problem and find constructive ways forward.

But when all you’re doing is navel gazing, punishing yourself, making yourself ill, not finding any answers and going round and round in a viscous circle, then why isn’t so helpful.

I asked God for years why He allowed my Mum to lose her short-term memory which directly led to her alcoholism and my parents break up. Why He allowed me to be psychologically bullied and nothing to be done, and latterly, allowed my Mum to die.

More recently I’ve been asking why less often. I’ve begun to focus on finding constructive ways forward.  But like anyone, I still have moments where the pain rears up, and I begin to ask again, “Why?”. The question is still swirling deep in my subconscious. 

A Moment Of Clarity

One day recently I was sitting at my desk at work, eating lunch, reflecting on my story for an article I was writing. And I had what someone in alcoholics anonymous might call a “moment of clarity”.

I remembered how I’d been able to support good friends through their own grief, and offer them the benefit of my experience. How I’d been a sounding board for the frustrations and experiences only those who’ve lost a parent at a young age would understand. 

I recalled the great feedback and encouragement I’d got from people who had in my writing and coaching been impacted positively by the lessons I’d learned from my mistakes, and my suffering. I remembered deep sense of joy every one of those encouragements had given me.

Then it became clear.

imagesIf I hadn’t suffered, if I’d not failed, and hadn’t learned lessons from those experiences, I wouldn’t have been able to support my friends. I wouldn’t have been able to encourage anyone or pass on any lessons from my story.

I realised that without my suffering and failure, I couldn’t have had a such positive impact on the world. (you can tweet that)

Right then, I felt a supernatural peace in my heart, unlike one I’d felt in a long time. And I heard a voice gently say to me:

“That’s why”.

All those times I’d asked why, been reminded of my pain..

Suddenly it all made sense. And I remembered a quote:

“What others intended for evil, I have used for good”.

Now I saw my story from an entirely different perspective.

I’d never have chosen my suffering. But it wasn’t for nothing. It wasn’t meaningless or without a purpose. In fact, God had retold my story and used it to to bring life to others.

Even despite this I still have my “Why?” moments. But at least now, I have something to reply with. I can see now, my past had been my Good Friday, and it was being transformed into new life for others.

So let me close by encouraging you. My pain, suffering and failure, my most angry, justified and bitter “Why?” questions were turned into life for others, and somehow in the process gave me joy – and yours can too.

You may not think that now. You may be angry and accuse me of not understanding, because your suffering is different to my own. And you’re right in one sense, because there’s no way I can understand exactly what you’ve been through. Indeed, I’ve said that very phrase myself in the past.

But whatever it is, push through.

Don’t lose hope.

I’ve been through Friday, and I thought it was the end. But, in time, I found it wasn’t. I’m still here. I survived. And I’m beginning to thrive. 

And I actually found my Friday became someone’s Sunday.

Including my own.

 

 

*****

Question for Reflection:

Do you believe your suffering can be redeemed? Has it already?

Share your thoughts & stories in the comments below.

*****

 

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Picture Sources: (gospelrelevance.com/wantwords.co.uk)

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James Prescott

Hi, I’m James. I live near London. I’m a fan of good food, comic-book movies, & books. I love to write, and I coach other writers & creative people. Thank you for being part of my community. read more...

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