Suffering Together

What can make suffering easier? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few nights ago on Facebook I saw someone share something and I knew immediately what it was about. It was about his divorce as when I announced mine and shared my experience, it was greatly helpful to him. I hate that every day I live with the scarlet D on me, but it is somehow easier when I meet someone who I have got to help who is going through the storm as well.

When my divorce came, I remember that it was helpful having someone around with me who had gone through it before as well. Now don’t get me wrong. I still had to do the work of healing myself. I also made sure to get in touch with DivorceCare, which was actually instrumental in getting me down here to seminary.

The reality is for many of us that when we meet someone who has the same struggle that we do, it can make the burden a little bit easier. We’re no longer alone. One of the worst feelings in suffering is that you are unique in your experience. Even if you know you are not, it can be hard if you think no one around you understands what you’re going through.

When you meet someone who does, it changes. Now you’re not alone. They don’t even have to be able to solve the problem. All they really need to do is to be able to listen.

This is one of the beautiful things at times about suffering. When I get to help someone else out of their suffering by sharing my experience, it is true they get helped, but I am also helped by it. It shows me that already, my experience is not being wasted. If I have someone also who respects me and says “Hey. This guy I respect has gone through this. Maybe I’m not so awful for having this experience.”

For me, it works with situations like divorce, being on the spectrum, dealing with anxiety, and I wouldn’t mind helping out kids in the hospital who are about to undergo surgery for scoliosis to say “I went through it, and I’m fine today.” For you, it could be anything else. It could be having to go through a miscarriage or recovering from cancer or surviving child abuse when you were younger.

As Christians, we should know that none of our suffering is wasted. God will not put any of us through needless suffering. All of our suffering will be redeemed somehow. Somehow, it will work for His glory, yes, but Romans 8 tells us all things work together for good to them that love the Lord.

That means whatever suffering you go through, it will work for your good. In gaming terms, this is the ultimate cheat code. Imagine going through a game and no matter what happened in it, you knew it would work for your good. You would be a quite confident player.

This isn’t a game. This is reality. All things will work for your good. Deal with suffering in a healthy way, but remember in all of it, it will work out for your good.

Then go out and help someone else with their suffering. In turn, they too can be a wounded healer for others.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


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