‘It’s like childbirth – pain with a purpose’
Lisa’s story | Glory follows suffering
“Someone once said, ‘The older you get as a Christian, the fewer things you are certain about, but the more certain you are about them.’ That’s been true for me. I’m now in my 50s. We’re still caring for our significantly disabled son, who’s 22. Our other son is becoming independent, and our daughter died at birth. I can slip into feeling sorry for myself. But I have to remember God’s character.”
“It says in Isaiah 55 that God’s ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts. I’m more and more learning that. Reading the Scriptures, I find there’s so much about suffering, in the early Israelite narratives, in the life of the prophets, in Job, in Paul when he writes about strength in weakness, and of course at the cross. The way that God chose to save the world was through death … before glory and resurrection.
“So when I feel tired, or I think it’s unfair, or I compare myself to others, I remind myself that the way God chooses to work is the opposite to what we might expect, or what the world might say. Paul says in Romans 8:18 that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. But just before that he said that we are ‘co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings.’ There’s a real sense that suffering is part of the plan. We’re not in control. There will be suffering and groaning before glory – that’s our connection to Christ. But it’s like childbirth – it’s pain with a purpose. And we can rely on God’s character.
“He is God and he knows all. He is shaping us. So I often read Lamentations. ‘Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope. Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ (3:21-24).”
“That’s been true for me.”