“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt”
John Green is so brilliant, it’s fantastic. On that note, I’ve been thinking about pain and suffering lately after a chance encounter with my Bible (which realistically is never merely a chance encounter).
Over the past few weeks I’ve been meditating on a verse I stumbled upon when discovering that my favorite verse was too long for a Gmail signature (Philippians 4: 11-13 for anyone wanting to know). In the process of trying to find another verse on my mind, I discovered one of the verses I had highlighted in studying for my History and Literature of the New Testament class I had taken sophomore year . As I began to reread the highlighted passages of Romans, I found a section that I really connected with and has stuck with me and has helped me as I have began to feel frustrated and confused about dealing with rejection. This magic verse is Romans 5: 1-5, where Paul states that:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
I think the reason this passage stands out to me so much is that it gives reason for suffering. So often we are told that we face suffering and pain because of the fall of man and the fact that we live in a sinful world, and often we forget that there is something to be gained from our pain and suffering, perseverance, character and hope. This is important to remember because not only is God giving us relief from our sufferings, but there is something to be gained, we aren’t just suffering in vain. We gain the perseverance to keep fighting, the character to learn from our suffering and most importantly, hope. We gain hope in the belief of the plan that God has mapped out for each of us. And hope from the holy spirit can move mountains, it is what allows us to accomplish the things that alone we could never do. There is great comfort to know that while I continue to map my way through adulthood and continue to face a slew of rejection, heartbreak, and hurt, I will not come out empty handed. God gives us gifts in the most unlikely of ways, and now I face this suffering with the ambition of trying to open these packages to receive the gifts that he has waiting for me.
This was a little more preachy than I intended it to be, which is fine of course. Also, please don’t nail me down as a theologian, being that I know people who legitimately study theology, I have no intention of being compared to that kind of knowledge or dedication to deciphering Gods word. These are just the thoughts of someone who believes is reflecting on her experiences. As per usual this was just me reflecting on the things that have been stewing in my brain.
Originally Posted Feb 20th, 2014