Pathways through Lent

Ash Wednesday: Perspective on Suffering

Ash Wednesday

Jonah 3:1-4:11 Psalms 95, 32, 143, 102, 130Hebrews 12:1-14 Luke 18:9-14A

Ash Wednesday

Each of us suffers at some time in life. Suffering may be due to physical pain, mental distress, misfortune, or the experience of an unwanted condition. Though the experience of suffering is universal among Christians, we sometimes become disappointed when we suffer due to a latent expectation that the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our savior is a ticket to a charmed life free from unpleasant experiences or trouble. The contrary is true. Instead of feeling disappointed, we should remember that when we suffer as Christians, there is a higher purpose for our suffering. God demonstrates that we are His children by permitting us to experience and overcome, through Him, the cause of our suffering (Hebrews 12:7).

Negative life experiences provide an opportunity, out of necessity, to draw closer to God and completely trust in God and God’s promises. We must always remember that God loves us and all things are part of God’s plan for our salvation, even suffering (Romans 8:28). Christians’ greatest suffering may arise when the unwanted condition involves the people, things, and issues that, from our perspective, are most valuable. It is critical in this instance to challenge ourselves to surrender this circumstance to God and have faith because the working out of this condition will most certainly glorify God and strengthen our faith in God. The end result is that we are fortified by the creation of an inner certainty and confidence that God is always with us and is always faithful.

-Niquelle Allen

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