“I will place my words within them, and engrave them upon their hears,
I will be their God and they will be my people.”
“Truth is, everybody will hurt you: we just need to find the ones worth suffering for.”
“Suffering is not for the faint of heart; but in my husband’s case, I would not have missed it for anything.”. A wonderful quote from a special lady whose husband died of cancer a few years back. Her journey was a painful one; watching her beloved waste away before her eyes, knowing that the medicines and surgeries could accomplish little to make things better. And yet she saw, because of her special covenant of love, more than just the ache. Their suffering spoke of life, and the risks in our loving which often go unnoticed. It spoke of trust, and how we should never take for granted the people who surround us. And it spoke of a higher calling, a deeper connection, a love that is not convenient or trite, but one that can walk with confidence through even the darkest of journeys.
It is often easy to equate success with good times, with obvious progress, with happy hearts. If that is the case, however, then Jesus suffering on the cross was a complete failure. But we know this not to be true! His suffering cast a new light upon who we are as humans: how easy it is to seek after our own personal gain and to diminish those around us. But when his suffering becomes redemptive, we instead are reminded that our way of living is one built upon the foundation of support and sacrifice. Our love is celebrated in the special joys of life, but is also able to weather the greatest storms that the day can throw at us. Bob Marley is right, we will all fail one another; we will struggle with each other, accuse and demean one another and at times we will demand far more than we deserve from God and neighbor. But there is a hope for us; when God’s words are written on our hearts, our task is not to get the most from one another but to give the most to one another.
I look forward to this kind of love, the love that seeks not its own way but the way of the other, for indeed, when it is manifest in our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, being a disciple who suffers as well and celebrates will mark the substance of our ministry. And love will be our daily bread.
And I would not miss that for anything. I hope you won’t either.
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