What about insufferable struggling? – Ann Spangler, Christianity.com blogs

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Sometimes suffering can seem unbearable. A child dies. A spouse tells us. We are facing financial ruin. So what? How do we get through the endless days? Where do we find the grace to unravel the dark feelings that threaten to stifle the light in us? Although time can bring perspective and often healing, what about times when there is no redeeming story? When our suffering seems pointless and useless?

I lost my sister in a car accident when she was only sixteen. A carefree man ran a red light on a foggy October morning and rammed his truck into our car. That was decades ago and I have yet to find a redemption for her death. I can't understand it, but that doesn't stop me from giving my sister and my grief into God's hands and believing that he can get something good out of something that isn't good.

Joni Eareckson Tada has been a quadriplegic for most of her life. She broke her neck in a diving accident when she was only seventeen. Despite, or perhaps because of, her difficulties, she has developed a living faith and a thriving service for people with a variety of disabilities. Here's what she learned about following Jesus:

The cross is the center of our relationship with Jesus. We die on the cross. We go there every day. It is not easy.

Usually we will follow Christ everywhere – to a party where he turns water into wine, to a sunlit beach where he preaches from a boat. But to the cross? We dig in our heels. The invitation is so frighteningly individual. It is an invitation to go alone.

Suffering reduces us to nothing and as Soren Kierkegaard remarked: “God creates everything from nothing. And he initially reduces everything that God should use to nothing. & # 39; To be reduced to nothing means to be pulled to the foot of the cross. It is a grace.

If suffering brings us to our knees at the foot of Calvary, we die for ourselves. We cannot kneel there long without letting go of our pride and anger and resolving our dreams and desires. In return, God gives strength and new and lasting hope.

As Joni found out, catastrophic suffering is a terrible burden for us, a cross that is more cruel and painful than any other we can imagine. But even in the midst of our struggles, God will not leave us. Although we are not reduced to anything, it will give us the strength we need and plant new and lasting hope.

1. Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes, When God Cries (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1997), 135-36.

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