A Thought About Suffering
Kerri S Wilson
Suffering... When it happens to us, it impacts deeply. We feel it, and it hurts. Suffering is a very real experience. Suffering comes to us in many packages—loss, lack, disappointment, disillusionment, discouragement, pressure, pain... If you’ve ever suffered, you’ve lived what these words mean. Why do we suffer? It’s a question many have asked. As I consider an answer, I’m reminded of how Jesus suffered. My mental image of Jesus being stripped, whipped, spit upon, mocked, then nailed to and hung on a cross puts suffering into perspective. When I think about how Christ bore my sin and my sorrow, my suffering, though I can still feel its impact, seems lighter. And knowing that the God of the universe made it possible for Himself to suffer for my sake makes me less inclined to question my suffering. But even though I am less inclined to question after remembering, the question is still there in the back of my mind. Suffering is usually explained as a fact of life—we suffer because we’re alive. That is true. Life does happen to all of us. Another explanation for suffering is that it’s because of humanity’s choices—I suffer because of my mistakes. I believe that is true as well. My wrong choices do have negative consequences. I do reap what I sow. But, there are times when there is no explanation for our suffering—it seems it’s beyond just living life or outside of wrong choices. The story of Job gives us insight into that perspective of suffering. I don’t always know why I’m suffering. But as I’ve considered the reasons, I’ve realized something. Suffering teaches me compassion. Suffering gives opportunity for empathy. Suffering teaches me how to love God’s way.