Suffering is felt at different levels—through loss, physical pain, persecution, difficult relationships, financial strain, abuse, mental-emotional stress—more severe for some than others.
I would categorize my own suffering to be at the less severe end of the spectrum. God has blessed my life, and my suffering is paled when compared to His mercy and grace He has shown towards me. Nevertheless, any level of suffering, even when God has blessed, is not easy to deal with.
Suffering has challenged my thinking. One suffering season distorted my view of God so much that I spent most of my life believing difficult times were God’s punishment. Yet, another season taught me how to rely on God. The next season challenged my confidence in hearing God’s voice and my ability to wait patiently on Him. So, my experiences with suffering have revealed that suffering will sometimes be used to break and at other times be used to heal; sometimes for both. Whatever the purpose, suffering has been difficult to experience no matter the level of severity.
The Lord and I have been sorting through some things in my heart. This season has been different than the others. I have come to understand that letting go and having faith are more difficult to define and live out than I once thought. I’ve asked God how to know I’ve let go and how to know if my faith is adequate enough. I don’t have the answers, but I do see how the answers aren’t found through simple means. Rather, they are imbedded in the journey of healing, perseverance, forgiveness, strengthening, and relationship with Him.