Taking the Suffering Seriously :: How It Defeats Hope

Mysterious heavens.

Early in our series, Kirsten shared in a comment her experience of suffering: 

It leaves me expecting the worst. It leads to distrust. It leaves me always waiting for the other shoe to drop. In a way, it defeats hope.

I’ve been thinking about her response a lot these days, and I really resonate with it. It’s a lot like what I wrote about how suffering can shut us down on a heart level. It leaves us protected against life. Our guard goes up, and we’re just waiting for the next hit to come.

There’s something about hope that always conjures itself in my mind like a bright point of light ahead. That’s what hope looks like to me. And in receiving Kirsten’s words, I connect suffering to a response of turning away from that bright point of light, turning away and crouching away from it, eyes closed tight against its invitation. 

We become crouched against life … against possibility … against openness … against hope

In what ways has suffering defeated hope in your life?

My Prayer for You Today

A quiet morning.

Sometimes I become overwhelmed at the state of the world and all its tragedies and ruin. Today has been one such day. I have been filled with such heaviness of heart today, despair looming close and near, and so I practically crawled to the noonday eucharist at my church. I needed to be reminded of the hope that we have in Christ. 

There, we were reminded of the feast day of the conversion of St. Paul — a man who persecuted the early Christians tirelessly, dragging them before authorities and overseeing their deaths in the name of religious fervor and zeal.

And yet, one day, he was converted in an instant to Christianity. As he writes in his letter to the Galatian church: 

“God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me … “

— Galatians 1:15-16

The story of St. Paul’s conversion brought me a much-needed reminder of hope today.

Most especially, it reminded me that God is the one who calls us and is pleased to reveal his son to us at just the right time. He knows when it is time for each one of us to encounter the risen Christ in a way that will change us forever. 

And so my prayer today — for you, for me, and for all of this big wide world — is that God would indeed call us to himself through his grace and be pleased to reveal his son, the Christ, Jesus, to each one of us.