Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Get Me Through This Suffering....

"It's the same as if you were driving through a fierce storm at night.

As the rain pelts the windshield and the lightning flashes across the sky, obscuring your vision; as the sound of the thunder and pouring rain and windshield wipers going back and forth make it practically impossible to think—as all this is happening—what is the best thing for you to try to do?

Would it help very much, at that moment, to attempt to understand where storm clouds come from?

Or why different weather masses converge and produce precipitation?

Or what the various scientific reasons for lightning are?

What good would any of this information do when you are in the middle of a storm?

No, the best thing to do when you're in that kind of situation is to concentrate on holding the steering wheel steady, controlling the speed of your vehicle, and keeping your eyes peeled for turns in the road and for other traffic.

In other words, the best thing to do is focus your energy on getting through the storm.

There will be time enough later to figure out why you got caught in the bad weather, or—if you're interested—to take up the study of meteorology.

But while the storm is actually raging, the most important thing to do, always, is to make it through, safe and intact.

God understands this concept well.

Very often the last thing he will do when we are suffering is to tell us the reasons for that suffering.

That's something he saves for later—sometimes much later.

What he will always do, however, is help us to endure the terrible pain of the open wound; to make it through the storm in one piece.

We'll talk more about the "why" of human suffering in a moment.

But for now, let's understand this one point: No matter who you are or what your situation, God will always say yes to this prayer: "Please get me through this suffering."

Now, there are many kinds of suffering we have to get through in this world.

Some suffering is big and some is small.

But every kind can be torturous in its own way—from toothaches to kidney stones; from migraine headaches to bouts of depression; from frustration at work to anxiety at home; from the sad, deteriorating death of the elderly to the sudden, shocking death of the young; from the grief that every son goes through when his mother dies to the unspeakable agony of two parents mourning the loss of their child.

God says yes to all who come to him for help and comfort when they are in the midst of such trials.

Notice I did not say that he promises to stop the suffering, or prevent it from happening in the first place, or alleviate it in any way.

This may be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to faith, but we have to face it, head-on:

God allows a lot of terrible things to happen.

He allows diseases to ravage countries, hurricanes to destroy cities, murderers and rapists to terrorize communities.

Remember, he allowed hundreds of thousands of children to be gassed to death in Nazi concentration camps.

So yes, he may very well allow you to undergo some form of suffering—maybe the exact kind you dread the most.

Just look what happened to Christ.

The night before he died, he prayed to God that he wouldn't have to endure the bloody, violent death of a crucifixion.

He knew very well how much pain he was going to go through, and he tried to get out of it:

"My father," he asked, "if it is possible, let this cup be taken away from me."

Christ—the second person of the Blessed Trinity—made a last-ditch attempt to avoid suffering.

At the eleventh hour, he asked for a reprieve.

But since he was the perfect son, he also added, "Yet not as I will, but as you will."1

We all know what happened.

His request was denied. The Crucifixion went on as scheduled.

Well, if God refused his own son, how can we expect any guarantee that he will be any easier on us?

No matter how much we pray, we may still have to go through some horrible ordeal in the future.

The point is that no matter what kind of suffering we have to endure, God always gives us a way out.

Not a way out of the suffering itself—but from the utter, black hopelessness that suffering can lead us into.

And that's what this prayer is—a way out of hopeless despair.

In a famous passage from his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul says that God "will not let you be tested beyond your strength. With your trial, he will also provide you with a means of escape, so that you will be able to endure it."

God always gives us an "escape hatch."

No matter how great our inner turmoil, he always gives us an exit through which we can go to avoid being trapped.

When Christ prayed that he be spared the agony of the Crucifixion, God may have denied his request, but he promptly dispatched an angel to the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort him.3

The angel stayed with the Lord and consoled him, strengthened his resolve, and essentially helped him to get through the deep emotional turmoil and dread he was experiencing.

That's the same model of assistance God employs with us.

Our appointed sufferings may or may not be prevented through prayer—depending on the situation and on God's will—but we, ourselves, can always count on being helped, consoled, and fortified by God if we ask for help."

From " The 10 Prayers God Always Answers"

Stay Strong!

No comments: