Suffering as a Gift

October 25, 2019

“Suffering not only bears witness to others...but also can serve to increase our faith. Suffering is a gift from Christ, as is faith: it is a participation in His grace…Suffering matures us as Christians in the present (James 1:2–4) and enables us to be glorified with Christ in the future (Rom. 8:17).” (Orthodox Study Bible, Foundation Study Bible, Philippians 1:29)

 

“This special gift of suffering, yields a capacity to love, difficult and so puzzling, pushes you to a painful place, beyond what your capable of, the process gives a great humbling, that can only come from above, gifting supernatural grace…Suffering is a cross to bear, it’s the strangest gift we receive, it enables others to share, from their soul’s deepest reservoir, though we may want a reprieve, deep down we become so aware, it is not something we should grieve, we become better than we are.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

 

“I have learned that out of the painful crucible of my own suffering, I was able to find within me a well-spring of strength that I never knew I possessed. I acquired a deepened understanding of the human condition, a greater sensitivity and compassion for the sufferings of others, and a heightened ability to share with others my conviction in the sureness of ultimate victory. Indeed, I would be reluctant to avoid the trials of my past if, at the same time, it meant that I would have to surrender their many personal gifts that now have come to grace and enrich the whole of my life.” (Rev. Andrew Demotses)

 

“In times of suffering, the Church encourages us to fully experience our story and…become a healing presence for others. Deepening our understanding of our faith relinquishes our need to tell each other empty words like “God won’t give you more than you can handle” and “He/she is in a better place.” Instead, it allows us to offer prayer, presence and understanding that strengthen our relationship to God and each other. If we put aside the pressure to speak, we recognize silence is not awkward; it is prayerful stillness, and we find words that are honest, loving and compassionate. We can honor and express gratitude for the joys, sorrows, fears and tears experienced in vulnerability while embracing hope in the resurrection and a will that is greater than our own. We each have a story of joys and sorrows and it is a holy gift to share it with others.” (Danielle Xanthos)

 

“Once we have experienced the Presence and Life of God, we are ready to share that Life with our fellow human beings. While slavery to sin, as described above, leads to judgment of others and disunity in condemnation, if we live lives characterized by love, that love will cover a multitude of sins and errors through charity and forgiveness. Once we have received the hospitality of God by accepting His invitation to participate in His Life, we can open our own lives and hearts and homes to one another. When we have discovered the spiritual gifts that God has given each of us to aid in the building up of His Kingdom, then we are able to use those gifts for the benefit of all, both inside and outside our communities.” (Father Stephen De Young)

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