When Suffering Is A Mercy
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24
One of my friends shared with me what she had imagined her adult life would be when she was a child. She’d had grand plans—an illustrious career that enabled her to be a gift to society, so everyone would praise her. She’d have a family of perfect individuals or be contentedly independent. She’d be surrounded by beautiful possessions but would have such a peaceful and humble spirit that she barely noticed them.
Guess what? The reality of her life today, no doubt, like yours and mine, is a great gift, but all of our lives are probably decidedly different than the ones we thought we’d have when we were children. Do you thank God for that or have you suffered from despair, as your dreams receded from your grasp?
Scott Erickson says, “Suffering – not including torture or physical harm – is the death of the idea of how you thought it was all going to work out.” But Erickson points out that suffering and mercy can go hand in hand; some of our suffering is merciful. Our plans are usually all about us. For the follower of Jesus, the death of our plans, though painful, is also a merciful door into the life God had designed us for and called us to.
Yes, suffering can be mercy in disguise. Having survived the crushing of our self-inflicted illusions, we can say with confidence that God has granted us mercy from our selfish and too-small visions for our lives, our communities, and His Kingdom.
Resource reading: Jeremiah 29:10-14