Suffering. We have all experienced suffering, in one way or another. Whether it is the pain and suffering of a loved one dying or the excruciating pain of breaking a bone, we have all suffered. No matter the cause of one’s suffering, the experience is dreadful and agonizing. Suffering is essentially the ongoing torment a person experiences due to a dramatic event(s). It is important to understand that there are two types of suffering: physical and mental. Physical suffering is normally quite simple; there are many forms of care to treat it, whatever the pain may be. However, mental(or emotional) suffering is not necessarily noticeable; it is the ongoing hardship and burdens carried by someone through his life or a time of his life.
Emotional suffering is a poison that has the potential to alter one’s thought process and change one’s personality. It is feeling all alone in a crowded room. It is feeling worthless and useless because of one’s past. It is uncontrollably crying for no apparent reason other than being sad. It is drowning in sorrow, with no life preserver in sight. It is a dark road, with no directions as to where it is going. When someone experiences emotional suffering for a long period of time, they begin to morph into someone they were never meant to be. This form of suffering is of greater importance and danger than physical suffering. It eats away at its prey, devouring piece by piece from the inside out until the person is nothing but a walking corpse. One may look alive, yet on the inside, he is dead. In the words of one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot, “A steering wheel don’t mean I can drive, a warm body don’t mean I’m alive.” Emotional suffering can be caused by a numerous of options: being showered and overcome by guilt, being stranded in a sea of depression, being strangled by the hands of anxiety, etc. Whatever one’s cause of emotional suffering is, the journey of finding oneself in a sinful world and understanding God’s grace and love is a long, yet breathtaking journey.
There is always a rainbow after a terrible storm. That rainbow is Jesus. No matter what someone has done or experienced, Jesus is always holding out his hand. All we have to do is reach for it. Suffering may kill, but Jesus resuscitates.