Suffering is inevitable. Pain is unavoidable. Life, quite often, hurts.
The litany of the agonies and struggles Christians face is no different than those of the rest of the world:
- substance abuse
- work problems
- suicidal thoughts
- eating disorders
- body image / self-image
- relationship problems
- and on and on...
Contrary to what we sometimes hear or want to believe, the promise of Christ to his followers is not that we are immune or exempt from these. The promise of God is that we do not face any hardship alone...
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.
Isaiah 43.1b-2 (HCSB)
Read those words again. "When" you face difficult, painful times...and they will come, it is certain...God says, "I will be with you." We would doubtless all love to avoid pain, I know I do. The idea that we can do this, however, is both unrealistic and unbiblical. When we cry out to Christ he may calm the storm--he has done it before and we will continue to pray that he does it again. Whether or not the storm subsides is not the real point.
In the midst of suffering, God is there.
In the midst of pain, Christ is found.
In the midst of hurting, you are not alone.