An unexpected answer when I asked God to end suffering in my life

I know someone who’s trapped in a dead-end job right now. He’s been there for years and he’s trying to make the best of it, but realistically, his resume is probably far too stale for him to get a different job for which he’s qualified.

I know a woman who has an ongoing chronic condition that doctors can’t fix. You’d never know it if you met her — the embarrassing symptoms, the limitations. She longs for some medical breakthrough that will fix the problem, but there’s little hope for that and for whatever reason, God hasn’t healed her.

I know a number of single people who long to be married. They’ve checked all the right boxes — they’re financially stable, physically fit and godly — but nobody seems to notice them.

I was working out the other day and I got frustrated as I came to God with one of my own requests for Him to end suffering in my life. Finally, I tried to make myself feel better by saying, “I guess this is my story.”

What I meant was that “this is my cross to bear and I need to live my story without complaining.” But I started sensing that “this is my story” wasn’t quite right.

Then this thought hit me: “This isn’t your story of suffering, this is Christ’s story of suffering.”

Jesus didn’t stop suffering on the cross. He continues to suffer with His children because He literally lives inside of our bodies (Colossians 1:27). He goes through the very circumstances we are experiencing every day. This is His story of the suffering that came after He was resurrected.

“Since we are His children, we are His heirs” (Romans 8:17), but we don’t just inherit heaven or a happy endings. “If we are to share His glory, we must also share His suffering” (Romans 8:17).

Suffering is not an exceptional state that God will always fix on this side of Heaven. It’s part of the package, part of the plot. But we don’t walk through the pages of our stories alone. Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, writes Himself onto the pages, into the very characters He created (Hebrews 12:2).

Jesus is the valiant protagonist, “Christ in [us], the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). What a Savior — one who didn’t just leave us behind to make it on our own. He walks through this life with us and when this chapter is over, He will usher us into the unimaginable reality of Heaven.

If you’d like an email with a weekly recap of what I’ve written, click here.  You can also keep up with my latest articles (and more) on Facebook or Twitter.