Monday, May 2, 2022

Is Suffering Optional?

Have you heard this quote? 

"Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional." 

I think this idea has wormed into Christianity. Our churches. Our hearts! 

It originated with an award-winning Japanese writer, Hakuri Murakami, in his book of essays, "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running." If you Google the quote you'll find it attributed to other people as well, including the Buddhist Dalai Lama. There's really nothing Christian about it, yet....

Why do many Christians not admit when they are suffering?

Why do we feel ashamed to cry?

Why did I hear a pastor once say, when taking an offering for a widow in Mexico--"It's not like here in the U.S. where widows get a big life insurance policy..."

Would you admit widowhood contains a time of suffering? 

Or do we adapt this "Suffering is optional" baloney?

Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble..." (John 16:33). This morning I read Romans 5:3, the words of Apostle Paul. I remembered that the apostles James, Peter and John also wrote of suffering. Yet when it comes, when we're in the muck of it, no one really steps forward to admit it or help us face it.

I would have liked for someone to tell me on the night my husband died, "You are entering a season of suffering and profound pain. It's also a time of infinite hope, sacred spaces, rich wisdom and undying love." 

But I didn't have any relationships that were capable of that at the time. I hope I do now. It seems there are far better words and resources available now. Yet, in the fury storms of grief, could I ever find them?

So here are a couple of articles I will share with you today, and squirrel away for myself someday because suffering, like pain, is inevitable. 

Are you familiar with Clarissa Moll? She's a widow and writer with four children. Sign up for her monthly newsletter---she gets it. Scroll down and click the JOIN MY EMAIL LIST on this page, or go to 

"Healing the Hurting Heart" starts around the 16 minute mark on the following video. (If it doesn't show up on your device, click the title of this blog post to get to it). I could (and have!) listened to this over and over. 

Do you wish someone would have told you about suffering (and Hope!) early on? Please feel free to leave a comment today or email me at  💗 Ferree

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