We face suffering due to various reasons: old age, separation from someone or something we love, sickness, death of our dear ones, not being able to achieve what we desire, contacting someone or something we dislike etc. The Bible teaches that suffering is one of the consequences of human sin against God (see 1Corinthians 15:21; Romans 5:12).
In the Apostolic Letter of Pope St. John Paul II “On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering”, he states: “The witness of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ have handed on to the Church and to mankind a specific Gospel of suffering. The Redeemer himself wrote this Gospel, above all by his own suffering accepted in love, so that man “should not perish but have eternal life”. This suffering, together with the living word of his teaching, became a rich source for all those who shared in Jesus’ sufferings … down the centuries” (No.25).
In the second Letter of St. Paul to his disciple Timothy, he exhorts: “Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but take your share of suffering for the gospel in the power of God…” (2 Timothy 1:8). When we suffer, God is right beside us; nothing can separate us from His love. Further, St. Paul asks that we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (see Romans 5:3-5).
How can we walk with God through difficult days?
1) First of all, we must believe that God will turn our sorrow into great joy
2) We must bring our pain to God than to run away from him
3) Instead of filling our life with worries, we must fill our life with comforting Word of God or His message.
Difficult times in life may harden our hearts and may cause us to go away from God. Hence, it is hard for us to believe that joy is possible during such situations. Nevertheless, the Psalm 23 brings us the hope of joy: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Let us believe what the Psalmist says that even if we face trials and tribulations during hard times, the Lord will never abandon us.
God bless you
Fr. Arul Joseph V.