Suffering and Strength – Proverbs 24-31

Suffering is not a topic I like to think about.  Who does, right?  But it is a fact of life.  We see it everywhere on a near daily basis.

Earlier tonight my husband and I were discussing how difficult it is to understand how a powerful God allows suffering of wonderful people and servants.  I have no idea, honestly.  It is so easy to want to give some platitude or cliche to satisfy our deep yearning to make sense of it all.  But those aren’t honest.

The truth is God is way bigger than we can ever wrap our brains around.  He doesn’t just work things out for one person.  In His omnipotence, He is able to see all of the multiple outcomes for all the lives involved.  But when you are in the midst of that suffering, it is challenging to see things that way.

Today I read the remainder of Proverbs.  Proverbs 24:10 really stood out to me.  In fact, it stopped me in my tracks and required me to read it over and over.  Here it is, “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!”  In another translation it says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”

There are so many ways to lose hope, to give up.  Most of our struggles are not one minute and over.  Real struggles can go on for days….weeks….maybe longer.  Sometimes losing hope, faltering, fainting can be pretending like nothing is wrong.  Sometimes it’s avoiding reality.  Sometimes it’s giving up your power in a situation.  Sometimes it’s walking away without really trying to make amends.  Sometimes it’s throwing your hands up and saying, “I give up.”  Sometimes it’s being controlled by fear rather than hope.  Sometimes it’s putting off tough conversations.  Sometimes it’s being passive aggressive rather than facing the struggle head on.

I am so terrible at this.  I would rather do nearly anything than have tough conversations.  Part of it is my personality, I realize, but it’s also more than that.  It’s fear of the unknown….those unknown reactions.  It’s fear of what people will say.  It’s fear that shows up in a big way to point out that my strength is sometimes small. So today I commit to being stronger.  The really cool thing is I get to choose everyday.  Do I choose what takes strength or do I choose what is easy?

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