Love and Suffering: The Infinite Connection

Love and suffering. Two words and concepts that have been rolling around in my head. Ideas that keep confronting me that needed a bit of time to merge into a coherent framework-if that’s what you could call this post.

Love and suffering. Can one love without pain? Is the real test of love the willingness to suffer? It is easy to say “I love you” when it doesn’t cost you anything, but then is it really love? And suffering, what is that? Compared to the horrendous things that individuals across the globe have experienced, I know absolutely nothing of true suffering.

Love and suffering. So maybe I don’t know the pain of being tortured for my faith, or having my family taken from me and my home destroyed. By the grace of God, I have not been called to that at this time in my life, but He still calls us to smaller things, and, to my shame, those are the things that my flesh rebels against, and the areas in which I so often fail. The little things…the things that inconvenience us. Do we shrink from these? Every day we are faced with little choices, events where God asks us to give just a little of ourselves for others, and in so doing, ultimately to Him.

Giving. This is a big one. I have a confession. When it comes to giving, I am stingy. I don’t like to share. I don’t like to share my things, my money, my food (eat my leftover take-out and I might never speak to you again, and don’t even think about taking a bite of my dessert), or my time. God has really been working on me in this area, and I’m not there yet! I don’t like to give when it means less for myself, when it means I might have some discomfort-when it’s going to inconvenience me. Daily God calls us to give of ourselves, and I don’t know about you, but my flesh doesn’t like it.

I think we would all like to believe that we would heroically lay down our lives for the Gospel, but what about day to day life. I think that for most of the people reading this blog, that’s the place we are at. One verse that has always stuck out to me and, in a sense, haunted me, is when King David makes the statement “Can I give to the Lord of what has cost me nothing?” So often that is what I do. I like to live just on the edge of what is comfortable, of what doesn’t really hurt, but is that love? Is that really love? Think about it.

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