Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Gospel Revealed Through Suffering

A couple of months ago I read an article that confirmed my decision not to pursue fertility treatment. The authors, a couple who had struggled through infertility themselves, spoke about infertility as a mystery. Just as when disease strikes a child, we can’t understand why some people can’t conceive. The article describes the human fear of mystery and pain. It goes on to say that we have come to fear pain so much that we attempt to master it at all costs. “We have little patience for the process, even less tolerance for the unknown, and certainly no love for mystery, particularly the dark mysteries of suffering.” *

Modern medicine is a good example of our quest to master our pain. Fertility treatment falls into that category as well. “Infertility is a stark, monthly reminder of mortality and weakness. Infertile couples come to live with an issue that is beyond their control, and their situation is a vivid reminder to us all of the stubborn truth our culture would rather conveniently forget: that we do not control our lives or the world.” I wasn’t really sure why I felt so strongly that I didn’t want to have treatment at the time, but when I read this my feelings all made sense. “When we do this we live out a theology of suffering which does not deny the pain, but puts it in the broader story of redemption.”

We’ve got to change our attitude towards pain and suffering. I’m not saying we shouldn’t go to the doctor or take Advil for a headache. But, in general, pain is not something to be afraid of. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” (James 1:2)

Over the last twenty posts, we’ve attempted to share with you the pain of infertility. If we stopped there though, you wouldn’t get to see the beauty in the pain that we’ve experienced. The gospel has been revealed through our suffering. We were broken humans, separated from God, thinking selfishly about what we wanted. Jesus has redeemed us and given us peace and joy at a time when there would otherwise be despair.

When we have children, I’m sure I’ll want to protect them from pain in any way possible. But, I pray that I won’t get in the way of God trying to grow them in Him. People who experience pain know God in a way that others don’t. Through our suffering, He reveals His character. He uses every ounce of our pain to grow and mature us. Then, we can go out and comfort others who are struggling in the same way that He comforted us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

If I had a quote that represented my life it would be, “pain only lasts a little while and it is never in vain.” Every ounce of pain I have experienced in my life has been used to grow and bless me. The blessings that have come out of my pain exceed anything I could have dreamed up for myself. God is sovereign! When I experience pain I can rest assured that he has my best interest at heart (Jeremiah 29:11).

* “Infertility: Mastery or Mystery” by Michael and Shareen Kelly
December 2006 issue of By Faith Magazine

Next Post: 5/22/2007

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