Life is full of suffering. I’ve been asked repeatedly as I’m sure you have: If God truly loves us, why do we suffer? The simple yet deeply complicated answer is that Jesus didn’t come to get rid of pain and suffering. He came to transform them into something beautiful. He said “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”
He came to take our worst moments and give them true meaning and purpose.
Sometimes, I do not feel like I have suffered as I feel many do. I feel blessed to have been spared affliction for the most part. Yet, I also realize that there are many little griefs, annoyances and pains that do add up to something other than bliss.
I had a morning a few weeks ago where life momentarily fell apart for me. All three of my children had been throwing up, my daughter had just missed a bucket and covered the sofa. My oldest son felt the urge and instead of using the bucket beside him, ran for the bathroom. He got sick in the tiled hallway on the way and slipped hitting his face on the hard floor. When he looked up at me with blood pouring from his mouth, my heart almost left my body. Running over, I pulled a baby tooth out from the gore and mentally lost it believing he had damaged his permanent teeth.
Even though I wanted to despair, I had the chance to turn it all up to the Lord.
I wanted it all to be worth something; to count.
So how do all the little things that bother and hurt us in this life serve the greater good? Nothing was lacking in Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. So why did St Paul say, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church.”
That is a strange thought for me. Why would we assist in salvation? Well, we don’t HAVE to but Jesus allows us to unite our minuscule fraction of suffering with His Cross to grow closer to God and serve our neighbor on Earth and in Purgatory.
How do we lift up our sufferings to Him and unite our sorrow with His?
I choose to give it to Him in prayer with a morning offering. Or, as the little chances arise I whisper, “Lord, I offer up this pain. Let it have meaning.”
The beauty of uniting our sorrows to His Cross is the truest form of loving our neighbor as ourselves.