Day 40 – Embrace Suffering
Brother Lawrence sometimes expressed things in an peculiar way. “He kept himself close to God, praising and blessing him with all his strength, spending his life in continual joy.” Yet at the same time, he was “hoping that God would give him something to suffer when he was stronger.”
Did Brother Lawrence really want God to send suffering his way? How are we to understand this?
Actually, the Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray “deliver us from evil”. We don’t need to invite suffering to come our way. We face enough already!
So, on one level, you have to wonder if monastery life was so routine and uneventful for Brother Lawrence that a little change and some “suffering” every now and then were welcomed!
Yet, on a deeper level, while it’s our human nature to avoid suffering, we all know that our greatest life lessons often emerge out of the more difficult situations we face.
Romans 5:3-4 does say, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Who doesn’t want to see their faith develop into full Christian maturity?
Brother Lawrence perceived that through suffering we tend to seek God more profoundly.
When life is going good, we don’t seek God’s face as aggressively. But when we face personal disappointments, family difficulties, physical illness, unexpected job challenges, even a global pandemic, then our prayer life becomes stronger, we stay closer to God, and we live our lives more sensibly.
Thus Brother Lawrence even hopes for some suffering to come his way, aware of the inexpressible and glorious joy that comes through trials:
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” In this way you “are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:6-8).
Let us learn to embrace suffering with both hands for our personal transformation and a fuller fellowship with God.
As Brother Lawrence noted, when God sees we are strong enough to handle suffering, we can anticipate a season of great growth.
Action Step: That difficult situation you’re facing? Embrace it.
This is God’s Word for you today,