In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Suffering. It is easy to believe in a gracious God when everything is good. But what about in the midst of suffering? In the loss of loved ones? The loss of a job, property, your life-savings, or economic collapse? What about when your health is crumbling? That’s when the rubber hits the road. Do you still believe at that moment? Those are the moments of truth, of testing, to see what is true. Though, if we are to be honest, in our day our unparalleled good-life—in terms of being relatively free from the basic suffering of previous generations because of unprecedented wealth, a stable and cheap food supply, better nutrition, better medicine, better health, longer life—our ease of life means that we are constantly tempted to unbelief by our comfort. (Rev. 3:15-19) And if not unbelief, than certainly boredom with God, what previous generations would have called acedia or sloth, a disinterest in holy things. In that case a little suffering is good for the soul. For it drives you to your Lord. It turns you from your preoccupation with yourself and how well “actualized” you are, or how you can’t figure out why you are numb to life, bored. Suffering actually brings things into focus. It causes you to cry out to the Lord. It exposes your heart and whether there is any faith in the Lord left there. As your physical hardship or struggles with temptation force you to turn to Him.