Rev. Carolyn Stephens
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:19-23
Who would we be without hardship?
In his book “The Road Less Traveled” M. Scott Peck begins with the opening sentence “Life is difficult.” Surely, this is not the opening line most of us, if not all, would want to begin, or caption our life story. But it is the truth, nonetheless, about life in general. As Peck writes, “This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we really see this truth, we transcend it.”
I am inclined to believe that most of us, if given the opportunity, would sidestep every difficulty that life brings, and choose the easy path if given the chance. We would readily go for the easy way out then choose to deal with the hard stuff of life. The truth, however, is that suffering is inescapable, but it can make us wiser, stronger, and more resilient if we allow it.
Any growth we will experience in life will only come about through suffering, in one form or another. From birth to death, the life cycle of humans is one that is filled with challenges and hardship, and for us to move from one life stage to another, we will have to go through them. However, for every new stage that we have attained, we become more mature humans – physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It is the struggle/challenge that made it possible.
The journey of faith is one that is strewn with challenges. And we cannot bypass them no matter how we try. As we walk the path, we will be bruised and afflicted. We will have low moments, and we will endure hardship. But we, like the prophet, must draw on what we know is true – that we will not be consumed because of God’s great love, for the Lord’s compassion will never fail. And should we take the time to consider how far we have traveled, we will see that it was worth it.
Prayer: Lord, you walked the most arduous path of life, and you did it for all humanity. You did not flinch in the midst of suffering, but endured to the end. Help us to trust in your love and ability to see us through whatever storms life may bring, for great is your faithfulness, O Lord. Great is your faithfulness.
Light our path now, we pray. Amen!