This post is overdue by a week. On Sunday, May 30’s reflection, I spoke about this reading:
Brothers and sisters: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption,
through whom we cry, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. Romans 8:14-18
I talked specifically about suffering as Jesus did; without complaining, fully united to the Father’s will, knowing it was for the good of all.
I want to suffer well, no whining or complaining, having interior peace and exterior calm. I fall short. How? Well, I don’t like to suffer alone. For example, if I am doing housework I expect the people who live with me to be doing it as well. There are other subtle ways we don’t suffer well. Maybe we want others to notice our hard work, so we talk about how hot it was while mowing the lawn. Some people suffer with loud sighing and eye rolling.
Now, I think it is fine to talk to a trusted friend or spouse about your troubles or hurts, but when we tell everyone about it, repeatedly – that’s not helpful. And if you need help asking for it simply and clearly will usually get you better results than suffering in silence with a difficult problem or something you need help with. In life, there is suffering. Some of it is because of the human condition, or we might take on others’ problems in unhealthy ways or fail to act appropriately. Sadly, there is also suffering inflicted upon us by others; this should not be ignored or excused. No one has the right to harm you. The notion of suffering well does not apply in those circumstances.
When Jesus suffers in his passion and death, he does so with full knowledge of what it will cost him. He takes on the suffering out of love for us. In our own lives, if we can take the sufferings of our life and bear them as he did then we can move forward in our life. Sometimes, it means we do need to stop complaining. It means putting our problems in perspective and not focusing only on the problem. This is where the phrase, “whatever you focus on grows” can be helpful. Change your focus to how you can solve the problem, rather than bemoaning it.
Ultimately, our suffering can help us grow in learning to follow God’s will and draw us closer to Christ if we make an effort to emulate Christ.