Paraphrasing Pope Saint John Paul II, he explained that the reason for suffering is to return us to the foot of the cross. Does this resonate with you?
In other words, when life is good and going our way, it is easy to lose sight of God. We feel self-assured and content with our ability to control our experiences and outcomes. “I don’t need faith,” we might say. “I’m in charge. I’m fine on my own. I trust that I know what is right and wrong.” This might feel true for a time. But will this confidence last? And what happens when life becomes complicated, and we find the distinctions between right and wrong demand greater discernment and clarity?
Suffering has a way of redirecting us. Sometimes we just get tossed around and confused for a while. Sometimes it strips us of all self-confidence. Whatever the case, however, it is meant to remind us that we are not in complete control; that God’s love and plan for our lives are much greater than we could ever imagine; and that if we are willing to go to the foot of the cross, where His mother grieved as she beheld her only Son, so might we also be strengthened.
So today or tomorrow, when disappointment, pain, or suffering call us to discern greater meaning and clarity, may we remember that it’s at the foot of the cross where we will discover our most profound insights. It is in the surrendering to the discomfort of breaking open that we invite God to sit in our hearts. It is here that we allow understanding and growth and flourishing.
When life is easy, we don’t think we need anyone or anything. But when it’s challenging, we are called to more faithfully depend on and trust in God.
This is not weakness. This is Salvation.