“Although Jesus deeply affirms our suffering, and although he catches each tear and profoundly understands every trial we have walked through, the suffering isn’t meant to be the focus of our lives. Jesus must be the focus.”- Ann Swindell
As Ann Swindell concludes Chapter 7 of Still Waiting, she asserts we miss the point when we take Jesus’ affirmation of our suffering as carte blanche to worship our suffering. As a result, suffering feels bigger than anything else in life, especially Jesus.
Thus, Ann observes, when we worship our pain rather than Jesus:
- a sense of self-pity seeps in
- we find ourselves thinking adversity = our cross to bear, our struggle, our pain
- that pain “worship” threatens to unseat God in His place of authority
- we make an idol of our suffering as we allow that suffering to become the biggest thing in our mind and heart
Therefore, Ann emphasizes, you must ask yourself this question: Do I want to be healed? In order for healing to happen, you need to shift your focus from your suffering to Jesus. Fix your eyes on the truth of His Word. Hence, when you put your suffering above Jesus, Ms. Swindell states, you start:
- seeing the endurance of your pain, suffering, and struggles as the high pitch of your experience
- demanding that Jesus heal you
- setting the end of suffering as the goal of your relationship with God
- making yourself and your suffering the center of the story you’re living
In conclusion, the author admits:
” . . . it’s hard to live in the tension of letting Jesus acknowledge and affirm our suffering without allowing the suffering itself to become the focus. It can feel like a teeter-totter constantly tipping toward one extreme or the other. . . . to avoid navel-gazing, we must practice Christ-gazing.”
Consequently, Jesus has the final word, not our suffering. As Ann says, that’s good news indeed!
Today’s question: How would you witness that Jesus deeply affirms your suffering? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Risk – the only way forward”