“The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience, You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you. . . . If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.”- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
In Chapter 5 (“Hitting Walls in Lament : When You’d Rather Not Face Your Pain”) of The Louder Song, Aubrey Sampson states that sometimes the purpose of suffering is to transform you. However, Aubrey admits, sometimes pain simply makes you angry. Furthermore, at times lament looks a lot more like frenzy and a lot less like acceptance. So, you also wonder, Where’s (insert your name)?
As a result, you not only question who you’ve become, you ask the oldest cliché question all who suffer ask. If God really loves me – and is truly a good God – why would he allow this suffering to happen to me?
In addition, we, like Aubrey, chafe at doing the hard work of staying still in suffering. Instead, we want to bypass lament and blast into the future. Skip the ekahs, slap on a Band-Aid, and move on.
Finally, Aubrey observes, many supposed tos accompany a suffering season. Thus, we’re supposed to be:
- able to step back from our negative experiences, figure out the life lesson we’re supposed to learn
- some great example of wisdom and strength
- able to gain wisdom and perspective
- more compassionate to others
In reality, those supposed tos ring true. And, as Aubrey’s dear friend Tara once texted her: “Sorrow makes us better people. Not that pain is any less crappy, but it can, somehow, actually change us for the better.”
Today’s question: How do the fires of sorrow pave the way to finding yourself? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “An object lesson – becoming one?”