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The Joy of Suffering!

Is suffering meaningless? I suppose without having the experience of great joy in the midst of or shortly after suffering one is tempted to conclude the there is no benefit to suffering. It is paradoxical. Jesus suffered on a cross propelled forward to his death by his passionate love for us and desire to do the will of his Father. In love with his enemies, even as reviled by them, willingly lays down his life to save us. Bittersweet unrequited love. He laments, "I have longed to gather your childen together...but you were not willing". (Luke 13:34) He "gave his back to those' who beat him," his "cheeks to those who pulled out" his beard, He "did not hide" his "face from mocking and spitting".(Isaiah 50:6) He was on fire and caught up in the mystery of unconditional love; the Kingdom of God, here and now.

Experience the mystery for yourself. Reach out to someone, perhaps an enemy, or someone you fear and love them with everything in you, sparing nothing, for no reason at all. This is perfect joy! But you are afraid of being hurt or rejected or perhaps something else. God tells his people 'be not afraid' 365 times in the bible, once for every day of the year. Unconditional love is not something we are used to because we are oft times slaves to our own desires. But that is not who we really are. I believe we are goodness and pure love at our core. Like streams that run below the rocky surface. This Love flows within us waiting to bubble up to the top. Love is not something we do, it is something we realize we already are and so become.

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