Making Sense out of SufferingThe topic of assisted suicide and euthanasia is topic now and sadly becoming legal in many states. In fact even elective abortion is in the same category. How many times is abortion (the killing of an innocent child) justified by the suffering the child or the mother may endure? This article isn't about those issues mentioned, but about the issue of suffering which underlines them. In every case suffering is the issue and the reason why people justify their support and use of these murder services. Understanding suffering can help us to understand why we should oppose these things. That is the focus of this post. If you would like to read my stuff on life issues please go to my other blog unbornhumanrights.blogspot.com
Why would people vote for these forms of legal murder?
Because they don't understand suffering correctly and they don't know that suffering has value! They see suffering as a bad thing only. To the world suffering is something to avoid instead of embrace.
But suffering when joined to Christ's suffering death has infinite value. Christ embraced suffering! Sure in his humanity he felt anguish over his impending suffering, "saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. ( Luke 22:42-44 ESV)
Christ received in himself all of the suffering due to sin of the entire human race. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor 5:21 ESV)
But instead of allowing fear to overcome him he accepted God's Will for him. He knew that suffering, his suffering infinite value, and it was God's Will that mattered. Likewise our suffering has value precisely because Christ's did and still does. He teaches us that it's not our will that matters, but God's!
Rejoicing in Suffering
I know it's hard to "rejoice in suffering" and in fact that statement goes over the heads of most people. This is a message not easily understood by the world. But, once we realize that suffering equals sanctification and being closer to Christ we can begin to rejoice in it. Who on earth suffered more than Christ and his martyrs and Saints?
As Christians especially suffering Christians we must ask ourselves, "do I love Jesus enough to suffer for him?" That's really the question! Think of it this way not even the Son of God was spared suffering, and the most agonizing suffering to say the least! So what makes us think, or why should we be spared suffering? This is why suffering is a great honor. It is one way we can become like Christ imitating his passion. This is how suffering can be sanctioning to our souls.
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoiced in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Romans 5:1-5 ESV)
Sadly for those who aren't Christian suffering is only seen as a horrible thing to be avoided. It's the issue of being of the world rather than God! Many people even reject God altogether because of their lack of the true understanding of suffering in a suffering world. To those people reading this I say that Jesus/Christianity is the only way to truly make sense of suffering.
If you identify as a Christian and still support abortion, assisted suicide, or euthanasia, I strongly urge you to rethink your stance! As I said before "do I/we love Jesus enough to suffer for him?" And I will add, "do we love our neighbor enough to suffer with them?" Or, do we just cast them aside, end their life, because we don't want to be bothered with their suffering? If we truly "love our neighbor as ourselves" we can no longer justify murder of any kind!
Until next time God bless! Thanks for reading. I hope you like it, and can make sense of it. :)
Sincerely Joanne Utke
Here are some resources to help you make sense of Suffering. I want to urge all of you to be open to a culture of life instead of surrendering to this culture of death that plagues this world.
This is 1 of 2 parts that will be posted by Catholic Spiritual Direction, look out for part 2 when it's published.
Responding to Assisted Suicide Issues
Why does God allow suffering? St. Paul Explains the Meaning of Suffering
A Catholic Reflection on the Meaning of Suffering