Suffering Teaches Us
Life seems beautiful and full of charm when we are young. A young person makes long and long plans for his career, love life, marriage, and children. But, as we get older, we feel like life is getting sharper and shorter. Our parents get ill, friends get divorced, family members age, and siblings make their own ways. We attend weddings as well as funerals.
It is hard being human. There is much unavoidable suffering that comes with being human. There is physical suffering from illness and trauma, emotional suffering from heartbreak and betrayal, mental suffering from stress at work and living in modern society, and spiritual suffering from feeling disconnected within oneself and from something greater than oneself. What do we do when there is unavoidable suffering? What do we do when there is severe physical trauma, heartbreak, or spiritual loss?
On our bad and tough days of life, when another challenge is thrown at us, we start wondering whether we are able to bear this harshness anymore or not. The Life that used to seem endless in our teenage years starts speeding up faster and faster. Our days and nights become full of pain and the struggle to have a sound sleep becomes real.
Is possible that suffering, instead of being something negative, can be one of the greatest gifts to bring out one’s humanity — if we allow it to be. The key is to learn to cultivate patience and presence with the experience, and in this way learn and receive the gifts that come from the suffering.
For every illness, every pain, is a blessing — it is a gift that can teach us, that can help us to grow as individuals, if we will allow it. But in order to allow our suffering to teach us, to transform us, we have to take responsibility for ourselves.
We have to come face to face with our current experience and not run away from it, not try to hide from it, and not try to find someone else to take it on or take it away from us. To take responsibility for our experience is to embrace our humanity, to embrace who we are as individual humans, in this very moment.
Suffering Draws us Closer to God
How many of you are on your knees talking to God daily when life is pretty good? Perhaps your life is not perfect, but it is not a freakin’ mess.
Suddenly, a crisis comes along, and the tables turn. Suddenly, God becomes important. You start begging Him to do something. You know, change the circumstances and remove the suffering. However, God sees it as an opportunity for us to realize we cannot save ourselves. We need help.
Everything God does, He does for a reason an infinitely good reason. He does not waste His time and He does nothing arbitrarily. God only does good things. Every moment of every day we are experiencing the unfolding of the great drama of God’s perfect providential plan.
In His wisdom, God has chosen suffering as one of the primary tools He uses for the encouragement of the people.
All suffering is a test. Each trial exposes the genuineness or lack of genuineness of our faith. When a trial pushes a person away from God, that exposes the fact that faith, in that area, is not real. When suffering drives a person toward God, that exposes the fact that his faith is real.
Suffering basically Humbles us.
Suffering teaches us that we are not masters of the events in our lives; that it is not everything we want that comes to us; and that we must accept the things we don’t want. Suffering teaches us to surrender, that is, to be obedient. By bringing us pain we do not wish for ourselves, suffering teaches us that God’s will is more important than my own will.
Suffering can make us more Empathetic
Most intelligent, thinking people who have suffered just about anything—whether it’s the sudden loss of a job or the death of a loved one to a serious illness—feel more compassion for people who have endured similar experiences. And the ability to empathize comes in handy in all sorts of situations. Being able to put ourselves in another person’s shoes makes us better bosses and colleagues; better spouses and lovers; and better friends. It helps us to feel a deeper and more satisfying connection with all sorts of people.
Suffering Makes us Stronger.
When, eventually, we get through our ordeal, we are wiser, more experienced and capable than before. Learning from our difficulties, we don’t need to be told to avoid them in the future. We are more confident in dealing with life’s ups and downs. What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.
These days, it’s accepted as common knowledge that any suffering challenges the brain, helping to keep it healthy, active and nimble (in much the same way exercise helps the body). When we’re going through something difficult, we are faced with all sorts of small puzzles to solve–questions. All the problem-solving we are forced to do in order to get through a tough experience is a great work-out for the brain. And researchers think that even depression may sharpen our mental skills.
Never fall into the temptation of taking the easy path. In life, there are no short-cuts. Can you imagine being operated upon in a life or death situation by a doctor who cheated his way through school? Just as there is always a price to pay, there is a prize (reward) that comes with every suffering we face in life.
Suffering is not a form of Punishment
You might think that suffering is a form of punishment – one of life’s many ways to get even with you. But that’s far from the truth. It is not a form of punishment but rather a form of cleansing and purification.
We could gain a new Appreciation of Life
A near death experience or a major loss can serve as a good reminder that life is valuable and time is precious. Surviving something horrific may give us a better appreciation of the ‘little’ things in life, like looking at a colorful flower or hearing a child laugh.
We may build Mental Strength
Surviving a stressful life experience could teach us that we’re mentally stronger than we once thought. Enduring tough times provides an opportunity to draw on inner strength we never knew existed. Overwhelming hardship may serve as a reminder that everyone is vulnerable to tragedy, but we are emotionally equipped to cope with whatever life throws your way.
We may Experience Better Relationships
Enduring a tragic experience may strain some of our relationships. But, hardships can also help us grow closer to others. A crisis can serve as an opportunity to see who is really there for us during life’s toughest challenges. We may experience a deeper sense of connection with those who matter to us the most.
The people who stay with us in our ups and downs are the treasures of our life. Never make them feel avoided or isolated because of our behavior. These people are precious than all of your money, power, and fame. When life hits you really hard, these are the people that help us in keeping our head high and make us strong enough to compete with life for the next battle. Value the right people at the right time so that there would be no disappointments at the end.
Through Suffering We are Born Again
We might not see this right now, but through suffering, the parts of we that are dark and impure (and trust me, there are plenty), are being washed away so that we can return to your Self and become all that Life created you to be. Through suffering, you are born again.
There are many incredible things pain can teach us, but we need to listen. And if we do, all that was once bitter will be sweet, and all that was once dark will turn into Light.
Suffering and indeed Pain is a great teacher. We learn more about life in tears than in joy.
Do not panic when life forces you to a stop. Instead take time to develop your skills, think through your emotions, analyze your relationships and recalibirate your perceptions. Because pain that seems as a challenge and punishment can be a great way and source of learning only if we are willing to benefit from it.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you.