There’s no doubt that life can be difficult at times. No matter how hard we try to escape, it’s inevitable that we will encounter some form of suffering almost every day. Sometimes we will face devastating problems. More often, we are forced to deal with minor annoyances such as irritable children, unpleasant weather, and tiredness.
No matter what the cause or severity, suffering can weigh us down and even cause us to lose hope. Fortunately, there are ways we can deal with suffering that will not only help us to survive, but can actually bring us peace.
1. Ask for Help
One of the big mistakes we make when suffering is neglecting to ask for help. Prayer is an incredibly powerful tool that can help us endure even the greatest suffering. On the night before He died, Jesus prayed to His Father and was sent an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43).
Ask your friends and family to pray for you. Ask the Lord for help in carrying your cross. Seek assistance from Our Lady and the saints. While your problems may not disappear, you will be given the grace to cope with them.
2. Don’t Waste It
Although it might not feel like it, suffering can be a great gift. When we suffer, the Lord invites us to share in His mission. In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul gives us an idea of just how powerful suffering can be:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church. (Colossians 1:24)
At first glance, it may appear that St. Paul is saying that the suffering of Jesus is incomplete. This is absolutely not the case. By His death and Resurrection, Christ redeemed us and opened the gates of Heaven. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ (the Church), however, you and I are invited to share in the Lord’s suffering and assist Him in the work of redemption.
This is known as redemptive suffering and is a great gift and privilege. He did His job and now invites us to do our part. Don’t waste the opportunity!
3. It Won’t Last Forever
No matter how badly you’re suffering, it will not last forever. All suffering is temporary. It will either go away in this life or when you die. This simple realization has gotten me through some very difficult times. Even though it might not feel like it, take comfort in the fact that your suffering will come to an end one day.
Also, make it a point not to waste it while it’s here. The Lord is giving you a chance to assist Him with His mission. St. Therese of Lisieux was known to enjoy suffering, because it drew her closer to Christ. While we might not be that zealous, we can at least learn to view our suffering as an opportunity and not a curse.
4. A Ticket to Heaven
Although it’s very hard to recognize while we’re going through it, suffering can help us to get to Heaven. And what awaits us there is infinitely greater than anything we can imagine. Saint Paul was no stranger to suffering, and in his letter to the Romans, he reminds us that if we suffer with Christ, we will one day be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17). He also assures us that the reward that awaits will be well worth any suffering that we endure in this life:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18)
5. Thy Will Be Done
While it’s undeniable that suffering is painful, we often make it more painful by rejecting it. Accepting the difficulties that the Lord allows us to experience can lead to great peace. It can also provide us the opportunity to show God that we really do mean it when we pray, “Thy will be done.” By rejecting the suffering that comes our way, we not only increase our pain, but we let the Lord know that we only care about following His will if it’s convenient.
Although suffering can be challenging, these simple reminders will help you to cope with it. Even though it might not feel like it, we will never be given more suffering than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). Continue to take one day at a time and lean on the Lord for help. You will not only find your crosses bearable, but you will even begin to feel the Lord’s supernatural peace…
Even in the midst of your suffering!
Woman at Window Photo © Logan Bannatyne/LoLoStock / Dollar Photo Club