“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
—Paulo Coelho, Alchemist
Suffering, it can be argued, is a highly subjective state, and it means so many things to so many people. Suffering, it could be said, is the stimulus of all religion—besides aspects of the divine underpinning religion itself. Certainly within the Christian context the scope for suffering is central to the gospel message.
The Christian is called to suffer well, in living after their Lord.
Perhaps we can view Christian theology in this way: with our eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and the Perfector of our faith, we live connected to the eternal hope—we are, after all, redeemed. The ultimate Christian dream is eternity.
And yet, we can touch eternity, even momentarily, when we transcend the fear that lies within the suffering, by accepting the opportunities to draw on God’s grace to carry us through many trials.
The Value of a Godly Vision for the Abundant Life
Our dreams we can call visions, and these are nothing strange or weird, because they are simply our creative imaginations melded with the passion of our hearts.
Our passions were always meant to offset our suffering.
In other words, we quell the negative power within our suffering by flushing our spirits through, and immersing our souls in, the powerful positive Presence of the living God—through the Holy Spirit living in us... Salvation is now.
When we explore for our vision for life we become open, more and more, to the capacities of God to speak through us, from our hearts into our minds such that we can become aware.
A vision for life beats the threat of death—the spiritual death of being physically alive whilst being emotionally and spiritually immobilised in our fear-ridden suffering.
Jesus went to the cross in order to defeat the powers of sin and death over us; and because salvation is now, whilst we are saved now and for eternity, salvation living really is a ‘now’ prospect. It begins and continues through the nurture of a vision for life beyond the fear in our suffering.
The end of suffering itself is relative. When we purge ourselves of the fear in our suffering, our suffering takes on a resplendent divine quality, and we begin to become less impacted by it. Suffering well is a capacity that the gospel makes as a specialty.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.