It certainly is surprising what we learn about ourselves in suffering.
Some of it is good. We may learn of our toughness or strength (with God’s grace of course).
But our weaknesses are also exposed. A lot of the struggle we have is because of our own weak faith. We don’t have peace because we are fighting God. We don’t feel whole because we refuse to accept it. We are so depressed because this life matters so very much to us. Yes, those cracks in our faith really begin to show.
The first step is, when in the midst of these circumstances, to take note of our faith, our weaknesses. Why do we feel so distressed when St. Paul says he has learned to be content no matter what the circumstance?
Then, we turn to God with those weaknesses and ask that He help us to begin to change. Ask that He show us how to accept our suffering, how to have peace. And yes, maybe even someday to embrace it like those great saints we keep talking about.
It’s a blessing, really. I mean we could walk around with our weak faith never even realizing these defects, never growing. But suffering shines a spotlight on it and gives us the chance to ask God to help us change it. And if we want holiness more than anything, (and hopefully we do), then we want to identify and change these weaknesses.
For me, it was pretty much all of the things I mentioned. I really wanted to be happy in this life. It’s so hard for me to be satisfied knowing I will have happiness in Heaven. It seems so intangible! And right along with that, how can I be happy in this life when my life plan doesn’t go the way I thought it should, the way I set it up to go? Funny, aren’t we? We want what we want. We need to want what God wants.
Praise God for this chance to grow in holiness!!