Creative Suffering

Thursday, June 27

6-27By Barbara Howard of Independence, Missouri, USA

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

—Luke 1:78–79

Listen to the story of the plagues of locusts that devastate the countryside of South Africa. Hordes of insects come in cycles. They cover the land, devouring every plant in sight. Landowners run out and try to drive the locusts away. It is useless. Like a tidal wave, they sweep over the countryside. The land lies stripped and bare from their destruction. Then the insects, gorged from all they have eaten, die. They cover the ground in piles of corpses.

Now the heartbroken farmer must act. He rakes them together and plows the predators underground. From the plowing, and from the remains of these despicable creatures will come the greatest crop he has ever grown.

We can accept human suffering and tragedy in this way. Beethoven finished what some consider his greatest work after he became deaf. Milton wrote some of his finest poetry after he was blind. Some people have been able to take pain and affliction and use it as strength.

Viktor Frankl describes this powerful use of suffering in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning. Living in the death camps of Nazi Germany, he came to believe and live the principle that regardless of the circumstances, life held great meaning. He used his suffering creatively. He affirmed there is a dimension of life that we experience only through pain.

The life of Jesus is the lived-out principle of creative suffering. May we develop the courage to use our suffering creatively.

Prayer for Peace
In the despair of our illnesses, God, give us strength to survive. In our survival, give us hope that we might focus our minds on life. In our living may we creatively engage in community with others. God, help us recognize blessings in trials. Help us creatively share the peace of Christ.

Spiritual Practice: Connecting with God as Center
Connect with God through journal writing or contemplation. Open yourself to God’s presence and share what flows from your heart and mind. It might take the form of a prayer, psalm, or poem. Try to write or meditate at least five minutes each day.

What do you experience? Is this an effective way to connect with God? What surprises you? What new God images or questions emerge? What deepens or changes in your relationship with God, Christ, Spirit?

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will not dwell on my darkness, but I will center myself on Christ.

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2 Comments

  1. This article is so very thorough, all I can say is “AMEN”

  2. Linda Fields

     /  27 June 2013

    Sent from Huawei Mobile

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