Suffering Redeemed, not Removed

By Marc Massery

View the previous Discovering the Diary .

Turn to any page of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and you find spiritual gems. Like this one:

[While I was at prayer] such thoughts as these began to distress me: Is not perhaps all this that I am saying about God's great mercy just a lie or an illusion ...? And I wanted to think about this for a while, then I heard a strong and clear inner voice saying, "Everything that you say about My goodness is true; language has no adequate expression to extol My goodness." These words were so filled with power and so clear that I would give my life in declaring they came from God (359).

With all the tragedy in this world, perhaps you've wondered about God's goodness. Perhaps you've endured abuse, gone through a divorce, are suffering from a debilitating disease, or have lost a loved one whom you never thought you could live without. Or perhaps some other tragic circumstances have led you to question the Lord. No matter the reason, we can find solace in knowing that St. Faustina, as holy as she was, wondered about God's goodness at times, too.

But she brought these thoughts to prayer, and with the Lord's grace, she persevered.

When we have difficulty understanding the Lord, we need to remember how God responded to her distress. Because no matter what we think or feel at any given time, the Lord remains good. Our thoughts, after all, are fallible. We often get things wrong. Bound by time and space, we can only see the world through our limited understanding.

God, however, can see the big picture. In other words, though some circumstances in our lives may seem tragic, the Lord sees them in their full context. They are part of His plan for us, which is good. Now, the Lord does not cause nor desire such tragedies to happen to us and our loved ones. However, respecting our free will, He permits them to happen because He can incorporate them into His plan to bring about an even greater good.

When Jesus came, He did not promise to abolish suffering. He came to redeem it. But just as His Life, death, and Resurrection took time, so does our redemption. Even Christ suffered, especially during His Passion. However, we no longer lament His suffering and death. We call the Friday on which He was executed "Good." If our murder of God turned out to be good, how much more will our sorrows in our own lives turn into causes for joy? We just need to turn to the Lord and ask for His grace. And though it may take time, He will make our paths straight.

My prayer: Jesus, please help me not to despair when I experience suffering. Help me to remember that my perspective is finite and that sometimes I won't understand the reasons for suffering. Please give me the grace to trust in Your goodness, anyway.

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