“A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.” Martin Luther
Can you imagine the emotions felt by Jesus’ disciples, family, and other followers on Saturday, the day after He died? Saturday – the day in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday (Easter) when no one knew for sure they’d ever see Jesus again?
The knot in their stomachs when they woke up on Saturday morning and their first thought was their Savior couldn’t save Himself?
The rock bottom they hit because a boulder blocked them from their living stone, cornerstone, and rock? All three of these – living stone, cornerstone, and rock – described Jesus in 1 Peter 2.
Those kinds of days, when we can’t find Jesus, used to be harder to get through until I understood the need for and the worth of suffering. I used to pray for my family’s happiness, not holiness. I still pray we’re happy and that none of us have to deal with humiliation and devastation.
However, now I’d rather we suffer, be saved, and serve others than to settle for less.
Since last year started out painful, I thought a lot about how to set a godly example for suffering – how to make my “Saturdays” sacred instead of scary. Having that mindset seemed foreign, but I couldn’t shake it. In the past, I had one goal when it came to pain – don’t feel it. I spent every bit of energy I had trying hard to stop the pain, trying hard to run away from it, trying hard to numb out.
When I tried hard to change in 2020, I thought I might lose my mind trying to do the opposite – suffer with grace – while failing miserably. Some days I literally rolled around on the floor for hours and cried. I skipped breakfast and lunch and used up half a box of tissues before I got up.
On those same days, I read my Bible consistently alongside devotional books by L.B. Cowman, Streams in the Desertand Springs in the Valley. Even though most churches shut down, the one across the street had in-person services every Sunday. I watched inspirational videos and met online nightly with writer friends.
The way I chose to spend my time suffering spoke louder than lecturing others about how to spend their time suffering. I’d be nothing but a bad example if I threw pity parties more than I prayed or wallowed more than I waited on Him.
Some days were a tossup, but thankfully I got through most of my grief before family and friends tired of listening to me. Well, they were probably tired, but before they refused to keep listening.
As it turned out, the solution to getting through Saturday meant I let go of trying hard and, in its place, I spent time with Jesus even on days He felt dead to me or I felt dead myself.
In This Together,
FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because these blog posts are a manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. My blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is the subheading. I’m over-the-top grateful to have you here. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and comments.