Tuesday – October 22, 2013; James 5:7-11

Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

I have heard it said that suffering good for us, that it builds character, or can teach us valuable lessons and give us tools to help us handle life on life’s terms.  This is all well and good and can sound very noble, but to be honest, when it comes right down to it, suffering sucks!

No one wants to suffer or to have to struggle, but it is a part of life…even if we don’t like it; and as for building character, this may be true, but speaking for myself, I feel like I have a fairly decent character already, and while it could always be better I can live with myself just fine, and would rather not have to endure suffering just so I can have it improved!!!

As single parents many of us know about having to deal with suffering and struggles…and there are times when it may seem as if there is no relief in sight, and we just need to accept our fate and continue to muddle through

In these moments there is good news: that God, who is like our perfect parent, does not want us to suffer or be in pain, but we do because our world is broken, and always fair there is hope as we CAN always  pray to God for help and support, for relief and comfort.

Then of course there are times when it seems like our prayers have gone unanswered or not answered quickly enough; however, it is good to remember that God acts in God’s own time, not ours, and sometimes God is acting in our lives before we realize it: in the person who listens to our complaints with understanding or suggestions, the professional who steps in to help, in just giving us a break in our day…showing us a beam of light breaking through the clouds, or a laugh shared with a friend.

When all is said and done, while God does not want us to know pain, suffering can teach us valuable lessons about life, and provide us with tools that we can use to face any challenge…and as single parents, we will face many challenges, and have many struggles.  Suffering can make us stronger, both emotionally, and spiritually, through increasing our faith…faith in the grace of God as given through Christ and as shared by others, as misery does NOT love company; as with the support of others we can find hope and strength to keep moving forward, and rise above times of trial.

Let us Pray

God, thank you for seeing us through our lives, walking with us in suffering and in joy, and in giving us the resources to not only survive, but flourish as single parents, and as people.  Thank you for the joy of living we have seen in the eyes of our children, and for the lessons learned, which remind us that suffering is never in vain…if it is unpleasant.  Help us to share what we have learned from our own trials, to help our children and others who are in the midst of their own suffering.

Amen

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