“The fruit of the Spirit is … longsuffering”
Galatians 5:22 KJV
Suffering is the great mystery of the Christian faith. Whether we ourselves have to suffer or only witness it in others, it doesn’t seem to make any sense at all if a loving God orders all things in the world. “What is not clear to many who observe Christianity and Christians themselves is what part the suffering plays in the shaping of Spirit-filled people – why God stands a handsbreadth off at times, and seems indifferent to the prolongation of their woe.
But those who endure by the gift of God’s Holy Spirit do not talk like this. Their utter trust in God’s wisdom and love forbids such questionings. Indeed, they are sure that suffering is not a mystery but a revelation, and they can even exult in it. The mystery remains for more mundane minds. Pain is pain. If there is some alchemy of the spirit which really transforms it, it must be very deep. The nature of pain is not altered by a metaphor. If pain refines one soul, it embitters another. It cannot be suffering as suffering which works a blessed work in the soul of the saint. It must be suffering received in the meekness of the Holy Spirit: suffering willingly accepted in the belief that God can do something with it. At least a little of heaven must mingle with these stresses of earth. Only God himself could beget such triumph in the soul of a human being” (W. E. Sangster, The Pure in Heart, p124).
The Holy Spirit does more than make you clap your hands and sing choruses. He enables you to walk with Jesus to the cross.
Lord, undergird me in my bearing of the cross.