Paradox: good suffering

Last night I was blessed by some of my favorite storytellers. With humor, guitar, smiles and hearts they told the life of a seed.

How gently a seed is planted, with a protective coating to shield from the cares and thorns of life. As she sprouts, life begins. Breath. Wind. Water. Sun.

Reaching soft fingers to the sky, no longer fragile but strong, now a plant. Proud. Tall. Grown. Harvest.

Then comes the threshing floor. Where the once helpful protection now is binding, restricting, hiding the soul underneath. Ripping. Tearing. Shredding. Hitting.

You see, grain becomes quite attached to chaff. Almost as if they’re one. To most eyes they are. How are we to be separated from our appearance? Masks? Sins?

This process is painful. Cutting. Stinging. Bitting. Bleeding.

Suffering.

How could something so painful possibly be good? How do we enter heart break, sickness, death, betrayal, loneliness, hopelessness and see beauty?

Certainly jumping up and down at the chance to suffer is ludicrous. Sign me up for getting hit with a club a couple hundred times!

And yet, isn’t this the path of discipleship? Suffering happens regardless of our commitment to Christ. All struggle. And if they don’t, they’re in denial.

The difference lies in how we approach the struggle. Trying to handle the bad on our own can end up bending us over and down.

As we learn to submit to Christ the suffering doesn’t stop, in fact it may increase. But, God uses the pain, death, bitterness in our lives to rip away the chaff, to uncover an unseen gem.

The more the extra, fluff, superficial, old self is pried away, the more like Christ we become. The more freedom we step into. As God reassembles our broken pieces, we become whole in a way never possible before.

Through brokenness we are able to step into wholeness. By taking away our eyes, our chaff, we are able to see more clearly. Through our suffering, God can take us to the good.

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