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Suffering: How to Suffer Correctly

I was sitting one night talking with a dear friend of mine and he asked me “How is it that you are always this way? This light?” I began to share the secret. It was all in my suffering. Now you may ask yourself ”what type of suffering could she have ever gone through?” Or “How does suffering help?” Well both can be answered with “you would be surprised”. Now I understand to really help some people I will need to dig a little deep. So let’s begin. As a child I suffered violation for years. Some I exposed, some I did not. I grew up very conflicted, having been introduced to sexuality, but knowing it was ordained for marriage. Despite statistics and popular opinion I decided to still save myself for marriage. And I was determined. Every guy I dated knew my wish and I would warn them before hand so that there was no confusion. This was something extremely important to me. At 21 I was raped. My dream of giving what was left of my innocence was taken from me in a moment although it felt like a lifetime. I found myself broken and suffering but not suffering correctly. I became a drunk and would show up to church still drunk from the night before. I was lost! It took time but I began to find myself and my place again. Then at 27 while out of town with loved ones, I was horrifically raped by a man who was like family to me. I was in shock and suffered PTSD for a year without ever knowing it because I refused to tell. The anguish was beyond my control. I could not sleep from night terrors. I isolated myself from my family. I hated every man except my father. My mind, my soul was broken. After a year while visiting with family my dear Uncle felt led to ask me if I had ever been raped. Being that I am a terrible liar I had no choice but to bring it all to the light. We talked with my Aunt and she told me something that changed everything. She said “There is an anointing that only comes with righteous suffering”. Please read that again. Being a believer does not exempt us from suffering. We all suffer the consequences of our choices as well as the results of the wrongdoing of mankind. Either way we have a Book that helps to guide us on how to suffer correctly. Christ is the permanent example of righteous suffering. And in His suffering He tells us to be like Him. If it were impossible He would never require it. Now does this mean volunteer myself to the evildoing of mankind for my sake? Absolutely not. When violated, whether as an adolescent or adult, we are handed something we never asked for nor desired. That is why it’s called violation. And is why it happens mostly to children. It is a violation against their innocence. Many who have been violated as an adult were violated as a child. Because the enemy does not wait until you are able to defend yourself. He is ready from the beginning to kill, steal, and destroy. So he uses vessels to give this horrendous thing to you because it is difficult to cling to God when you are holding what has been undesirably handed to you. The lie is this, “I must learn to manage both”. This is a lie. Although I went through the necessary resources such as counseling, affirmations, breathing exercises to help my anxiety. The lie was that I would learn to manage. Simply not true. Five years later and it still feels like I’m telling someone else’s story. Now the key in all of this was letting that girl from 5 years ago die. It seems so harsh but it was absolutely necessary. Philippians 3:10-11 says “My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.” This passage is my life’s passage. My Aunt revealed a way of suffering that I did not realize existed. I simply knew I did not want to suffer like the time before where I almost lost myself because I knew that I absolutely would have lost myself this time. So I had to be conformed to His death and TRUST that His sovereign hand would raise me from the dead. And Glory to God, He did! He didn’t just pull me out of the grave, He cleaned me up. He removed my grave clothes and clothed me with royalty. My newness makes room and opens doors for me. He gave me diamonds for dust. Beauty for ashes. My life is the result of God‘s everlasting goodness and covenant with His Word. I know His Word is true, I am the evidence of it. Maybe you have suffered differently in your life. Maybe it was not violation. Maybe it was divorce or abuse. Perhaps you are the violator and cannot live with the anguish of your choices. If so, I have the solution. His name is greater than any other. He is the lifter of our heads. What I love most is that He is not limited by our way of thinking. He is able to deliver both the victim and the violator. His love and Grace is never ending. It is uncommon to hear that He loves both the oppressed and the oppressor but it is an absolute fact. My greatest victory was not confronting my rapists and giving them a piece of my mind. It was looking at them as souls used by the enemy and loved by the Father. Praying for their deliverance so that they too can be free from bondage. I know this is not popular. But I also know the Glory of God that goes beyond the grave. If you are suffering in any way I implore you to lay it all down before the Father. Die to the old self so that you may live again. Allow life to bloom again. Hosea 6:2-3 says “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.” He never leaves us to drown. But we have a responsibility to press to know Him. Don’t be afraid to suffer. Only life can come out of it. Don’t believe me? Ask any woman giving birth!

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