I am convinced that true victory cannot come unless there is a period of difficulty. I am not especially hard pressed at the moment, however as I meditate on the idea of success it seems that the most successful people have endured suffering. During an interview several months ago I was asked about the idea of suffering. “How have you suffered the most,” they asked, “and how has that suffering impacted you?” The idea of suffering is relative depending on the people involved and the situation. For many people, the “suffering” that I have endured is minor; mere child’s play. In fact, some may say that I cannot begin to understand the idea of suffering. I am not writing for that audience, however I welcome an educated debate regarding their opinions on suffering.
Those who know me personally understand my daily battle; an endless battle for sleep, respite and time, that I have endured for over a decade. A friend of mine who is also a single parent of a special needs child told me about five years back that she was reading a book on suffering. Five years ago at what could be considered a lull in my plight I questioned the severity of the word. Perhaps I was in denial that we were indeed in a state of perpetual suffering and difficulty. In fact, I know I was in denial and it was not until as of late that now I understand. She was trying to make sense of the situation. She was probably questioning the same God and asking the same questions.
Beauty for ashes. We would sing a song that talked about beauty for ashes in my church in Boston. I must admit that since then God has given me beauty for ashes in so many different ways. He shows me His grace and wraps me tight in His arms just when I need Him the most.
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3