Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4
My grandmother lived with my mother during the late stages of Alzheimer's, and I remember my mom explaining to my children why their great-grandmother acted the way she did.
"Something in her brain is broken," my mom told them, trying to get them to understand the bizarre and sometimes mean behavior my grandmother displayed.
Then the day came when I got the news that Grandma has passed away in the night. I dropped the kids at a friend's house and went to my mom's. We gently washed Grandma's body and redressed it, getting her ready for the funeral home to come pick her up. I'm crying now writing this, because I miss her, but also because it was a profound experience. The thing that struck me most that day was that she was finally at peace from all the demons her broken body plagued her with.
As a person living with chronic illness, and almost daily pain, there are days when I long for the relief that moving on from this world will bring. The healing of my brokenness. There are many Christian platitudes that seek to bring comfort to the broken.
Suffering makes you grow spiritually.
God will give you strength for today.
Your witness will bring glory to the Lord.
You've probably heard all these and more. But they aren't really just platitudes are they? They seem like it when people say them all the time, and when you are weary from a constant physical battle. But they are based on God's Word. They are based on the love of God, which we have access to through Christ's own broken body.
So, let's grasp hold of these truths right now - even if just for a moment, or an hour, or a day. God knows that we will all struggle to lean on him for comfort. But today let's believe the platitudes. Let's meditate on the same old scripture and ask God to make it new to us and real in our lives.
Lord, give us strength for this day, and use our suffering to grow us and use us in this world. Help us to look afresh at the truths of your word, and take them to heart, not dismiss them as just platitudes. Amen.