Suffering: a gift?

Lord, when I go through hard times, all I feel then is the pain. I often wish I could die. Looking for a way to escape it, I call out to you. To friends as well. But I receive only momentary relief. There seems to be no apparent reason for what’s happening. I don’t even bother looking for one.

And yet, so often when I have suffered, sometimes for a long while, the pain lifts and amazingly my life feels like it’s been renewed. I find new ways of being there for people who are hurting. I have greater compassion. Lord, I feel you using me to bless others.

Having been encouraged by your presence, I’m able to pass this encouragement on. I’m able to let those who suffer know that the hope I’ve found can be their hope as well. More than ever, it’s not hard to persuade them of your love.

Though I couldn’t see it at the time I was suffering, I came to realize there was value in it. It was like a gift, without which I could not serve like I do now. More than ever, I want to help others seek you, Lord.

Remember how my life changed, Lord? I found motivation, courage, and joy in doing things I’d never done before. New opportunities opened up.

Lord, you know how much I have suffered in this life. But throughout you have taught me some amazing truths. I’ve learned that it’s not good to live for ourselves alone. When we live only for ourselves – our own well-being and pleasure – life becomes like a dead-end journey. We no longer see a reason for living. The joy we do feel is shallow with little meaning in it.

Many of us suffer the realities of mental health issues and all the troubles that come with it. But the understanding we gain is exactly why we can offer so much to others. Like I’ve said before, we are not less than others, we are not inferior. Our lives have great value. We can make contributions in ways people without mental health issues can’t.

We need to consider something else though. While we’re depressed, as we’re suffering, how do we live? How can we make the lives for those who care about us easier? Do we have any control over that?