Please don’t tell me to “Just give it to Jesus”

 

Please don't tell me to "Just give it to Jesus." Thoughts on Suffering and Faith. Liturgy of Life. liturgyoflife.com
Bo Bartlet’s Assignation

 

It’s true, I believe that all things come from God and all things hold together in Him.

I believe that in Him is perfect peace and that in the midst of agony we can find ourselves secure in Him.

 

It isn’t that “Just give it to Jesus,” is totally wrong. In our Christian walk we may have powerful experiences of  peace and rejuvenation as we surrender to the will of God.  But there is also a misunderstanding in the church that if we just pray hard enough or if we just surrender sincerely enough we will certainly be cured of our illness and our pain will definitely cease.

We forget that our Jesus wept tears of blood, He was beaten and crucified, He felt real pain and He continues to bear the scars of His suffering.

When we cry to God He is often silent and our burdens remain. Yet in those moments He is present, He sits with us, as we bleed, and vomit and scream and die. He is with us through suffering and because of Him we can endure it, but He is not our escape from it (we will look a lot deeper into this idea in our future books, please join us in a couple weeks when we start The Problem of Pain and then for Silence).

.    .    .

This week we wind up the Liturgy of Life Reading Group’s first book of the year, A Grief Observed. We have read of Lewis’ turmoil as he struggles through the loss of his wife and he doubts about the goodness of God.

 

Here in this last chapter we find Lewis still grieving  but at the same time he has found his way back to God and has a growing peace about his ongoing relationship with his deceased wife.

 

“Grief,” he says, “is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend can reveal a totally new landscape.”

 

He goes on to say,

 

The notes have been about myself, and about H., and about God. In that order. The order and the proportions exactly what they ought not to have been. And I see that I have nowhere fallen into that mode of thinking about either which we call praising them. Yet that would have been best for me. Praise is the mode of love which always has some element of joy in it. Praise in due order; of Him as giver, of her as the gift. Don’t we in praise somehow enjoy what we praise, however far we are from it?

Lewis describes peace found through suffering, and hope in a resurrected God. But he is also clear, there is no shortcut.  It is through suffering that he got there.

If today you grieve, or fear, or seek answers from God that are not coming, you are not alone.  You are as Christ was on the cross.  You are as every single one of us will be at some moment in our life. You don’t need to give it to Jesus, He has it.

Just as God was sovereign when the savior of the world was crucified, Christ remains with us as we suffer.  You will find Him, just keep standing, and know that He is standing with you.

 

 

This post is part of a series from the Liturgy of Life Reading Group. We are currently reading A Grief Observed. We would love to hear from you. If you blog feel free to link up with us every Wednesday and share your thoughts on our latest book.


4 Comments

  • Lindsay Reply

    Love this post, Erica! I find as Christians we are quick to offer platitudes, some of which do more harm than good, when we encounter suffering people. The much harder, and much greater work, is sitting with someone in their suffering. But it’s exactly what Jesus did.
    I am reminded of how people who go through a traumatic experience like war or an accident often develop strong bonds as a result of their shared suffering. Suffering is unavoidable and terrible. It can also be a gateway to an intimate relationship with Christ that is not found in times of ease.
    I have loved Lewis’ honesty and rawness in this book. Looking forward to the next read!

    • Shannon Reply

      This is really interesting insight, Lindsay. How you connected shared trauma bonds to an intimacy with Christ in our suffering. I’ve never thought of it that way before, definitely food for thought.

      Erica I loved this book so much. It really helped me understand the grief of a loved ones death. Such a valuable piece.

      • egjarrett Reply

        I’m glad you both enjoyed this book. I think of all the books, at least that I’ve heard of, it is the best at helping us actually get ourselves into the heart and mind of someone grieving. I’m really grateful for it.

        The idea of shared suffering also reminds me just of marriage and family life. Our relationships consist of sharing suffering and celebrating (both, thank goodness) which is what gives us a common remembrance, and a sense of shared history.

    • egjarrett Reply

      My husband and I were talking the other day about how grief, like beauty (though sort of in the opposite direction) is actually an experience of God and His love, that through grief we are drawn closer to Him, sort of like Lewis’ “house of cards” with each grief we learn more of the truth about ourselves and of Him.

      For a few weeks we are going to be reading through “Let us Keep the feast”, this is a book about liturgical seasons and right now we are at the beginning of lent. Every year I value more having seasons to focus on different parts of the spiritual life and this is a time to reflect on our own failures and weaknesses, it is a time to remember what it is to live in darkness so that when Easter comes we can truly celebrate being in the light.

      Thanks for reading along Lindsay, I’m so glad to get to know you here.

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