Here and Now: Suffering

​There are other positive things we could note about living here and now.  But it would be a mistake to think that the blessings of present-moment living are limited to them.  We must include suffering as a portal for our formation.

Long ago, David spoke of it, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger” (Psalm 23:4).  Other psalms likewise show life to be a mixture of pleasure and pain.

Such an understanding of life is described in the classic paradigm of consolation/desolation.  Of course, we want to experience consolation (e.g. happiness) in our lives, but God is equally present to bless us in times of desolation.  It is in our suffering where we experience the fullness of the truth that God is with us always.  And that makes every moment a God moment–a moment when grace can come to us in relation to our need.  

God does not wait outside our lives until our sufferings cease and things “brighten up”–God walks into our darkness and is present in our trials.  It is in suffering where we learn one of the great lessons of living here-and-now: we are never alone.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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