LOVE and SUFFERING


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Rom 8: 35-37)

Love somehow always involves suffering, in this world. Why? Because love is a God-given power, a divine force or will, which strives toward oneness (with the beloved). So it comes up against, and is invariably opposed by, “other” wills and drives in this world, which strive for division and separateness. These “other” wills seek to destroy and/or distort our God-given capacity to love, and to leave us, potentially eternally, with just the “suffering” aspect of love, i.e., “pathos” or “passion,” (like jealousy, envy, lust, despondency, or merely-human fear, - fear of loss, vulnerability, insecurity, etc.).

But in Christ’s love, in communion with Him, this “suffering” we undergo in love is not eternal, because it was taken on by Him and overcome. Christ handed Himself over to all those death-bringing forces opposed to love in this world, and overcame them, in His resurrection. Hence His suffering was not eternal, while His love, and ours in Him, “never ends” (1 Cor 13: 8). So today let me not fear “all these things,” which now and then rise up against my God-given capacity to love, and let me conquer them through His empowering love for me. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Amen!

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