After a pretty tough day, I was quite cheered (in sort-of a sick way) to read Mathew 5. As you can see by my recent post on suffering, I’ve had the idea that we’re meant to experience pain as we follow Christ.
I read this:
11“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Salt and Light
13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”
And I got to thinking about how all those chapter titles got added long after Jesus’ time. Mark didn’t divide it up this way. For Mark, the idea that we’re going to be persecuted is intimately connected to the idea that we, as followers of Christ are meant to be the salt of the Earth and the light of the world.
There is all this talk about how you don’t hide light sources, but you put them up where everyone can see them. And it gave me this feeling about suffering:
how we react to our pain and loss is when we shine the brightest. Any knucklehead can be happy, thankful, and gracious when things are going well. When we feel pain we are given this oppurtunity to really show the world that we have something that’s worthwhile, we possess something that sets us apart.
This doesn’t make the pain any more fun to experience. And I’m a far cry from believing that this is the sole reason for our pain. But I do believe that God uses our pain to further his glory, and in the end, that’s what it’s all about.