“And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” -Job 1:21

Many of us can’t be happy people because we are afraid of suffering and pain. The renowned philosopher Dostoyevsky said, “To live is to suffer.”

You’re thinking, “To live is to suffer? Dostoyevsky is just a negative guy. He’s saying that all of life is just one big suffer-fest and then we’re going to die.”

Well, that’s not at all what he’s saying. He’s saying that, if you really want to live, I mean really live, I mean really live a sublime, fulfilled life, you have to be willing to suffer. Suffering and living go hand in hand, and that doesn’t change at all for the Christian.

Some of the greatest sources of suffering in my life have been in diapers, and crying throughout the night. On the other hand, some of the greatest joy and happiness and fulfillment is what I have in my children. When I see their chubby cheeks, I’m overwhelmed with love.

Suffering and pain. Fulfillment and joy. You can’t have one without the other.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, help me not to be afraid of pain and suffering so that I can experience true fulfillment and joy in you. Amen.

REFLECTION: Does this concept of fulfillment following suffering make sense to you? Describe an experience where both played a part.

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