Suffering IS NOT Failing

There’s many different cups of suffering . . . in physical aches, emotional pain, motherhood, friendships, loneliness, marriage issues, financial hardships, rejection (writing has dealt me an overflowing cup of this one), abuse, divorce . . . we don’t deserve these cups of suffering, but even though God loves us, He doesn’t take these sufferings away.


Oh, how I wish a cup of suffering meant Starbucks getting my order wrong and therefore, ending up getting coffee wasted which results in a massive sugar withdrawal incident that has me sprinting across  eight busy lanes of traffic chasing after SpongeBob (you don’t want to know).

Our pastor’s daughter, Kristy Turner, shared the message, “Suffering Is Not Failing,” at the Women’s Retreat I attended for our church at South Seas Plantation this weekend. She shared from Matthew 26:36-46 when Jesus asks his Father to take the cup of suffering from him because he knows he’s about to go to the cross. It’s because of the anguish Jesus went through that he can relate to our suffering. Ultimately, it’s our sufferings that mold us in life . . . it keeps us humble, reminds us of our constant need for God, and benefits those around us as they see God at work in our lives.

I thought a lot of my sufferings during this retreat . . . I felt God whispering to me during her message that I’ve always been so self-sufficient because of the sufferings I endured as a child. I HAD to be independent for survival, and now it’s a difficult habit to break. I don’t admit weakness or ask for help easily. This wouldn’t be so hard if I just sat back and relaxed, but my adult life has been filled with one big project after another. Hubs often feels the need to ask me, “Why do you have to take on the world?” I just thought I liked activity, but this weekend I realized that deep down in my soul, I felt the need to prove something to myself and to the people who ignored me and made me feel insignificant growing up. Jesus reassured me that even if I didn’t do allll those things, he still loves me and I was worth dying for *wipes tears from eyes*

So will I still “think big”? Sure I will! It’s a part of me, but I’m gonna ask for more help along the way and believe my husband when he tells me that sometimes “less is more.” I’m going to take more time to enjoy the simple things in life . . . things I got to enjoy this weekend. The smell of coconut scented sunscreen melting into my skin as I relaxed on the beach, the whispering of the waves, laughing with my friends, the horizon of a sunrise, the treat of a cold Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino from Starbucks, the warm breeze and water washing over my sandy toes as I read a good book.


Keep calm and carry on!

It’s easy to get caught up in the suffering, the “failing,” and the busyness of life. But it is possible to have peace with God in all things. To end with another cliché (hey, don’t give me that judging look that says you’re a writer–you have no business posting a blog filled with clichés), “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Take a deep breath, and know that God loves you!

What about you? Have there been times in your life when you felt like you needed to think small instead of big? Have you drank from the cup of suffering and thought it was because you failed in some way?

19 comments on “Suffering IS NOT Failing

  1. When I was being bullied in junior high, I really believed God was punishing me for not being interested in religion anymore. And when I finally got chickenpox at age 14, that felt like the ultimate in my punishment. At the time, I thought I had become an agnostic/borderline atheist, but now realise that you can’t really doubt a Higher Power’s existence if you believe in him/her enough to have that kind of anger! In November of ’94, during my first semester of high school, my interest in religion and belief in a beneficent Divine Being was reawakened.

  2. I have had my share of suffering and I often wondered what did I do, why did God dislike me so much to punish me over and over again. After I slowed down and handed the wheel over to Jesus, I realized it wasn’t God punishing me. It was me trying to prove something, to do something that was against His wishes. It was like pushing two positive ends of a magnet to each other. I kept repelling, the whole time wondering why I wasn’t going anywhere, why I wasn’t connecting. Once I let go and quit trying to do it on my own, it all fell into place. Now when i get to that point where I feel I have to do it all, I throw up my hands and say “Jesus, take the wheel.” One day I’ll learn. Until I do, I’m so thankful I have a loving and patient Father and his Son watching over me.

    Great post, Jamie.

  3. Great post, Jamie! Wow. 🙂
    Ironically, I got to a point in my life when I realized that I was where I needed to be for a reason–I accepted that things had turned out the way they did and it was okay–and that was when I started writing. With words at my fingertips, I suddenly had more power over my life (at least the part that exists inside my head) than I ever had before.

    Acceptance of what is can be incredibly empowering. Thanks for making me think!

  4. Wow, this was so timely for me. God really used what you wrote to encourage me today. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your experience, friend. You are such a gifted writer!

  5. Beautiful post, Jamie. When I start to get too busy, wanting too much and feeling stressed, I sit down and make a list of things I’m grateful for. It puts everything into perspective so I can breathe again.

  6. Pingback: Songs of Destruction and Dating Nerds | Jamie Ayres

  7. I hesitate to call it suffering. It’s life. But earlier in the year, my son was diagnosed with cancer and is now undergoing chemo. He’s 23. Surely this level of suffering and by virtue of being his mom, my suffering, wasn’t at all God’s intention. But life–in a world that is flawed– is going to have suffering. The question really isn’t “why is this happening”? But rather, “OK it’s happening. Now, how do I go through this learning and open and loving and accepting?” Those issues are much harder to negotiate, for me, than the “why”.

    We don’t always have a choice on what we endure, but we can choose how we will respond to it, and wow, that’s so very difficult.

    Great post– very thought-provoking and encouraging. Sounds like the retreat was an amazing experience for you.

    • You’re so very right! No more Mr. Tough Gal for me . . . I’m calling out to God morning, noon, and night, and I’m so thankful He’s willing to answer. I will pray Psalm 30:2 for your son: “Oh Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”

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