Yes. It is a bit of a b*d word in our politically correct but spiritually stupid world. A sure conversation-staller or worse yet, due to a lack of understanding, a topic that can sometimes bring alienatation between good friends or cause even the most hopeful of us to succumb to the sigh and slump of a defeatist attitude. Even in religious circles where we all claim to adhere to the undeniable value inherent in that very thing, I find that we do our best to avoid it at every turn. We want to be successful, comfortable, happy, a wonderful and shining example of how Jesus can make your life so much better, so much fuller. Full of what??!?
I will venture to say that anything you have in your life right now that is of any real value came with some measure of s*ffering attached ot it. Think about it for a minute. I am. Marriage. Friendship. Children. Contentment. Healing. Joy. Love. Patience. Progress. Long Hair. Playing music. Writing a book. Peace. Winning a medal. Building a home. Abolishing slavery. Learning confidence. Walking. Strength. Authority. Faith. All these things do not come cheap! So I am determined to put the word back in my vocabulary and not flinch when I say it. Come on, you try it, too...s*ff-...ssuf-...suffe- (help me, Jesus!)...suffering!!
"Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want." from 1 Peter 4 (The Message)