You know the passage which encourages, "So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up" (Gal. 6:9 NRSV); but you're not quite sure what a season of harvest would look like, how such a season could possibly come to fruition, or even if a season of harvest will arrive at all. So you trudge through another day, barely hanging on to your sanity, praying that Christ will still love you in spite of you and your weaknesses.
Having been through this type of season myself, allow me to offer you three quite encouraging pieces of advice. First, don't be so quick to rid yourself of a little suffering. Second, learn how to use these seasons as a means of gaining strength for yourself along your journey. Third, God is holding on to you much more firmly than you are holding on to Him -- He always has, and He always will.
Suffering and Embracing
Many of us in the West shun any type of suffering; in a sense, we are addicted to feeling good at all times in all seasons of life. Yet we live in a world of suffering on a very grand scale. So living our lives in feelings of euphoria at all times in all seasons is just unrealistic, unearthly. We suffer, if you will, from wanting heaven on earth in this life. But in order to get to heaven we must encounter earth.
Jesus promised us times of trouble (John 16:33). No one understands the human condition as does Jesus. But He also promised to be with us always, even to the end of the world (Matt. 28:20). He Himself didn't shun suffering (Heb. 5:8). Likewise, encourages Henri Nouwen, "the way through suffering is not to deny it, but to live fully in the midst of it." Instead of trying method after method of ridding youself of any kind of suffering, learn to live victoriously in the midst of your suffering.
Strength from Suffering
No one is trying to confess that this is easy. But instead of allowing suffering and troubles to have the upper hand in your life, turn the tables, and make suffering your servant. Embrace and own the suffering in order to conquer it, control it, and thus gain strength from it. Either suffering will control you or you will control it. How so? You don't deny your suffering, as do Buddhists and other advocates of Eastern religions, but you acknowledge its presence, and confess that Christ is with you in the midst of the suffering.
We do not nurse the illusion that we can hopscotch our way through difficulties. For by trying to hide parts of our story from God's eye and our own consciences, we become judges of our own past. We limit divine mercy to our human fears. Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering end up disconnecting our suffering from God's suffering for us.
Just as when St Paul, prior to his conversion, persecuted the church, and Jesus confessed that Paul was actually persecuting Him (Acts 9:4), so Jesus is present with us in the midst of our suffering. We imagine that God's presence is only with us in times of praise and comfort. But we neglect the fact that when we suffer, He is present with us, suffering alongside of us. With this knowledge in mind, we understand that our suffering affords us a strength we too often neglect.
Source of Strength
Jesus informed us that without Him we could accomplish nothing of true value (John 15:5). But if He is present in the midst of our suffering, then by His grace we can gain His strength for our journey. When we ask a question such as, "How am I going to make it?", we assume that we'll "make it" by our own strength. This is not true. In principle, we are taught to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, thus indicating that we are responsible for the efforts we are to pursue in spiritual disciplines (Phil. 2:12). But we also learn that God is the one giving us the ability to pursue these spiritual disciplines (Phil. 2:13). He is the source of our strength.
You must learn to not let your emotions or feelings dictate the course of your life. Just because your suffering seems insurmountable does not mean that your issues actually are insurmountable. If nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37), that will include the issues of your suffering. You will "make it," friend, and you will make it because of the grace and power of God, not your own.
 Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning into Dancing: Finding Hope in Hard Times (Nashville: Word Publishing Group, 2001), 6.
 Ibid., 6-7.
This post was written by Anonymous.