Our Contemporary Worship is based around themes and series, as opposed to the lectionary readings. For Lent we decided to do a five week series on suffering. While I am usually the primary preacher for this service, several factors led to Pastor Mark taking the led for this series. Out of the five weeks, I am only preaching one Sunday of the series ~ this Sunday.
The particular topic is "Learning from Suffering." While I normally am pretty conscientious about getting my bulletin done on Monday and working on my sermon through out the week, something has been blocking me from delving into it this week. Here it is Friday (my "day off") and I haven't even picked out the Scriptures for Sunday ~ never mind finished the bulletin.
Something tells me that this topic may hit a little too close to home, so my procrastination is actually avoidance. While I have done significant work to understand, accept and grow through the trauma I experienced (suffered, lived through, endured, survived) nearly six year ago, I'm still not sure what I have learned from it. I could say all the cliche things ~ I learned that I am stronger than I ever imagined, that life is indeed a precious gift, that forgiveness is actually possible. Those things are all true .... but it is also true that I am still learning. Some days are better than others. I certainly do not have it all figured out ~ and probably never will.
So maybe that is what I need to say. Sometimes the road is long and fraught with pot holes and one-ways and wrong turns... but God is there, even when we don't feel it, even when we think we are alone and are scared. Maybe what we learn from suffering is trust ~ trust that even when life seems bleakest there is hope. It may be just a glimmer at first, but the light does shine in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.