Suffering is not grace but the context in which grace resides and grace takes that residing context and makes it instrumental to its good work in us. The residency of grace always transforms. The context transforms from suffering to glory in the lives of those surrendered to grace.

I have recently gotten together with friends I have not seen for thirty years or so. In catching up with each, the one theme that runs in everyone’s story is that life hurts. As we talked it was story after story of being broken. It is inescapable. Every friend has been marked-scarred. There is death, divorce and disease throughout the storyline of many.
What divides the stories is how their hearts/faith responded to the pain it, either being softened or harden.

Each encounter deeply moves me. All sadden me. What divides my response is that some inspires me and others frustrates me. For I see some become better and others become bitter. What has been the dividing line between bitter and better is those surrendered to His grace and those who have not. It is not that they have something innate in their personality to make it through suffering better. For those in the camp of glory and grace comes all types of personalities and histories. Neither are those in the camp of bitterness are of one personality trait. They are as diverse as the other group. It is simply, to my observation that they some have surrendered and in that surrender, have trusted and others have not.

One day suffering turns to glory in its fullness, until then we know it in the shadow of the grace we cling to each day in the context of our struggle.

To those who have surrendered and trusted along the difficult path of death, divorce and/or disease, I just wish to tell you I see your beauty and rejoice.

To those trapped in bitterness, I pray for eyes to see and ears to hear of the grace He has and that you would be able to surrender and trust.