Thinking. Suffering and patience

Wise words from a friend today inspired me to pick up Henri Nouwen's book Turn my mourning into Dancing - finding hope in hard times. The first chapter was so good that I just have to share bits with you.

"While Jesus brought great comfort and came with kind words and a healing touch, he did not come to take all our pains away. Jesus entered Jerusalem in last days on a donkey, like a clown at a parade. This was his way of reminding us that we fool ourselves when we insist on easy victories, when we think we can succeed in cloaking what ails us and our times in pleasantness.

"Jesus' way is the patient way, the suffering way. Indeed, our word patience comes from the ancient root patior, "to suffer". To learn patience is not to rebel against every hardship... Instead Christ invites us to remain in touch with the many sufferings of every day and to taste the beginning of hope and new life right there, where we live amid our hurts and pains and brokenness."

"I am less likely to deny my suffering when I learn how God uses it to mold me and draw me closer to him. I will be less likely to see my pains as interruptions to my plans and more able to see them as the means for God to make me ready to receive him. I let Christ live near my hurts and distractions."

"At the centre of our Christian faith we perceive a God who took on himself the burden of the entire world. Suffering invites us to place our hurts in larger hands. In Christ we see God suffering for us, and calling us to share in God's suffering love for a hurting world. The small and even overpowering pains of our lives are intimately connected with the greater pains of Christ. Our daily sorrows are anchored in a greater sorrow, and therefore a larger hope."