A month ago, my husband dropped off our sweet dog, Ruby, to have surgery to remove her eye and replace it with a prosthetic. We’d tried everything in our power to avoid this surgery, but in the end, it was the best decision to ensure her greatest health and comfort. Had we left it alone, she would continue to live her life burdened by the pain that eye was causing her.
When my husband brought her home from the surgery, it was a heartbreaking sight. She shook uncontrollably from head to paw, her eyelid was swollen shut, blood emerged from her wound, she whimpered at even the slightest move, and with the cone of shame snug around her neck, she was an anxious mess.
My husband and I were in a way “sovereign” over her pain. It was we who made the decision to cause her to endure this. My husband took her to the Veterinarian. We, in a sense, did this to her.
And yet, she came to us for comfort. The only place she rested that first night was on my lap.
Hidden from her was understanding. She didn’t know why she lay in pain. She wanted us to take it away. We knew that having her go through this pain was for her good. In the end, after the suffering from the wound is behind her and the healing is complete, she will be all the better for it.
As I write this, she lay beside me, no longer shaking from pain, and better than before.
The Suffering Saint
It’s the story of the suffering Christian. It’s your story and it’s mine.
Just as my husband and I knew that surgery was for our dog’s good yet were filled with compassion toward her as she suffered, God is filled with compassion toward his suffering children.
Many times, we must go through painful trials in order to be healed of not physical ailments but spiritual ones. God uses suffering in the Christian’s life to refine us, to bring repentance, growth in Christlikeness, and a deeper devotion to God. And the believer is made all the better for it, by God’s transforming grace.
The God of All Comfort
As my pup snuggled on my lap and shook from the pain, I was struck by the picture it painted. Sometimes, we may believe that because the Lord knows the end goal of our suffering and because he knows he has chosen the best path for our lives, the path that will bring about our greatest good and joy, it’s easy to allow ourselves to think he doesn’t care about the in-between—about the grief, the struggle, the pain. But he does.
Just as my heart broke for my dog as she suffered, causing me to keep her close, the Lord holds us in our suffering and comforts us.
The God of all comfort doesn’t merely tell us to put on a fake smile and get over it since it will all be okay in the end. No, he is near to the broken hearted. He comforts us in our affliction. His heart breaks alongside ours over the suffering we face in this life.
What a gift. Suffering saints are comforted by the suffering Savior.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (1 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV)
Run to Him
I wanna run to him when trials crash over me. Just like my sweet Ruby curled up into my lap, I want to take my broken heart before my good Father and find comfort in his word. I want to seek him through prayer and lament and praise.
I’ve been deeply comforted as I’ve learned to run to Jesus when I’m faced with hardships. I hope you and I both will follow my dog’s lead and seek comfort and refuge in our Master.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 ESV)
Hey Brittany! That was really beautiful! I loved your story about Ruby — it gave me all the feels inside! I thought that it was such a relevant, relatable and sweet story about how God knows what is best for us and sometimes this will cause us to suffer, but that He is with us all the way — we just need to rest in His comfort 🙂