The Light of Faith, and Reality of Suffering

“Faith is not a light that scatters all our darkness, but a lamp that guides our steps in the night and suffices for the journey. To those who suffer, God does not provide arguments that explain everything; rather, God’s response is that of an accompanying presence, a history of goodness that touches every story of suffering and opens up a ray of light. In Christ, God wishes to share this path with us and to offer us his gaze so that we might see the light within it. Christ is the one who, having endured suffering, is “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2).~Pope Francis, “Lumen Fidei”

We wish that having faith meant living in a land of sunshine and rainbows. It’s true, that God does bring joy and peace. The fact is, though, life isn’t perfect. Even though we have God at our side always, there is most definitely suffering. Yet He journeys with us through the suffering, and allows us to grow stronger through the storm. He holds our hand and keeps us moving through the blinding rain. Our faith guides our steps in the “nights” of our lives. It doesn’t mean there will be no nights. God is with us in our “story of suffering.” He brings a brighter chapter after that suffering–and He invites you and your faith to be strengthened through the agony. His Son, who endured the greatest suffering of all, perfects our faith.

We can’t understand suffering. Living Christian lives doesn’t give us the answer to “why?” But we can take hold of faith, the light that scatters the darkness. We can walk ahead, step by step, always holding the lamp of faith. That faith, and the hope that accompanies it, will give us the glimmer to journey through even the darkest of nights. It will bring us to daybreak, where we’ll behold His face, and one blessed day be able to understand and rejoice always.

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