A popular song in evangelical churches these days is called “Oceans (Where Feet My Fail).” Here’s the YouTube version:
The lines “Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander / And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior” strike me. It reminds me of Jesus’ prophecy over the Apostle Peter in John 21.
“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” -John 21:18, NIV
God sometimes leads His servants to places where we do not want to go (see post here). However, it is in those places that we can be refined into individuals forged for His glory. I think it is through suffering that we are truly refined. The dross of pride is siphoned off, and what really matters comes into focus. It is those who suffer and choose to walk through the suffering who are some of the deepest and most profound people that I know. They are “old souls” tendered by life’s trials.
Suffering can teach us humility. It reminds us that the world is not in our control. We are finite and limited beings. We are not God.
Suffering can remind us of our common humanity. It provides a place of contact for others as suffering is a truly universal human experience.
Suffering can drive us into our Savior’s arms. It offers us an opportunity to discover Immanuel, God with us, even if that experience is primarily through individual people He sends our way. We can learn firsthand that Jesus is truly our friend and worthy of our trust.
I know I would not have wandered to this deeper place without the Holy Spirit leading me through such dark valleys of adultery discovery and divorce. While I am never thankful that evil happened to me, I am thankful for the depths such an experience provided to refine my character, broaden my grasp of common humanity, and deepen my faith in my always faithful God.