If your faith has no room for suffering it’s only a matter of time before you abandon it.

I grew up in churches that preached victory in everything, at every moment. There was no room for the tragic passing of a loved one; no room for financial devastation; no room for psychological illness; no room for difficulties in marriage; no room for real life.

Most of my friends that grew up in the same churches have since abandoned their faith. Many of them for this very reason—they experienced tragedy or suffering in some manner in which their faith was completely unprepared.

Life is not an uninterrupted string of one victory to the next due to having faith in a good God. There is no example of this in the faith—at least not the Christian faith. Search the Scriptures. One will only find examples of men and women struggling in the faith; one will find the faithful suffering the worst fates precisely for the faith: imprisonment, exile, dismemberment, execution. Let Christ’s own life be the example. Who would be foolish enough to say He suffered for a lack of faith?

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St. George of Lydda, 4th century martyr who’s life and suffering in death is considered one of the great triumphs of early Christendom.

Simply put, if your faith (and/or your church) has no room for suffering then it has no room for authentic Christianity, and you will be left believing in the most pathetic sort of fairy tale. Abandon it before the true storms of life hit. Build yourself up in the historic faith of the fathers and learn that there are many forms of defeat, mourning, and suffering which build one’s life, not the contrary.

As the good gardener prunes the plants he wishes to grow to their fullest, God, far from removing believers from suffering, will use the suffering of life (those concomitant with living in reality) to grow His followers into the greatest version of themselves possible. In fact, the very act which Christ instituted to bring a person into eternal life—the sacrament of baptism—is literally a death to one’s former life and a birthing into one’s new life. From a Christian perspective, true life, far from excluding suffering, actually requires it.

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