James, the brother of Jesus, tells us to submit to God. From James 4:

7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Great advice, but advice that doesn’t guarantee happiness. In the very next verse, James tells us:

9Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

Why? because, as James tells us in verse 10, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” Does this mean that we have to suffer to be exalted? Short version of the answer is: yes.

Why? Because our Lord suffered, yet took joy in doing the will of His Father. Pretty harsh, for Fluffy Bunny™ Christians, who like to see only the soft, tender, freshly-shampooed Jesus. Not the bloody wretch on the cross. We suffer with the Lord, and, sometimes, for Him. Usually not, of course. Usually, when we suffer, it is because we’ve brung it on ourselves. Hangovers, for example, really hurt, as I can attest from past knowledge. Read it in a magazine, somewhere…

We can also find the Lord in the joy of a fresh, strong, cup of java in the a.m. And in a georgeous sunset. And in the everyday things that make up our lives, good, bad, and inbetween. But those who thank the Lord for only the good things in their lives miss the point of His sacrifice.

Suffering can be good, too. Not for its own sake. But if it leads to repentance and to submission to His will, suffering becomes a good thing.

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