Suffering is a tough topic to write about. And I’ve been “stumbling” on the subject every now and then lately, so I’d like to write a few more words about it.

Journal

Photo credit: louveciennes (Creative Commons)

I’ve got to tell you, I am not the most experienced person when it comes to suffering, not at all. I’ve been through difficult situations, but now looking back, they don’t seem that big of a deal. Maybe that’s me, it is much easier for me to remember the good stuff than the bad.

Years ago, I started writing a “spiritual journal”. That’s not the “dear diary” kind of journal, no. I first started writing about the tough times I was going through back then. I would pour my heart out on the page (well, sort of, I actually use an app on my smartphone). Then, I would write about how each problem was solved, each challenge was overcome, how God had helped me through the tough times and how He eventually helped everything get right.

Do you know what amazed me first most about my spiritual journal? It was how soon I would forget the details of what I had been through. I mean, I remembered the facts, but I didn’t remember much of the emotions. I didn’t remember exactly what I felt or how I felt through those tough times.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have any problem with my memory, on the contrary. I do have a privileged memory. Well, except for numbers. But I remember facts with such details that it usually surprises people. But I have a hard time remembering feelings. I usually have general memories, but when I read the words on my journal, I got such a rich description of my feelings, that they still surprise me sometimes.

I’ve never had kids, but people say that women forget labor pain. I mean, they don’t completely forget, but they kind of forget. No matter how they suffer through labor, when the child is born, it erases the details. She knows that it was hard, but it doesn’t keep her from wanting to do it again. If someone asked her about having another child during labor, the answer would probably be negative.

That’s what I am talking about.

That’s a good thing, that we forget the details of our suffering. But that also makes us forget the details of how God helped us during those tough times. That’s why it was so important that I would write those facts down on my journal as well. And that journal ended up becoming a tool to encourage myself during tough times.

Sometimes, when I pray during a difficult situation, and when doubt creeps in, God tells me to check the journal. Then I see, in my own writing, how I was feeling the same thing before and how God got everything right in the end. I don’t mean to dwell in the past, but sometimes I need to be reminded of the wonderful things that God has already done.

We need to remember the lessons learned from the past, so I invite you to try it: start writing about it. You will be amazed when you look back at them, I am sure.

And remember: God is in control, and all experiences allows us to learn something, and we can use them to encourage ourselves in the future challenges we will face, and we can also use them to encourage others.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)