I want to know Christ and power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
I am both attracted to and repelled by passages in the Bible that talk about suffering. The Bible has a different take on suffering than most of us. We think suffering, pain, discomfort = BAD, but the Bible says that there are benefits to suffering - like building character and growing closer to Jesus. I agree, but it's never something I would choose. I am the wimpiest wimp imaginable.
But I can honestly say that I am thankful for my pretty much life-long battle with depression. I would never choose it, of course, but it has brought me many blessings. It has taught me my desperate need for Jesus, every moment of every day. If I was "well" and had my life all "together" I'm sure I wouldn't feel the need for a Saviour, but I am faced with my need daily. It has allowed me to relate to and appreciate the suffering Jesus endured in His life. It has drawn me closer to Him through my weakness; His light shines all the more brightly in my darkness. It has given me incredible compassion and empathy for others who are broken and weak and suffering, and allows me to be comfortable in their presence. It has given me perspective on what is really important in life - people, not possessions; health, not wealth; endurance, not immediate "victory."
So thank You, Jesus, for blessing me with this burden, as difficult as it is to bear sometimes, and for enabling me to carry it by Your grace, and for carrying me when I cannot anymore. I pray for my loved ones, that they might find the blessings in their burdens as well.