Latter Dad Saint Blog – Can We Find Joy in Suffering?

Greetings all.

Due to the madness of last week, I didn’t write.

I hope to do better going forward

Over the past few weeks, we have been studying the account of the Exodus in our home scripture study. It is truly remarkable how Moses was able to lead the Israelites through so many trials and tribulations. I can’t help but draw parallels between the Israelites and those trying to do good in modern day society.

Just yesterday, coincidentally (actually probably not since I don’t actually believe in coincidence) a YouTube video from Jordan Peterson popped up on my phone notifications. Peterson sat down with Fr. David Pinvoka, president of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and spoke about the lessons from the Exodus story, namely about the snakes sent to the Israelites to punish them for their lack of faith while in the wilderness.

Numbers 14:5-9 reads

And they journeyed from mount aHor by the way of the bRed sea, to ccompass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.

And the people aspake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

And the Lord sent afiery bserpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

¶ Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have asinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses bprayed for the people.

And the Lord said unto Moses, aMake thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall blive.

And Moses made a aserpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

The Israelites screwed up. They were in the wilderness and they began to put other things before the God that had set them free. As retribution, God sent “fiery serpents” who bit and killed many of the people. Moses heeded to the pleas from his people and went to God kind of hat in hand imploring him to help them out. What God did was ask him cast a serpent upon a pole in brass and those who are bitten from that point forward can look at the serpent and be healed.

This is an obvious allusion to Christ dying on the cross for us.

In modern day, there are numerous snakes being thrown our way… and we can easily be bitten. What I find most intriguing and interesting is how God handles this situation. Sure, He could very easily not send the snakes. He could not send the countless trials and tribulations our way. However, that is outside His grand Plan of Salvation. Instead of stopping the snakes, God gives them a way to become healed once they are bitten.

This is a test of our agency. This is a way that God can love us AND we keep our agency. We are going to go through trials in this life… it is unavoidable. Where we get hung up is when we become victims to these trials and forget to look to the brass serpent, the cross, or just God in general. We get so caught up in what is happening and how awful it is to stop and examine why.

Everyone has their cross to bear. Some crosses are considerably heavier than others. Take this week’s ASOM podcast guest Brooke Clay Taylor. Brooke has been dealt one of the heaviest hands this life can ask for. We talk about it in detail on the podcast, but what stands out to me is her continued zeal for life and helping others despite her tribulations. Both her and I agree that what keeps her going and happy is her unbreakable faith in God.

No matter how miserable the trials and suffering we go through in this life, Jesus is right there with us. He manifests himself through the Spirit, but also through the love and support of friends, family members, and community. Jesus is there even in the suffering.

Go check out the podcast with Brooke this week and leave us a review. We greatly appreciate it.

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