Simone Weil wrote “Two things pierce the human heart: beauty and affliction.” I like the beauty part, not the affliction. As a matter of fact, I do all I can to avoid being pierced by affliction. After all, who wants to experience heartache and suffering. But I’m currently rethinking my stance on this one.
My wife convinced me to read one of her chick books - Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. (which is very good). She writes about the necessity of afflictions using the concept of "bittersweet." “Bittersweet is the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul.”
I resisted this statement when I first read it. I don’t want to believe that affliction is necessary for life. But God kept bringing a Scripture to my mind to convince me otherwise:
“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” Philippians 3:10-11
Suffering with Christ is a necessary part of experiencing Christ’s resurrection life. As I look over my life, I have seen this to be true. God has used affliction to reveal my inadequacy and therefore help me trust in His strength. He has used affliction to build perseverance and character. He has used affliction to make me less comfortable in this world and help me long for a kingdom that is yet to come.
Here is the truth that God is impressing on me: Beauty may point us to Christ but it’s affliction that makes us like Christ.