As a pastor I am able to see more suffering in more ways than many others can because people in many different stages of life and from very diverse backgrounds give me access to their lives. Of course, this is true for all Christians in a healthy local church. We see physical, social, spiritual, economic, and mental afflictions everywhere. This week I am seeing a lot of it. The following words from Sibbes are good for us all as we seek to know Christ in times of turmoil.
Christ chiefly manifests himself in times of affliction, because then the soul unites itself most closely by faith to Christ. The soul, in time of prosperity, scatters its affections, and loseth itself in the creature; but there is an uniting power in sanctified afflictions, by which a believer, (as in rain a hen collects her brood) gathers his best affections unto his Father and his God.
- Richard Sibbes, Divine Meditations and Holy Contemplations, #218