May question is during complete anguish and devastation, your heart shattered, when you can not breathe, can not stand, nausea, what is this to teach us? Could it be a glimpse, fraction of what it would be like to be separated from God?
If you are referring to yourself I am very sorry and will pray for you. This can’t be easy based on your description. As far as what it means, I am not a counselor or Pastor but I thought I would just provide what help I can. The question really should be directed to God as we cannot clearly know His plans for other people. When I experience trials all I can do is ask others to pray for me when the burden gets too heavy for me to bear. However I cannot expect them to tell me exactly what the the Lord is doing.
Generally though, the Lord is said by some people to use suffering to draw His children to him which often happens in suffering. I also heard someone who was suffering say that she felt the Lord was helping her to desire heaven more and fall out of love with the world which was happening to her. I know that I’ve seen as seasoned saints live long enough they tire of the world and are ready to go ‘home’. This is NOT to say I want you to think of leaving this world. These are just things that I’ve heard regarding suffering.
I really hope you feel better. Think back to times in the past that hurt and how they did not last.
We are called to suffer.For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him. Philippians 1:29
@jptdoc Is your question more theological or is it related to something going on in your own personal sphere? If the latter, may the God of all comfort be with you and renew you in His grace and mercy. I can testify that my heart has been shattered and the Good Shepherd has never failed to lift me up as I patiently sought His face. If the former, I do not believe that God means our suffering to be a precursor to either understanding Christ’s experience on the cross or eternal separation from God, if one takes that view of how God will deal with sin. Personally, I am annihilationist, and do not think that people are going to suffer forever - though all men certainly must face judgment.
I do not think we can understand God’s purposes in these moments of terrible anguish. I do not think we are meant to try to compare them to separation from God - rather, we are to go to God in our time of need to find comfort and strength. Jesus has told us that we will suffer and throughout the Bible we see that God avoids answering the question ‘why’ directly - Job and his friends were all wrong. Jesus’ own disciples misunderstood the nature of suffering initially.
Paul the apostle felt that his sufferings were an opportunity to rely on God’s resources when his resources were spent - for the treasure in the jar of clay we call our body - the Holy Spirit in us - to shine forth so that others can see. Paul also expressed great hope hat his suffering was very temporary and not even worth comparing to the glory of eternity.
John 16:33 - I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
John 9:1-3 - As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
2 Cor 1:8-9 - We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
2 Cor 4:7-11 - But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
Romans 8:18 - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Here is a book by Vince and Ravi that addresses suffering in more depth. And below that I have provided resources related to different components of suffering that might be helpful in considering the question. C. S. Lewis’ account is particularly helpful for someone presently experiencing the heart wrenching grip of a devastated heart.
The Loss of Someone
These reflections from C. S. Lewis take an honest look at his struggle with the loss of his beloved wife and have helped many to walk through personal tragedy over the years.
The Shattering of Idols in Our Hearts
Sometimes we love something too much - a dream job, a vision for what our life ought to be like, money - and the loss of what we love shatters our hearts completely. It is possible this heart rending suffering is telling us that we have an idol - that Christ is not truly our treasure. In such a case, it reveals our need for Christ to truly fill our hearts with what only He can give.
Joni Erickson Tada suffered a knock to the head as a kid that left her almost fully paralyzed - she spent much of the rest of her life serving God in spite of such a tragic accident that led to much suffering. Her testimony is encouraging.
On the emotional level, I think we often struggle to find hope - we become discouraged. I think stories like those of Nick Vujicic can remind us of how to find hope in the midst of what seems like a hopeless journey.
There is alot you can learn. How resilient you are and how you cope with things. There is also alot you can learn in order to help others that might go through or be going through similar experiences. You get to draw closer to God and see His glory in it all. And most importantly learn how to count it all joy.