While my fellow twenty-somethings were having baby showers and discussing what colors to paint the nursery, my husband and I were discussing advance directives and determining how much money we should deposit into our FSA. We frequently feel as though we are in a perpetual Lent, a common feeling for those of us who are in prolonged seasons of suffering. Despite our suffering, we still await in hope for a joyful new beginning, free of health challenges, so that we may join our peers in living a more normal young adult lifestyle. As our twenties continue to go by, and the “new beginning” that we hope for has not yet come to fruition, we are reminded that we live in a fallen world and were never promised a life free of suffering; however, we are promised Jesus’s constant presence amidst our sufferings. One of my most favorite Bible verses is John 16:33: “in the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” This Lent, we plan to hold onto this verse tightly as we unite our sufferings to Jesus’s suffering and reflect on the victory He has already won for us through His Passion and Resurrection.

Jesus already suffered for us so that we can have perpetual hope, even in the seasons that feel like a perpetual Lent. Though we are unsure if our dream of living a normal young adult lifestyle will be realized, we know that all hope is not lost because we are ultimately living for the greatest hope of being with the Lord in Heaven. In the words of St. Therese, “the world’s thy ship, not thy home,” and in Heaven, we shall obtain “gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10). Every suffering we experience on this earth can be sanctified for the glory of God and the greater good of our souls. When we go to Confession or make a good examination of conscience, we are cooperating with this sanctification process. Lent provides us with a beautiful opportunity to repent, and to renew our hope in God’s goodness and in Heaven.

I constantly struggle to feel the goodness of God and perpetual hope, especially in the midst of sorrowful seasons. This is something I will likely struggle with for the rest of my life as I carry my cross; however, I know that my feelings do not change the truth that God is good, and that hope is always available to us in our sufferings. Furthermore, none of our suffering is in vain even if it feels that way in our darkest hours. Just as Jesus suffered redemptively, we can also suffer redemptively with the Lord through the seasons of our lives that feel like a perpetual Lent so that we may one day, by God’s grace, participate in the joy of Heaven. Lent after Lent, we remind ourselves of the importance of hope, redemptive suffering, repentance, and prayer, as we desire to grow closer to the Lord and join Him one day in Heaven.

Regardless of what you are waiting for, whether you are waiting for a baby or a cure (or both), we can wait with the hope and joy of knowing that Jesus has already overcome every suffering on this earth. Our lives may feel like a perpetual Lent, but without the Passion we would not have the Resurrection. We are asked to repent and pray with hope as we take up our cross and walk with the Lord- Via Crucis- through our sufferings to Heaven.

A. Rossi is a 20-something in her third year of marriage. She loves spending time with her husband, reading, writing, crafting, and advocating for those with chronic illness and rare diseases.