Here's an interesting philosophical and theological question: is there a kind of "suffering" when we obey God?
I think there can be sometimes, but only from a purely anthropological standpoint. There's no question that when we obey God, we are sacrificing our will in favor of His. It's not easy, right? "Sacrifice" suggests hardship. But it's a very different type of hardship than the more typical modes of suffering...but would you agree that a case can be made that in obeying God, there is a part of us that 'suffers?' Maybe sacrifice is more the right word.
Here's the paradox: when I give up eating Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards anytime I want, there's certainly a sacrifice, and no one can tell me that I don't suffer! :-) But, there's no question that by choosing to eat more healthily, I'm better off. I'm thinner, I feel better about myself, etc. So given the choice, to sacrifice is without question better for me. So too with obeying God, right?
But even so, can you say that there is a part of us that suffers when we obey God? The reason I ask is that I've been mulling over an idea about a chapter in my book with the working title "The Suffering of Obedience." It feels wrong to have a chapter titled that, but I do want to address the reality in our lives that when we choose to obey God, we have to put certain things to death, and in so doing, we may even grieve things, even if they were not good for us to begin with. I think it's an honest take on the way we live, whereas a hyper spiritualistic take would be one in which we naturally "rejoice" that we've made the "right" choice.
I'd say the hardest thing about losing weight has been giving up those darn Reese's Blizzards, and there's never been any rejoicing over giving those up (which I haven't done entirely--I had one today, in fact.)
I remember someone I know who gave up smoking long ago, and she said that every time she smelled cigarette smoke, she wanted one. She was glad she had given up smoking, but it was forever bittersweet.
I think that's a certain kind of suffering, right?
I'm very curious what other people think.