This week, I have been confronted with what seems like more than the average volume of suffering among friends and colleagues. (I won't touch this subject matter related to what we all have experienced this week by watching the RNC!)
I know I work in a very large church, so the odds (of many, many people around me dealing with most every kind of suffering known to humans) are very, very high.
We are singing a song in choir right now called, "When I Don't Know What To Do". It is an incredible Tommy Walker song. Karla told me after choir rehearsal that someone asked her during that song if she thought anyone in that room truly had ever been at a point when they literally did not know what to do?
Think about that.
I ask myself have I ever been at a point in my life when I literally did not know what to do?
We seem to always have an answer for everything, don't we. If we don't, then we find a way to worry or fret thinking that will help.
We pray prayers that seem to never be answered. We are impatient with God, our family and friends, and most often ourselves. We doubt. We whine. We might even seem comfortable at times in our own self-pity. We can't imagine anyone suffering to the degree that we are, and yet we know there will always be someone who is "worse off" than we are. (Does that really help anyone when we think that?)
(If you're still reading - stay with me - I think I have a point that I am taking awhile to get to!)
Scriptures tell us everything we need for every situation - yet, we still suffer in very real ways.
We are intelligent, resourced, blessed with more than any of us deserve to have, and we wrestle with our guilt (caused by feelings that are in the back of our mind) that it still is not enough because whatever it is that is causing our suffering is real -it's painful, and it just won't go away nearly soon enough.
We don't want to admit that suffering is indeed a part of this life or if we admit it, we surely don't want to wear it like some badge of honor. We also don't want to succumb to the pit of despair and depression that suffering can very well lead us to.
(I want to very careful in this next statement)
I believe that what is very real pain and suffering for someone I know might not be the same degree of pain and suffering for me. It very well could be much worse. It also could be much "easier" (if I may use that word respectfully).
It is about perspective.
I meet regularly with a close friend who reminds me of things I need to be reminded of. Today, he told me this - "Suffering is not a competitive sport."
The next time we are in pain, and we suffer deeply over something whether it is for brief moment or it has lasted for years beyond our comprehension - may we resist the urge to judge or compare our circumstances with those around us.
Instead, allow those around us to help us, love us, and walk with us as best they can so that even in our suffering, Christ is made much of.