12 May Suffering, Afterward
Have you ever seen people hanging out from those ghastly looking buses that travel our roads? Have you ever come across a shirtless labourer sweating all over but concentrating on finishing his bit of work under the scorching sun? Have you ever noticed the facial muscles twitch and a tiny groan let out when a sixty year old body tries to stand up after sitting for a while? Have you ever felt the agonizing pain that strikes your heart and explodes it when a loved one rejects you? Have your eyes ever become wet when a dear, loving and close person to you departed from this world, never to be seen again? Welcome! Welcome to the world of suffering and pain.
Come to think of it, suffering is more real than happiness – for happiness is a feeling that has no aches, no pains in fl esh – it is a state of mind; but suffering often involves real and felt pain in the flesh – a broken rib, an aching tumour, a devouring cancer – they are physical.
Being physical, should you ever be able to quantify pain and suffering and measure it in meters, joules, degrees or whatever – giving birth is the most painful of all experiences. If I may say so, the mother of all pains is becoming a mother. Now, I’m sure everyone of us have seen a lot of these real life heroes in our lives – mothers – but have you ever seen a mother who is so beaten up about her suffering, so depressed, so agonized and committed suicide, or perhaps turned insane? Not common, isn’t it? You know the reason right – there is a meaning to that suffering – an end result, a hope that renders the effects of that suffering null. Wow! One of the most traumatic events totally wiped out of the memory when she holds that tiny baby in her hands. Tell me now – what tragedy is suffering when you have hope? Incredible isn’t it – and don’t forget that if you are reading this – YOU WERE THAT HOPE to a mother once.
Why then do we hope-inspiring people become hopeless more often than not? Our sufferings seem so meaningless to us – we do not know the end result of our sufferings and we do not anticipate that our sufferings would bring out something good: only if we believe what we read – for the Bible says, “. . . everything works together for good for those who love God.” Everything obviously means EVERYTHING and that includes suffering. You see, if you love God even suffering is working TOGETHER for your good.
A decade ago when I was travelling through a village with a Pastor a cloud of fog encompassed us. We couldn’t see what was right before our eyes. We had to stop our vehicle, shine our lights bright and wait. The longer it took, the more nervous I got, after all we had a meeting and we were running out of time. But the pastor was calm and composed. He had been there, he saw the fog numerous times and he knew exactly what he had to do and how long he had to stay – he knew from experience – that experience built up patience in him.
Suffering is like that fog. It blurs our vision. For a time it makes us think that there is no longer a goal, a direction in our life. It causes worries and makes us nervous. All we have to do is wait out the thick, dense fog. Then we see again and we learn to be patient. The next time we are prepared.
That said, recently I came to know about a friend of mine – her husband left her for another and took custody of their only kid. Her parents and siblings shut her out of their lives; due to severe depression her health started deteriorating – all before she even turned 35. Would all the words I’ve written now help her during her suffering? Nay! These words are foundations – things that make you get prepared when you do face suffering – but these are not the words you utter when a person is indeed suffering – you don’t preach to a man in pain, you shower him with love. But we Christians are always like that, right? Quick to preach, slow to act!
James said this, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled, “without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” Masterfully said – what good is it indeed if we preach to those in suffering and fail to help them? Know that suffering may not be a direct blessing to the one who suffers – but it is a chance for you to be Christ-like in front of the sufferer.
For the one who suffers, suffering is evil. It is a result of our decaying bodies, which God intends to remove from this creation forever. Yet, God has the power to turn this suffering into good tidings – all you have to do is trust that the boat in which He sails does not sink. Hold on! Do not let go of the Saviour’s arm! You cannot do it alone.
About the Author
The author works as an Insights Director at IMRB International in Chennai and writes in his free time. His blogs can be followed at http://thesprintingmind.blogspot.in/