Suffering

suffering


There are some things that are so horrible that nothing…literally, nothing makes them better except for miracles you have no power to produce.  The one reachable thing within our power with the potential to help, however, is the one thing that nobody is willing to do.  The one thing (empathetic love and support) is the exact opposite of what the vast majority of people do.  In fact, most people make life infinitely more painful because they’re both completely ignorant about what it’s like to go through anything even remotely close to what you are going through, yet they remain astonishingly arrogant in thinking they have the answers to your problem.

“I’m in agonizing, debilitating, mind-numbing pain,” you say.  “My life has turned to shit and there’s nothing I can do to make it any better.  There’s a situation that debilitates my life in drastic ways every single day and my life and future are dependent on others who have proven to be untrustworthy.  Every single day I want to die and end the pain and yet I get up, I shower, I get dressed, I go to work, I go out with friends, I keep my word and continue to perform my responsibilities, and almost always do so with a smile.  I’m debilitated with daily panic attacks and flashbacks and flooded with emotions that would make most people hole up in a padded room for the rest of their lives and STILL, I put on a smile and take care of my responsibilities with a good attitude.  I live my life, I make plans, and I keep commitments even more than most people who have no hang-ups.  But does anyone see or acknowledge that?  No.  At the end of every day I’m exhausted from the process of living and I’m still dying on the inside as the suffering is ever before me.  As I’m bound to a situation and fate that lies in the hands of liars and deceivers.  I’ve done everything I can possible do to fix it, change it, ease it, or make it go away, but nothing works or even helps a little bit.  I need God to rescue me.”

Your friends don’t bat an eye or show the slightest bit of concern at the outpouring of your agony.  With the judgement and condemnation of a seasoned Pharisee, they draw the conclusion that you’re making yourself unhappy and that it’s all your fault.  “Well that’s just your choice.  I will not pray that God brings you help, or gives you any support you need.  You’re doing this to yourself.”

…they are Job’s friends, too.

I honestly don’t know what’s worse.  The trauma that breaks…no…shatters your soul into irreconcilable dust that will never be returned to any functional state….or the fact that it renders you hopelessly broken and helpless while everyone you counted as a friend turns their back on you, blames you, hurls insults at you, or simply walks away and abandons you completely.  At least the trauma you can distance yourself from with time and inner-work.  Not so much with the ever-present, nagging, judgmental glares and comments of those around you.  They are an inescapable torment that will, if nothing else does it first, drive you off the edge of sanity.

You think to yourself that there’s no way THIS many people can be THAT stupid.  You just can’t process it.  You think, “is everyone on the earth so sheltered and selfish that they honestly think that suffering is the fault of the sufferer?  That we can just “choose” not to be in agony when our lives are wrecked and God disappears?  When our friends shoot us with fiery arrows and then scold us for being hurt?”  “Has anyone who says they’re a Christian ever even met God or read the Bible?”  You wonder because you can’t believe that anyone could meet God or read the Bible and come away with such a capacity for hate and coldness.  And yet it’s everywhere, most especially in Christian circles.

The sad part is that this is the opposite of anything remotely resembling Christianity.  One look at scripture and you see that God is righteous and just in regard to evil, but infinitely loving, soft, and compassionate to the hurting and broken.  Not only that, but that He requires His people to be the same.  Swift and horrible consequences came not only to the wicked who brought evil, but also to the religious fakers who both allowed it, looked the other way from it, further oppressing the victims.

1.  God is always on the side of the victim, the broken, the hurting, and the suffering….always.  God opposes the proud and His eye is on the haughty to bring them low (James 4:6; 2 Sam. 22:28).
2.  God is close to the hurting and broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 24:18).
3.  When Jesus was mocked, beaten, and betrayed, He did not flare up with pride which says, “how DARE you treat me this way, don’t you know who I AM?” (Even though He had the “right” to…).  He bent low and he just took it.  He didn’t allow being mistreated to foster a self-righteous attitude of pride.  Jesus humbled Himself to the sin of other’s and to God’s will, trusting in God’s plan (Philippians 2:7-9).

If my life is teaching me anything right now, it’s that the people on this earth who have any clue who God really is are few and far between.  The good news in that is when I find one, they are truly bright lights that shine into the darkest of places. They are treasures I will never take for granted again for as long as I live.  And if God is using this agony to protect me against becoming one of the arrogant, ignorant, self-righteous, oppressive religious hypocrites who do nothing but allow and perpetuate violence by cowardly blaming the victim for their suffering and looking away from the evil and injustice being done, then I will – as Jesus did – submit to as much suffering as necessary.  I will literally do or go through whatever it takes to keep from ever being like one of them.  If I get to Heaven without that on my rap sheet, I will be grateful for all the lengths God took to prevent it, and count all my suffering as God’s great love for me.  I only would that He loved others as much.

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