As a totally unwelcome guest in the middle of the night, suffering came to my house. Like a thief, his goal was to rob my life of meaning and contentment, and steal all of my joy.
Suffering is sometimes mean, and he seems to revel in my tears and my pain. Frequently this uninvited intruder finds great delight and laughter at my plight. While I may be crying or sulking over a special person’s disappointment with me, he laughs in the midst of my tears. On another occasion, while I am deeply feeling the pain and the loss of a family member who unexpectedly dies, this rascal Suffering prods me with his irreverent question, “Why is this such a big deal? Suck it up and get over it! …Then he snickers with an ornery facial expression that shows he is truly finding delight in my pain!…
Not only that, but Suffering has an evil-sounding laugh, like Sammy Terry on Channel 4. He finds delight in our missteps or our illnesses. Once when I was not paying attention and backed my car into another car in a parking lot, while I was kicking myself for my stupidity, he just laughed AT me and said, “Gee, you really ARE an idiot! Ha ha ha!!!
But its not just me, I know! Suffering sees everyone as his prey, and he revels in the sadness that your Mom or Grandmother died, even though she was much too young to die. Or he seems to find joy in inflicting pain when my gall bladder acted up, and the Doctor said it must come out immediately.
It seems the more I hurt, the more Suffering likes to see me hurt. And the more I’m grieving or in pain, the more he wants to stay around, so I don’t forget how huge an impact he is in my life.
But when I’m all prayed up, when I spend time reading the Scriptures, and when I deliberately hang out with dear Christian friends, I’ve found that as I focus on God and not on Mr. Suffering, he seems to vanish like the tarnish on silver when I use that silver cream to remove it. Like that cream, suffering’s effects seem to not last so long when I throw Suffering out and Welcome God into my life with Open Arms.
And so I pray, “God send out this heinous one named Suffering who says he’s a friend, but truly he is as far from being Like You, O God, as anyone can be…
For the sake of God’s Kingdom,