While watching the late news the other night we saw a young man being interviewed about the NBC Late Night television fiasco. If you have watched any news (it was even on Fox) or read any news in recent days you have heard something about the Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien late night wars. They asked this young man what he thought about the situation and he responded by saying something similar to, “They need to get on with it, because the fans, the people are suffering.” I thought you have got to be kidding? “The people are suffering???” Have we become so inane that we really believe suffering occurs because of some television wars? Isn’t it amazing what we call suffering in our day?
There are many people in our world who are suffering, but suffering is not enduring the “late night wars.” The people who have lost loved ones and everything they own in Haiti are suffering. The people in our world who will not have a meal today or tomorrow are suffering. The family who lost their only son in war is suffering. The Christian family who lost their child in a car accident is suffering. The woman whose husband walked out on her for someone else and left her to raise the children by herself is suffering. The man who lost his job after many years of committed service to the company is suffering. The family whose child has forsaken the Lord and everything that they were taught is suffering. The preacher who was “let go,” because the church needed a younger man is suffering. The church that has been divided because some member felt that their way was more important than “His Way” is suffering. The teen who lives for God and is ridiculed and isolated while others follow the way of the world is suffering. The elderly couple who has no family around to care for them is suffering. The woman who has lived with her husband for fifty plus years, but who no longer knows his name, because of Alzheimer's is suffering.
If we suffer because of our faith we will be blessed. If we suffer we are in good company. Our Savior suffered for us (Luke 24:46; 1 Peter 2:21). He told us that in this world we would have tribulation (John 16:13). He reminds us that if we “suffer with Him,” we will also be “glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17) He also told us to remember that we should not find it strange that we suffer because if the Master suffers persecution the servants will also suffer persecution (John 15:20). Suffering can make us stronger if it is handled correctly (James 1:2-3).
It isn’t that people do not or will not suffer. It’s just that we confuse what we sometimes believe to be suffering with real suffering. We will all face some suffering in our lives. If you are suffering today may God give you the strength to endure. Above all things, remember these words from the Apostle Paul, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Dear God, please help us understand that so much of what masquerades as suffering is not real. Help us to pray for and encourage those around us who are truly suffering. Help us to endure the suffering that is a part of our life with faithfulness so that someday we can live forever with the One who suffered for us.
A Personal Note:
This is post number thirty one since this blog was started five months ago. We have now had nearly 12,000 "hits" on this blog. It is an humbling experience to hear from so many who have expressed appreciation for the articles that have been posted. My sincere prayer is that each article will help in some way and that together we can grow in our faith and in our love for Him.