Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Scattered Thoughts on Suffering

Suffering is perceived to be the bane of joy, and yet it is only through suffering that we accomplish true joy. Apostle Paul knew suffering more than anyone else, and yet he found true joy in doing so.

Elle Wiesel once wrote, “I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.”

Rather than desiring to know why good people often suffer immensely (like Job), I would rather ponder how to comfort a suffering person.

I often feel that hope is the forgotten Christian virtue. We realize that love can move the mountains, bring two lovers to enjoy each other in unity, and embodies the essence of God Himself. We realize that it is by faith that Abraham believed and his salvation was counted to him. Faith is the very virtue we must exhibit (through word and deed) in order to be saved. Hope…how do you tell a suffering person to hope? As Wiesel writes I ponder and ask, “How are humans to be the hope of suffering human beings?”

It is often too much for me to think of my own suffering (which is such a trivial amount in reality), let alone take on the personal weight that my friends and family must suffer.

The weight of despair often weighs heavy upon a heart where there is no hope. A wise professor once said, “When despair lurks, Jesus will help you.” I believe it is true; Jesus will help. Sometimes phrases are easier to say than to believe.

The half-face of the man in the waning moon smiles upon a desolate beach and the waves speak of the darkness that engulfs all suffering beings. Hope comes from the Son, and yet it does not rise for three more hours. Only when we can grasp sunlight peeking through the tomb inch by inch can we understand hope in light of suffering. After all, the same light that killed the two Roman guards is the same light we all desperately place our hope in.

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