Stupid Responses to Suffering.
While browsing through old government records to fill in some gaps in our online family tree, I came across a distant relative whose location of death was a New York ‘poor farm.’ The scanned image of the record made my heart ache. What a story of struggle that didn’t have an earthly end.
It made me think of a phrase I hear tossed around way too often in response to earthly trials, “it will pass.”
How do you know?
Is God required to make struggles pass? Or is this kind of response born out of affluence and material comfort?
The truth is, in the American church this type of response to suffering affords us a ‘quarantine’ of the person and their struggle. Saying “this will pass,” exempts us from doing something about their suffering.
I want to challenge you from this point forward to change your view of trials and the way you respond to the Jobs of this world. Instead of “this will pass,” consider,
“This world is depraved and full of injustice and suffering. It makes my heart ache to watch you experience it. I don’t know if or when this trial will cease, but I know the Lord will work it together for your good - and I know ultimately this suffering will remind us of the better place He has for us in heaven. I will pray for relief and restoration, but if for some reason things do not get better, I will be here by your side through it all.”
Because, if we’re honest, some trials never end. That’s a scary truth that can’t be quarantined. For the world’s sake we must face it.
Instead of “it will pass,” buy someone’s groceries.
Instead of “it will pass,” fill someone’s gas tank.
Instead of “it will pass,” babysit.
Instead of “it will pass,” edit someone’s resume.
Instead of “it will pass,” pay someone’s car note.
Community instead of quarantine.
Truth instead of the pipe dreams of affluence.
Compassion at the cost of self-preservation.
Because Jesus never said our trouble would pass. He said we were sure to have it. That is why His words, “be of good cheer I have overcome the world” are so incredibly powerful.
He overcame the world where troubles never end.
That is the hope that gives people strength in the midst of struggle. Tell your friends the truth in their time of need.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33