Friday, August 6, 2010

The Blessing in Suffering

A Facebook friend from high school just lost his son in a car accident. The boy had just graduated from high school. Ohhhh. There just aren't words. I prayed for him, and then I tried to put it out of my head. If I think about this too much . . . the tragedy of losing a child . . . I just may tumble into a pit of despair difficult to crawl back out of.

And then I read this, posted today in Tony Woodlief's blog: Today, I attended the funeral of a child. It is a bitter, hard thing, the death of a child. It is especially so in modern America, insulated as we are from the brutalities of history and the depredations in much of the world. We are not accustomed to burying our children, any more than we are accustomed to the thunder of approaching war or the desperate of searching for clean water and a scrap of food. We have outgrown the world and history and have forgotten much about suffering. Perhaps this is why we have also drifted from God.

I have considered before the fact that we of the "Western" modernized world tend to approach the trials of life with the question, "Why must I suffer so?" Meanwhile, our third world counterparts experience the touch and presence of God and question, "Why am I being so blessed?" Who is to be envied here?

I shared recently with my friend who grew up in communist Albania a quote I heard from a missionary to the Eastern block. He returned a few years after the Iron Curtain fell and churches were now being allowed to flourish. The question he heard from his Christian brothers: "Why has God taken away the blessing of persecution?" My friend nodded. She knew just what he meant.

The blessing of persecution. Of suffering. It draws us to God. Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." The comfort of God must be a tremendous thing if we are to be happy for the opportunity to have need of it.

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