I've been thinking a lot about suffering lately. As we've already been reading on our biblical journey, God talks a lot about suffering and how those who suffer on earth will have his favor. So what does this mean? Some people think going without eating out might be considered suffering. Others might feel like they're suffering when they don't get to go shopping frequently. Still others might feel like they're suffering when their beloved phones or computers aren't functioning properly. Of course, most of us would be able to look at those situations and recognize that this isn't true suffering--but do any of us really understand what it means? Just because we may not be as superficial as the aforementioned examples doesn't mean that the other things we suffer are any greater.
The other day I was complaining about how I hated gloomy Fridays during Lent; it's Mike's longest day of the work week, we don't get to do anything or go anywhere on Friday nights because of that, it was cloudy and depressing, and since it was during lent I had to adhere to a meatless meal plan. Then Mike, half jokingly, half serious, said, "You know what else was a gloomy Friday during Lent?..." Touché, salesman.
Today is Palm Sunday, which of course means that in church we read the passion story. I think regardless of your belief system, you'd be able to say that Jesus willingly dying on a cross because it was God's will was true suffering. He suffered until the bitter end all because he was the sign from God that our sins could be forgiven...a way for God to "wipe the slate clean" if you will. And then we are taught that eventually, as the reward for fulfilling his father's will, Jesus was able to have everlasting life in God's kingdom. This is by no means a detailed account of what all went down during that time, but in any light, this is pretty powerful stuff! How, then, are we to live up to such a noble act as dying on a cross to fulfill God's will?
We are always so quick to complain without really thinking about the awful things that so many before us, namely Jesus, have gone through. So we then turn our efforts to try to understand the hardships of our fellow man. This could be in the form of fasting. We clear our bodies so that we may clear our minds and hearts in order to come to know God. Maybe we could speak of childbirth. A women gives up her body for 9 months, goes through excruciating pain for hours, and ends up with a beautiful reward (who happens to be created in God's image!). A bold few may even stand up for their beliefs and encounter the law or even death, surely being rewarded by God in the end.
The next time you feel like complaining about a minor inconvenience, try to think about true suffering, such as that which Jesus experienced. Once you put yourself in another man's shoes, your situation may not seem so bad. Life is hard, but complaining about it makes it even harder! A little will power and perseverance through a tough situation can bring great rewards.
This has been your Palm Sunday Fresh Take.