In The Face Of Suffering: Being The Work

mother-teresa-poor-childDuring a Bible Study yesterday morning before church, we were speaking about Suffering.  The group was grappling with the notion of how Suffering plays into our notions of what we deem as “fair”, and how - if at all - God plays a role. While we didn’t solve that particular dilemma, one thing was certain: there is a tragically abundant amount of Suffering in our world.  Whether it stems from all the myriad systems of Poverty that are all too real around the world (especially for children), or the ways in which we inflict horrific violence upon one another, domestic violence, suicide, unemployment....the list could go on forever.  Suffering is all around us.

It can be overwhelming.

For myself, I consider myself a Healing kind of person.  I do my best to mend fences, build bridges, speak kindly, act compassionately.  When I see Suffering, I want to heal it.

And yet it seems every morning when I wake up, I encounter a new horror that seems beyond my ability to heal.  How can I possibly when the world is so large, the problems so vast, the pain so deep...

Then our Worship Minister said something incredibly wise.  She reflected on some Eastern teachings that share the thought that we shouldn’t concern ourselves so much on being the Solution, but rather focus our energy on being the Work that can, ultimately, bring healing.  Perhaps not right away, perhaps not by us in our time for those that are presently suffering, but if we don’t focus on the outcome and rather focus on the work of healing, there is the Hope that we can make a difference - one life at a time.

That really resonated with me, and it suddenly made things seem more manageable.  I can’t solve World Hunger, or save every suffering child, or eradicate war...there’s a laundry list of things I can’t do or solve.

BUT....I can be a voice.  I can offer a hug.  I can listen to others and their Journey through Suffering.  I can be present, and I can make a difference in a life.

And if I can make a difference in a life, just one, that’s worth something.  In fact, its worth a profound amount.

Jesus reminded us that “the poor will always be with us.”  There will, in some form, always be Suffering.  Even Jesus didn’t solve the issue of Suffering.

But he, a poor itinerant preacher and healer in an obscure corner of a vast empire thousands of years ago, surrounded himself with a few friends and changed lives; and forever changed the world by being The Work.  And he had nothing.

Imagine what you could do....

Peace,  Shawn




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