We all suffer. That is the human condition. Every single man, woman and child who is born on this earth will suffer to some degree or another. One might even argue that suffering is the whole point of living. We become who we are and we act the way we do based very much on how we face our suffering.
So, what makes your suffering different than mine? Well, for one thing, even though we all suffer it is apparent to us all that we are not all given the same amount of suffering and many of us face much more extremes of suffering than others. I once saw a meme with a person writing a letter that went like this: “Dear ‘Whatever-doesn’t-kill-you’, I think I am strong enough now, thank you.”
That points out a very important fact of life: many of us seem to bear a much greater burden. Why is that and how are we supposed to process it? I think the best place to start is to ask ourselves where our suffering comes from?
It is my observation that there are three sources of suffering. They are all neatly addressed in the first chapter of James in the New Testament. James tells us that suffering comes from the world around us, from Satan and - brace yourself for this one - from God.
Yes, we sometimes suffer because of God. God, it seems, often puts us in situations where we will benefit from suffering. We will unwrap that in a couple of days.
For now, let’s prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s look at the world around us. We live in a world that includes suffering as part of the package. If you want to live here, you have to take the suffering that comes with it. That will be for tomorrow. So let’s get ready for that by taking a look at the most famous Bible verse of them all, when it comes to suffering:
“Consider it all joy … when you encounter various trials.”