By Lynette Kittle, Crosswalk.com
What Is the Answer for a Suffering World?
By Lynette Kittle
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” - John 3:16
In today’s culture, death is being presented more and more as a compassionate and caring solution for suffering. Whether facilitating assisted suicide, abortion, or euthanasia, countless voices around the world encourage death as the answer to ending human suffering. Those who are ill, disabled, distressed, or just unhappy are being told death is the compassionate way to end their pain and struggles.
As well there are those who are fervently protesting, marching, and more for the right to kill unborn babies, saying death is better than being unwanted, disabled, or conceived at an inconvenient time. Celebrities are lending their voices in celebration, applauding their private choices to abort their own unborn children. But God has a different answer for a suffering world. His answer is His love because He alone knows how to heal the deepest wounds. His way of dealing with suffering brings life and freedom, whereas death leads to more suffering and destruction.
Why Do People Avoid Suffering?
Most people are uncomfortable with suffering and don’t know how to go through it or want to deal with it. So when experts and those in government push the idea that it’s best to end suffering through ending lives, people start to believe it.
Because most people don’t want to suffer or see others suffering, death starts to seem like the quick and easiest way out of the pain. But ending lives hardens hearts, whereas going through personal suffering or alongside others has the ability to soften and transform hearts like no other experience can do. Suffering’s effects help us to develop compassion, kindness, longsuffering, unconditional love, selflessness, and much more in our lives.
Yet so many individuals go to great extents to avoid it. The thought of opening their hearts and minds to deal with the pain and sorrow of suffering, whether in themselves or with others, feels like too much for them to face. So instead, they miss out on suffering’s refining process to cultivate enduring love, forgiveness, and so much more. Romans 8:18 explains, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Choosing to Walk Alongside Others
Rather than turn the other way, some choose to walk alongside those who are suffering, understanding how doing so helps to keep their hearts softened and in tune with the anguish of others. Although most of us try to avoid suffering as much as possible, there are those who have chosen to suffer alongside others.
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:24.25).
Moses understood that turning away from his people’s afflictions would harden his heart towards them, so he chose to join them in their mistreatment.
How Do We Face Suffering?
As well there are those who willingly choose to suffer for the sake of Christ, knowing it will cause them to become more like Him. “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like Him in His death” (Philippians 3:10). Opposite to the world’s solution to end suffering through death, Colossians 1:24 describes how the Apostle Paul faced it.
“Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.”
Paul knew, “For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5). The Apostle Peter also urged, “But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13).
Intersecting Faith and Life:
Do you know someone who is suffering this holiday season? If so, are you willing to walk alongside them? If not, there are plenty of organizations to help direct you in giving, praying, and volunteering to those who are afflicted and could use some encouragement, comfort, and support in their lives.
- Further Reading:
What Does Suffering for Christ Look Like?
- 5 Reasons Suffering Is Both Terrible and Meaningful
- How Suffering Can Actually Restore Your Faith
- Joy In Suffering
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Popba
Lynette Kittle is married with four daughters. She enjoys writing about faith, marriage, parenting, relationships, and life. Her writing has been published by Focus on the Family, Decision, Today’s Christian Woman, kirkcameron.com, Ungrind.org, StartMarriageRight.com, and more. She has a M.A. in Communication from Regent University and serves as associate producer for Soul Check TV.