“Suffering has probably been mankind’s greatest portion in life far above anything else.”
Nobody likes suffering, yet it is in the area of suffering where each one of us without exception has learnt to endure the most.
And this suffering endurance for the most part, has not been one out of choice but rather out of compulsion.
When it comes to suffering, over time there have been several thousands of endless defining quotes of men.
And these ‘quotes of men’, every single one of them, have not just come out of the woodwork.
Behind each one there is usually a deep, hidden and untold story of pain, distress and agony of varying proportions.
The Oxford defines this noun as “the state of undergoing pain, distress, toil or hardship”.
And honestly, that definition does not even scratch the surface of what suffering really is and all about.
No other word like ‘suffering’ has more words or phrases that is synonymous to it.
A Unique Word
Suffering is probably one of those unique words that can never have a standard definition or meaning.
Every single person that has ever entered the human race has his or her own unique and exclusive definition of suffering.
What we may have read or heard about suffering is but a drop in the ocean.
The unheard and the unspoken make up the rest of that ocean.
And every single one of them would be rightfully valid and true.
For when it comes to suffering, no other portion of the human experience has caused greater and deeper reflections in our souls.
All these deep philosophical reflections are in search of meaning and purpose for this unavoidable human suffering.
And they are all summed up in just one valid, single word question.
Victim Of The Fall
Every single person on the planet is a victim of the fall, which took place way back at the creation account in Genesis.
Man of his own volition ‘chose’ the fall. He chose the pathway of the ‘tempter’ rather than the Creator.
The Bible calls it ‘sin’ and all human suffering is the consequence of it.
And from that point on every single individual to enter the human race was to be birthed in toil and pain [Genesis 3:16].
Is it not ironic that women for the most part in today’s day, age and culture don’t want that pain in child bearing?
The Bible records an account of a woman who actually named her son Jabez, reflecting the pain she had to endure at his birth. Jabez means pain! [1 Chronicles 4:9].
So women do want the beautiful gift of children, but without the child-bearing pain.
Medical Science Caters For The Need
The medical field with its advancing technology caters for that need.
Apart from genuine cases, epidurals and cesarean deliveries are big money spinners in the medical and pharmaceutical world.
However, the point is we do not like suffering and pain and would prefer to start and celebrate that new life without it.
So, for each one of us, our suffering started its ordained journey right there at the point of birth.
But so did our endurance, which God foreseeably and wonderfully placed in all of us.
And ‘endurance’ is a wonderful word, for it is the one of the great hallmarks of our human endeavour.
So we can take heart from the fact that though ‘suffering’ may be our portion, we have ‘endurance’ to see us through.
Even though we may have to work and survive by “the sweat of our brow” [Genesis 3:19] , endurance accompanies us.
But that is a topic for another day.
Victim Of Suffering
Every single person we cross paths with in this life is a victim of suffering in a way of which we know nothing about.
We can neither see nor comprehend the scars embedded in the deepest parts of their innermost being.
The field of psychology attempts to do so, and can be helpful to a certain degree.
So we take nothing away from this field, as in other such fields like medicine etc.
For we all do greatly desire freedom from any kind of pain and suffering.
But can it really get to that deepest part of the human soul where the roots are embedded?
We don’t know. But we do know that those roots do exist.
So we would do well to be mindful of this, for an indwelling inherent evil within us is quick to judge.
It is a personal battle that we all, without exception, need to overcome.
Whether we do or not is a different matter, but its what we all need to at least acknowledge and recognize.
It’s the only way the much needed fruit of empathy would be or could be displayed.
An Unspeakable Living Hope
Hope is a wonderful thing, and when it’s source is Heaven, it then is an unspeakable “Living Hope”.
Paul the apostle by revelation tells us that this hope does not make us ashamed in [Romans 5:5].
“Because the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us”.
What started at creation as something wonderful and perfect went sour, dark and bleak after the fall.
And the human race since then throughout its history over the last six thousand years has had to consequentially endure untold suffering.
BUT GOD, in His Mercy and Grace was never going to leave man to his hopeless fate and predicament.
HE was going to make all our suffering that came by the way of ‘the fall’, an object of an unspeakable “Living Hope”.
And He would do this by the way of “the cross”, which would the epitome of all human suffering.
It would be a ‘judicial act’ of Heaven.
And here is a provoking thought.
“The CREATOR was going to allow His creation to falsely judge Him and send Him to the horrific cross to die a horrific death”.
Take your time! Let this sink in.
To say it’s a sobering thought would be an understatement.
There will never be a more sobering thought from eternity past to eternity future than this!
How do we comprehend this? We can’t!
What would this result in?
That all our suffering was not going to be in vain, but a pathway to eternal glory instead of an eternal doom.
“Mercy was going to triumph victoriously over judgment” [James 2:13].
A Timeless Truth
Why is it so important for us to know this ‘timeless truth’?
There are so many who feel or have been led to believe that we just have this one life. And that this life ends up in the grave.
What a terrible and hopeless way to die!
After a lifetime of pain, suffering, tears and untold hardships, just to end up in a grave?
Is that what its all about? Is that it?
If you are one of those who think and believe that, please re-think again.
For it is the great lie of that same ‘tempter’ that stalked stealthily in the Garden of Eden.
This ‘stealth stalker’ could well have witnessed the greatest creative act of God from a hiding point behind some bush.
And if he did, then one thing is sure, he did not like it one bit.
Satan had been fired from his original position, with a decreed end, and was now being replaced by man.
He couldn’t just stand by and watch it happen.
He knew he couldn’t do anything about it, so he was going to make it as difficult as possible.
Do read [Crumb 0021] to track down this adversary of ours.
That ‘old serpent’ is still at it and he has not quit.
We should take a leaf out his book and “not quit” too.
When God created us “in His Image”, HE created us eternal.
If we were not eternal, that would then mean that neither is God.
It’s time that we get free from the lies of Satan the ‘tempter’.