More Thoughts About Suffering

My previous post couldn't quite encapsulate all the results of a year's worth of thoughts on the subject of suffering. So, here goes with another. I'm sorry if things seem to be getting really dark and gloomy around here. I'm sure it'll lighten up soon.

It is amazing how my increased awareness to others' sufferings has changed my life. The blood-and-guts action movie girl has morphed into someone who has to hide her eyes through the gory scenes because she simply can't stand the idea of watching pain (even unreal pain) for entertainment. The quiet introvert suddenly becomes bold when human suffering is involved. The girl who always wanted to do something big and showy has reformed her priorities to this statement: If God can use me to help, to heal, to encourage, even one person, then my life (and all that entails) has just been made completely worthwhile.

I have to stop and consider before I sing 'break my heart for what breaks Yours', because I've felt a little of God's heartbreak, and it is not pleasant. It hurts. More, it makes me feel so helpless, so small, so very, very weak. But this is just exactly how I am supposed to feel, because I'm simply called to be God's vessel. I'm not God. I can't fix anything. All I can do is disappear and let God make use of my body. I've seen this happen again and again, and it's wonderful because it leaves me no room for pride. All I can do is point upward and say, 'it's not me, it's Him!'


It's so easy to become callous. Here in America, it's easy to let myself slip into my cocoon of comfort and forget about 'the outside world'. Blatant poverty is not being shoved in my face. I don't see cripples and beggars in the gutter when I walk down the street. But, oh God, please don't ever let me forget that those people exist! Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Again, and again, and again.


Much as I'd love to be an international missionary, I don't know if God has called me to that. For right now, at least, I know that He wants me to stay here in America and have a job and be a fairly normal citizen. The future's in His hands, and I'm happy to leave it there. But I have this gift of mercy...what am I supposed to use it for?


I started looking around. I noticed that everyday people here in the U.S. suffer, too. It's a different kind of suffering, but it's just as real. Your average Washingtonian (Washington's the closest town of appreciable size) probably has a nice house, good food, decent clothes, and a sound body, but maybe they're struggling with spiritual and emotional problems. Maybe they're depressed, or angry, or afraid. Maybe they don't feel like they have anywhere to turn to, or anyone to trust and confide in. Maybe, they just need someone who would listen to them, love them where they're at, and gently, gently point them toward the great Comforter. Maybe that person should be me.

I think these under-the-surface problems are much harder to address than poverty or sickness. They're oh-so easy to conceal, and, frankly, it awfully convenient to just ignore them. But Jesus addressed peoples' spiritual and emotional needs just as He addressed the physical ones. How would He go about addressing these needs in society today?

I really don't know.

But maybe it's time I found out.

Any thoughts?


  1. Thank you Janie, You are exactly right ... Wow, you have echoed my thoughts so beautifully... It is so good to hear (and be a recipient)of what God is showing you. You have touched my life by your mercy, sharing your time and simple acts of kindness, a sweet kiss from God :) I was hurting and you reached out to help. Thank you! God has blessed you with wisdom! :


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