I’ve read and heard about people who live story-book lives but I’ve never known any of them. I’ve known some rich people, met a couple of famous people, and while they enjoyed material blessings that I know nothing about, their lives weren’t free of sorrow and suffering. No one, no matter how rich, famous, or privileged gets out of this world without pain. Wealth and prestige can’t protect against disease, catastrophe, or the loss of a loved one. Rich or poor, powerful or weak, all are humbled at the feet of death. Some respond by living out lives marked by sorrow, grief, and bitterness. Others following the example of Jesus respond by persevering toward eternal life and living lives characterized by an attitude of joy.
Death destroys many people long before they meet their final destiny. The agony of suffering creates despair and in a fog of despair, people are likely to do anything for momentary relief. Dissociation from reality is exercised in many different ways but all of them give only temporary remedy. In the extreme, they cause more destruction than the original source of pain. Many people are completely destroyed by drugs, alcohol, sexual addictions, gambling, and all the other worldly avenues that promise escape from painful reality. Some muster up strong self-will and power-through but become bitter and disappointed by life. The world offers philosophies, programs, techniques, doctors, and pills (mostly pills) but no real solutions to ending human suffering.
Jesus is the only One who offers eternal life as an ultimate remedy. Those who reach to Jesus and receive this gift receive the quality of lasting joy that enables believer to endure suffering without becoming bitter. Those in Jesus, who prevail in suffering by abiding in an attitude of joy also, learn compassion as a result of all they survive. Death has no spiritual power over them and in them, the actions of death that produce suffering serve only, to produce more life. Believers who emerge from personal suffering are enabled to offer comfort to those who are going through the same kind of pain they’ve been through. This comfort is validation given from a position of spiritual strength that has the power to lift others from agony to life and restoration, by making the power of faith in Jesus known to them.
In this world, believers suffer all that non-believers suffer. Jesus suffered too. Only by faith in Jesus and His work on the cross are the destructive powers of death diminished and personal integrity maintained. No matter how devastating the material destruction, those things that are spiritual remain. Those who have inwardly become spiritual beings by faith in Jesus possess that same ability. The compassionate believer is one who has passed through many trials in life and because Jesus was with them, they emerged from the furnace of destruction spiritually, stronger. In the world, suffering produces more suffering and ends in death. In Jesus, joy takes the hand of suffering in hers and at the point where they meet, empathy and compassion are born; and the final sum is eternal life.