My wife and I went to Thailand in 2010 on a mission trip. On one of our last days in Thailand, our group toured a Buddhist temple. I observed many different sights- the morning prayers, the artwork, the statutes, and the architecture. However, one particular item has stuck with me to this day. As our group made its way into a prayer room, there was a large poster of a human skeleton. According to our guide, when the Buddhists pray, they imagine themselves as a skeleton- no attachments to this present world. What if in our quest to live a life of joy and contentment we could strip down our problems to “the bare bones?” (Pardon the pun).
When we suffer through trials, it becomes natural for us to isolate ourselves from everyone around us. We become myopic and cannot see past our own pain, believing that we alone are going through this problem. However, suffering is part of the human condition, as circumstances, theologians and philosophers, ancient and modern can attest. The questions of why we suffer are many and the comforting answers can often be few and far between.
I too have faced difficult trials in my life and I am not belittling or dismissing what you may be going through at this time. What I do know is that for His higher reasons, God has allowed this trial in your life and everyday He gives us an opportunity to come to Him. We may never get a reason for our suffering nor understand it, as Job was never given an explanation for his suffering. We can, however, take solace in the fact that we are not alone in our situation and that there are others, past, present, and future who have dealt, are dealing with, and will deal with these same issues.
Our struggles are not unique to humanity
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, ‘Look! This is something new’? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10, NIV).
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV).
We must guard our reaction to trials
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.” (1 Peter 4:12-13, NIV).
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of suffering. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:8-10, NIV).
No matter what you are going through- sickness, family problems, finances, a crisis of faith,etc., you can get through this. Sometimes life forces all of us to make the best of a bad situation and we must learn to be content in all circumstances. The question becomes how much of your limited amount of life do you want to spend wrestling with this problem? In the midst of trials, we must focus on what we can control and let go of what we cannot control. How we respond will factor into how and when we overcome this current obstacle. God bless you all.