Saturday, December 22, 2012


Suffering is a teacher.

I have had a heavy week.  It's been a heavy year.  I know that the things that grieve my heart are small compared to what many people have been through and are going through.  Yet, pain is a personal thing, isn't it? When it enters our lives it knows just how to reach those deep places and when it does, it taps right into the center of our ability to receive a teaching.  
Suffering is a teacher.

Yesterday my Man, my kids and a few friends went to Call of Hope to deliver some CHRISTmas presents.  They knew we were coming. When we arrived, one of the teachers met us and said, "we've prepared a table for you" It was set up at the front of a dark, extremely crowded room.  They had placed their best tablecloth on the table and set up a fan to blow directly on those seated at it.  
The kids had all prepared something to perform for us.  The youngest little children sang a song, the older kids performed skits and danced tribal dances and many of the children quoted Scriptures from the CHRISTmas passages of the Bible.   Every part was precious. The children are taught from very young how to speak in front of people. There's no stage fright, no one too shy. On their turn, each child would come to the front and say "Good Afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, Instructors, Colleagues and Students of this Honorable Institution"  (I loved the irony of such a grand statement in such an incredibly humble setting.)  Then they would continue with giving their name and what they intended to recite.  
Nothing compared to one sweet girl in a little brown dress. She was probably the age of CurlyGirl.  
When she walked up to recite her verse I noticed her eyes had tears.  She began to recite and as she said each word, more tears came. By the end of the Scripture, the last few words of the verse were spoken through her sobs.  She finished and walked off still crying loudly.  
She wasn't nervous.  She wasn't scared.  
She was crying because she understood the words she read: "Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men."
It made me wonder how I could have ever read that verse without crying as she did.  
It is probably because I hadn't read it as one so familiar with the kind of death that steals life from children every day.  
Suffering taught her the reality of GOD's Word. And it teaches me. 

Suffering creates communion.

For the first time this week, I felt like I was not a visitor in Guinea any more. I felt like I was one of them.  How could I even pretend to understand or think I am part of the life here if I don't suffer as they do?  When I drive down the streets, even their faces look different to me snow.  I feel a connection to them.
Suffering creates communion.
 This week I lay down on my bed and cried like a little child. I cried for the injustice and the suffering and the poverty that is like a plague among the people I love. When I looked up, my housekeeper was standing there....crying too.  
Suffering creates communion.
I grieve over Abu. It hurt me that he never belonged to anyone.  I shared that feeling with a wise friend. She corrected me, saying that exactly the opposite was true! He belonged to many, she said.  Everyone who knew him, loved him and felt invested in his life. In a way, he was all of ours.  I think she is right.  His suffering made us all feel connected to him. 
 Suffering creates communion.  

I don't like suffering. I don't want it.  But I know I need it.   It has a way of making life real, of driving out the unimportant and the wasteful. It makes you grasp the things that are right and real and true. 

So, that was my CHRISTmas gift this year:  suffering.
I didn't ask for it but I am so grateful.  
Without it, I wouldn't be so hungry for my other CHRISTmas gift:


No comments:

Post a Comment