We Share in our Sufferings –
Suffering is a different category of pain. Pain is physical hurt we experience. Suffering is the dread of anticipation of pain. Suffering can also be the lingering after effects of real pain that we are experiencing. The person who commits suicide suffers in consideration of how much they do not like their life, how messed up they believe their life is, and that death not only could not be worse than the life that they are living, but death would take them out of their misery.
While I understand the rationale for suicide, I cannot say that I agree with the logic that concludes that killing oneself is the best option. I feel that God gives us another day to allow us to revamp, re-tool, and renew our lives. In my life, I see this happening not only every day, but multiple times each day. When my father heard, me say, “I feel wonderful,” he would tell me to tone it down and not say that I feel wonderful because not everybody feels good about their life.
Suffering is real. To suffer is human. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:
2 Corinthians 1: 7 Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our consolation. 
The early church suffered in persecution. All but John, of the original disciples, died a tortured, violent death. Several were nailed to a cross, some beheaded, one was skinned alive. They knew what was coming, but they preached on. They knew they would experience extraordinary pain, but they preached on. They knew they would die, but they preached on. Suffering for the early church became almost a badge of honor. Those who suffered developed a bond with others who suffered for the cross of Jesus Christ.
In like manner, those who experienced beatings and worse in the American Civil Rights Movement are drawn together because of their suffering. A person who has experienced the drain of cancer treatment has a connection with others who are going through the same thing. The parent of a child who has committed suicide can relate to the relatives of others who have taken their lives. The woman who has been passed over at work, simply because she is a woman, shares in the sufferings of other women who have experienced something similar. The African American who has been left out, down and out, and abused because of the color of their skin, can identify with people of color worldwide who also have suffered because of race and ethnicity.
Our faith in Jesus Christ gives us the strength the fight on, move on and live on. And, through it all, we bond in our suffering and our consolation.
Questions for Reflection:
- What do you think Paul means when he says, “You share in our sufferings…”?
- How does Jesus help us to “Share in our consolation”?
Prayer: Lord, grant me the strength to endure suffering. Lord, help me to live through physical, emotional and spiritual pain. Bless me to lift my eyes to the hill of your help. Come into my life now and grant me the ability to endure, the power to move mountains, faith to believe that all things are possible, hope for the best life possible and love that never ends. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Denise Page Hood
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 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (2 Co 1:7). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.