Suffering: An Essential Element of Life
Driving back home with my mother from a mission trip to New Orleans, I’d complained about my mother giving me an air mattress to sleep on. I told her it was more trouble than it was worth and I didn’t have to use it at all.
“Well, aren’t you the poor little rich girl?” my mother mocked. I wanted so badly to just open the car door and jump out of the car and onto the highway. The immaturity of her words set me off. It was like arguing with a name-calling five-year-old instead of my fully-grown mother. Despite that fact, I actually believed her.
As I look now, I can see a lot of pain stemming mostly from my mother spitting
poisonous words out of anger. Sometimes I wonder what I would’ve been like if those things hadn’t happened. But when I think long enough about it, I realize they’ve shaped me into who I am today. I used to hurt myself because the burden of my mother’s words was just too much; in that way, I’ve failed. But I got out. I’m in counseling and taking medication. I saw the problem and I sought the treatment. And that makes me successful.
It seems to me that people who have suffered the most have fewer behavioral and
emotional problems later in life. Because they’ve already overcome a tough obstacle in their lives and solving a small problem is like a piece of cake. However, people who haven’t suffered much are often devastated at the smallest hurdle that comes their way. It’s like trying to walk before learning to crawl.
If a baby has been crawling for awhile, usually they have an easier time learning to walk. If a baby tries to walk before crawling, they struggle longer. The crawling acts as practice for walking.
Suffering that happens early in life is like learning to walk. It teaches you lessons that you couldn’t learn by your parents just telling you, “Don’t do drugs like I did; because it got me into trouble.” Parents say this, with the good intention of keeping their child from harm, but their teenagers roll their eyes and pretend to soak the information in, but they haven’t taken it to heart. They go out and they drive drunk, thinking they are invincible and they won’t get busted. When it’s all said and done, teens have fallen into the same trap their parents warned them about. Most crawl away from it with little or no injury. They’ve learned their lesson.
I believe that God made suffering to teach us important lessons. Pain is a way of warning us of danger. Most people wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Would you?
This I believe: suffering exists to prepare us for the world; it gives us needed experience to overcome difficult situations. I believe that we should not be bitter because we are suffering, but rejoicing because we are safe.
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