Sometimes I miss out on suffering.
I rejoice, rejoice, rejoice, with those who rejoice. I celebrate until my voice is gone with those who are entering into a season of harvest.
However, when the fields go dry and water seems far off, I tend to simply stop. Sometimes I don’t know what to say and so I say nothing, and other times, I intentionally avoid it like a disease. It does change you, you know. Sadness, grief, suffering…it leaves no one comfortable. It does change you.
Sometimes I like where I am. It’s comfortable, and predictable. It’s also wrong and shallow. Even odder, it’s harmful. Yes, it is harmful to not experience grief with those around you. Why? Because it creates a narrow crack for fear to sneak in.
That is usually the reason for me-fear. I don’t wish to hear about the car crash, the death, the divorce, the lay off, the abuse, or the ‘not-accepted-try-again-next-year-letter’, because if I am honest, it instills fear. I fear that it could be me. I run the whole scenario through my family, my friend group, my future and bam-fear.
Since I have yet to meet someone who enjoys being afraid (holler if you do) we often, either run or tune out to others’ sorrow. We have our own problems so why cry with someone else?
Why? Because if we don’t, we affirm that there is reason to be afraid. If we run, we signal to our hearts and those around us that there is a reason to fear.
Do not be afraid is repeated more times in the Bible than any other command (over 200). So when we chose fear, (oh, yes it is a choice, even if the switch has been thrown left so many times, right no longer seems an options) we are telling our God that there is a reason to fear, and how dare you for telling us otherwise.
This is the harm in not suffering with others. For, there is no reason to fear.
No guilt in life,
no fear in death,
this is the power of Christ in me.
If we do suffer with others, if we do sit on that cold, hard, narrow bench of grief, we will soon be pushed into a new reality. When we suffer with others we are forced to hold and recite those promises of old. We are begged by our friends to give them hope, and this is an opportunity. It is an opportunity to not only share hope, but to remind our hearts that there is no reason to fear.
When shoved into someone else’s pain let us run into the deep fields of hope. Let’s pick up the promises, brush off the covenants, and remind our hearts what hope really is.