How to suffer

Apostolate of Suffering

"...I feel so bad for the people suffering here without faith. One woman was in here last week, as old as I am, and didn't know how to pray. So I taught her how. She was suffering and bitter when she came in; she left still suffering, but with a completely changed attitude. Jesus suffered so much for our sake, how can we not give Him back a little suffering of our own? It doesn't matter if I have cancer or if I don't. With faith, I have God within me and am at peace. Without faith, I could have full health, but I would still be bitter. God is so good."

Said by a little old lady suffering from cancer. How many Christians look at suffering this way? I think too many are caught up in the health and wealth gospel (many don't even realise it) that tells you that if you're sick or don't have every little material thing your heart desires something must be wrong in your relationship with God. I just can't see that attitude as being consistent with scripture. Sure Jesus healed people when he walked this earth as a man. And yes his followers were given the power to heal the sick. But two things come to my mind when these things are mentioned. One, we live in a fallen world where, redeemed or not, we must suffer the consequences of that fall. Two, Jesus himself acknowledged that we would suffer, "If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you." (John 15:20) Not exactly a direct link but if we are to suffer persecution for Christ's sake what makes one think that we wouldn't suffer sickness as well?

I spend a bit of time with non-Christians. At the times when a group of Christians would get together to pray they get together to center themselves and gather positive energy around them. For them there is nothing greater than self to call upon for the strength and guidance we need in life. It always weirds me out thinking about it. Without God we have nothing but ourselves, that's a pretty bleak picture for me because I know what I'm like. Like this old woman who is at the end of her days, I'd much rather have God and poor health (or poor anything else) than not have God and have all of the things I want.


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