After reading books, watching films and hearing stories about genocide, civil war, starvation, disease, and hardships, I realized that I know nothing about real human suffering.
I was born in America, where I have lived a sheltered and privileged life. My family is intact, I am surrounded by wonderful things which make my life easier and better, the house I reside in is huge, with many rooms full of furniture, clothing and stuff.
And yet, I find many things to be annoyed by, and complain about. In reality I am rich. And I don’t suffer.
Don’t get me wrong. There are real things which pain human hearts the world over, death, loneliness and illness just to name a few. But, how many of us have really suffered just to get a meal? Or to be warm at night? Or to see our family safe?
This world is full of suffering; some of it on an immense and enormous scale, hard to imagine. But, there is an answer.
God sent his perfect Son, Jesus, to become as we are – human. He lived an absolutely perfect life, yet he experienced all of the pain and temptations humans undergo daily, without sinning. At the end of his short earthly life, he endured unimaginable physical pain by being whipped with a cat-of-9-tails, having his head pierced with a crown of thorns, crucifixion, and lastly a spear rammed into his side (he was already dead). Most significantly was the pain of being separated from his perfectly holy father, as Jesus bore the stain of unholy mankind in all of their sinfulness. Jesus knew real suffering and he did all of that for us, for you and me.
So that humankind would have the opportunity to serve, love, and honor Jesus with all of their being. He came to save us from the mess we are because of our sinful lives and choices. He came because of Love, great and eternal.
And he came so that when we suffer, we might think of him and the strength we get from him when things aren't going the way we would like them to.
“In our weakness He is strength.”
So yes, while it may seem the world is full of suffering and evil and wrong, there is Hope.
Its name is Jesus.
And He came to rescue us from our suffering. Even if that doesn't mean that our suffering will literally end, we have the hope that one day we will be with him, in perfection. No more suffering. No more injustice. No more pain.