The Truth About Suffering

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

Yesterday, I told a friend of mine that I never thought that this would be my place in life. Before your mind cues the violin strings, let me explain.

Like many millennials, I grew up watching Full House, Gullah Gullah Island, 7th Heaven, Zenon the Zequel, Sister Sister, etc. All of the shows that I really loved were centered around the theme of family. Those television shows formed my expectations for my adult life.

Having a car by 16.

Finding the love of my life in high school.

Getting married after college.

Perfect (well, semi perfect) kids.

Perfect furniture.

The applause of the studio audience.

Friends that are always there for you.

The resolve of issues within 40 minutes aka the end of the episode unless it was a season finale).

I just expected my life to be full of rainbows, glitter, gum drops without valleys and mud puddles of suffering. Life hasn't measured up to my expectations, and I'm becoming okay with it. I've learned some much needed lessons that I have no problem sharing.

There are three types of suffering that I want to briefly discuss: Financial suffering, Relationship suffering and Suffering from Internal Conflict.

Financial Suffering

Suffering is frowned upon in society, especially in church. If you’re a church member and you’re suffering, you’re deemed as not enough. If you can’t pay your tithes or you’re unable to participate in seed offerings, you’re just worthless. It’s already embarrassing that you can’t be in the $100 seed offering line, but then when the leaders beat you down from the pulpit… it just makes it worse.

It’s like wait, don’t I have more value than the record of my giving?

Wait, now I’m “less” anointed because I can’t give? Shouldn’t it be the opposite?

Let’s examine a few scriptures:

Proverbs 22:22-23

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.

Proverbs 14:31

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

1 John 3:17

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

I think all of these scriptures are self-explanatory. God has an ear for our suffering. Period.

Life isn’t always fair. Even though you work, you can’t always depend on a check. Ask the victims of the government shut down or work for a timeshare company – trust me, no check is guaranteed. Being rich does not define you. Being poor does not define you. Jesus never had an issue with wealth, he had an issue with greed. The richest people in the world don't measure their possessions. Don't allow the enemy to make you insecure. Your Father is rich and he has more than enough for you.

In an attempt to be a good Christian and a great church member, I’ve always been a financial giver. Can I be honest, for years, I paid my tithes and offerings to please my Pastor – not because I was honoring God. You do know that you may encounter situations where honoring your Pastor and honoring God will not be the same thing, right? I know I just opened a can of worms. Breathe.

I thought if I over honored my leader, I would be blessed. If my leader is blessed, then I’m blessed, right? Let's look at the scripture below.