Response to Suffering

by adustyframe ~ January 17th, 2009

For my birthday, my sister gave me Home To Harmony by Phillip Gulley. I’ve hooted through many of the chapters. It’s about a Quaker pastor’s life when he returns to pastor his childhood church.

I’m not sure if I find it so funny because it IS so funny, or because I grew up in the Pastor’s home and know that some of this stuff can’t be made up!

The chapter I read this morning is the story of a little boy in his son’s 1st grade class. This little boy terrorizes everyone and his son says he’s going to karate chop him.

The pastor knows that the little boy’s mama ran off with someone and the dad is doing his very best to show his boys they are valuable and loved but he works all night and can’t be there for them as much as he’d like to be.

When the pastor goes to school to eat lunch with his son, the other little boy tells him all about his mama and how she ate lunch with him yesterday. A girl screams, “You’re a liar. Your mommy ran away. She’s gone.”

The boy screamed “Shut your face.” and lunged across the table at her shaking with rage. The pastor grabbed him and held him as he cried.

The lunch aid came over and told Adam if he didn’t settle down he’d have to go sit by himself at the quiet table.

The following paragraphs are so true and sadly are things I’ve experienced.

The is the world’s response to suffering.

We want it out of sight, off by itself over at the quiet table.

Raw pain alarms us. It reminds us that life isn’t as orderly as we’d hoped. We demand that pain settle down before we shuffle it off to the quiet table. We want pain to stay in its own little section, want to keep it from spilling over into the other parts of life. Just like those sectioned lunch trays.

Keep pain in it’s own little compartment.”

What’s the answer? What’s the correct response?

The truth is that we don’t want to get messy. We don’t want to have to help someone else. We are so busy and why can’t they just pull themselves up and get on with it?

Not everyone feels this way or lives this way, but enough do. Enough do.

Those of us reeling from an ugly turn in our lives can tell you that.

I don’t want to be the one turning away from someone in pain. I don’t want to be one who relegates the hurting to the quiet corner. I don’t want to be the one who wants others messiness to stay out of my neatly ordered life.

It’s hard to show mercy. It requires time. It requires change. It requires feeling the pain of others and that just plain hurts.

I heard a joke long ago about the spiritual gifts and how they’d apply to the Good Samaritan, I don’t remember it all but what I do remember is that the person with the gift of mercy would be in the ditch holding the wounded man, getting dirty because of his wounds. He’d be whispering words of comfort and crying real tears because of his pain.

That’s what Jesus does. He’s in the ditch with us. He holds us, comforts us, and touches our wounds.  Saying, “God didn’t give me the gift of mercy.” doesn’t let you off the hook.

We aren’t free to say that because to be Christlike means we will show mercy and compassion to others just like our Savior did.

Here’s the question I so desperately wish I could convey to others.

What if it were you?

What if you were in my situation? What would you want people to do for (or with) you?

What if your baby died? What would you want people to do for (or with) you?

What if your husband was ill? What would you want people to do for (or with) you?

What if you felt like your life was out of control and you didn’t know what to do? What would you want people to do for (or with) you?

Really put yourselves in the place of people who are hurting. They don’t need platitudes and they don’t need shunning glances and whispers behind hands. They need Jesus and the only way to bring him to the hurting and needy is by going there yourself.

Little naughty boys who hurt because their mom is gone, need a hug. They don’t need the quiet corner.


8 Thoughts Shared to Response to Suffering

  1. Robin in New Jersey

    Lord knows how much I would love to sit down and have a face to face chat with you.

    I try to stay stong for everyone else. I try to not let my husband know how much it hurts sometimes because I don’t want to make him feel worse than he already does.

    I have read all of Philip Gulley’s Home to Harmony books.

    ((Hugs)) I’m sorry.

  2. Chel

    I wish I was closer, that we knew each other in person… I’d really like to be able to be one of those who support you, who encourage you, who hang out with and love your James. Just know that even now, from far away, I’m thinking of you. And I will say a prayer for you.

    That would be fun!:) Just know that your prayers truly are a support. So is your kindness and generosity!

  3. Pam

    It is so true “Hurting people hurt people”
    We may be the only Jesus people ever get to see….it is an awesome responsibilty and an awesome priveledge!
    Many of us “hang-out with you” in prayer and caring….God Bless, Pam

  4. e-Mom

    This is a well-written beautiful post, and a timely reminder to share (ours) and comfort (others) pain.

    Happy belated birthday!

    Blessings, e-Mom @ Chrysalis

  5. elinor

    what an inspirational blog. 🙂
    –equivoque at etsy

  6. Christy

    This is an awesome post … one of the best I’ve read on A Dusty Frame. And that’s saying something, Friend, because they’re all good! Love you.

    Wow;)! Thanks. Truly though, I’m just thankful to be able to serve God by sharing our story.

  7. Janet

    I love the Harmony books and have read every single one. They are funny, b/c they show real life and real people attitudes.

    Lizzie, there are times I read your blog and just cry along with you, smile and even get on my knees to the Father for your situation. Hang in there girl, you are the apple of God’s eye.

    Just this week, we’ve had some hard news about my son from some medical tests. It is so nice as you know just to have people hug you, love on you, offer to watch my son so I can rest and to know people are really praying for your situation. People sometimes just don’t know what to do or what to say. And I don’t go out of my way to tell them hey I need a hug b/c I don’t want to be a bother. Afterall there are people with worse situations that mine. Right?
    God bless you abundantly today.

    Thank you for praying for us and crying along with me;)!

    Praying for you and your son!

  8. Robin ~ PENSIEVE

    Wow…shockingly beautiful. Full of wisdom and truth, when we are perhaps the most unlovable, in that moment, we most need to be loved.


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