Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Suffering & Smiling

So I’m reading my Bible this morning (yes, I do) and the writer, James, is talking about ‘patience in the face of suffering’. It sounds good and do-able as words of encouragement usually do, but seconds later, I paused and reconsidered those words.

Having patience in the face of suffering is one of the most difficult things any human being can ever successfully do.

Take for instance a woman who’s been married for 5years and hasn’t had any kids. She is daily being tormented by her in-laws; has to attend baby showers and naming ceremonies of friends who only got married months ago; and also has to deal with the constant fear that her husband may just flip one day, and not be as supportive as he usually is.

She may even begin to consider the option of getting her husband to impregnate someone else, just to ease the burden. Isn’t this same woman justified by all human accounts if she succumbs when someone comes to suggest visiting that ‘Baba’ who would give her something that would help her get pregnant within weeks?

How do you tell such a woman to be patient, that God will answer her? Is it not the same God who has answered all those people who come week after week to dedicate their newborn babies in church that she’s praying to?

Be patient in the face of suffering??! Hmmmnn…

How about the brilliant, honest and extremely hard-working yet broke ass dude, who year after year gets passed over for a promotion just because he doesn’t know how to kiss the right asses?

This same dude has to watch the girl he loves and wants to marry go after the Big Boys who can take care of her and provide for all her needs because he can’t afford to. She thinks he doesn’t know, but he says nothing because how can he tell her to stop, when it’s not like he can step up for her in that department.

He goes to the club with his friends who left University with a Pass and watch them pour bottles of champagne on themselves as they celebrate a huge contract given to them by their corrupt Uncle in government. They even pop another bottle just for the extra millions they would be pocketing by getting very sub-standard material for the job.

He has to leave early so he can go and prepare for his N150, 000 paying job the next day.

Be patient in the face of suffering??! James, I don't know o...

How about the 25year old virgin who has just gotten ditched by the fourth guy in a row because she ain’t giving?

Her heart constricts in agony as she watches him literally bury his head in the cleavage of another girl at a mutual friend’s party. She is aware of the eyes of people who knew them together on her, as they whisper about what’s going on. Only a month ago, she was convinced that he was the One, and didn’t hesitate to brag about him to her friends.

“What am I keeping the darn thing for anyway?” she whispers to herself as she squeezes her eyes shut so the tears wouldn’t start pouring out. In that moment of weakness, she decides to go over to him and tell him that she’s ready. At least that would make him come back to her.

She opens her eyes, but he’s not there anymore. She frantically looks toward the door and catches a glimpse of him just leaving. She runs outside to catch up with him and calls his name. He is firmly holding hands with Boob-fest, and they both stop to hear what she has to say; the words wouldn’t come out.
Boob-fest is immediately all over him and is whispering in his ears, while slightly pulling him away. He turns around and goes off, throwing a wink in her direction.

Be patient in the face of suffering??!!

Farmers work in seasons. They know that there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. No matter how long the rains take to come, they know that the rains will surely come; for as long as the earth remains, there will be seed time and harvest time.

I believe that this is how it is with God. He will surely come.

And when He does, like the mighty rain after the drought, He will fill our lives with every good thing that has hitherto been withheld from us. God makes everything beautiful in its time; no matter how long He takes, we are certain that like the morning after a very long night, He would break forth like the dawn, and it would be as though the night never was.

A simple definition of Patience is the ability to calmly and contentedly wait for something due or hoped for.

It is as we begin to be thankful to God for what we have now or where we are at now, that our hearts are set in place for Patience to come forth.

One of my all-time favorite Bible verses is also given by James where he says that we should rejoice when we fall into various trials, because we know that the testing of our faith produces Patience; and when Patience is perfected, it makes us mature and complete, and we lack nothing. (James 1: 2-4)

This present discomfort is for our benefit. Have Patience in the face of Suffering.

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