Suffering In Peace

They took his clothes and divided them
into four parts, one for each soldier.

From John 19:23

The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

It should have been enough to crucify Jesus, but not so for his captors. They seemed anxious to make use of every opportunity to beat him and to humiliate him as best they could. What was worse was that curious and mean-spirited onlookers joined in the fun. Those who loved Jesus most could only watch in horror…

I admit that I find it much easier to deal with my own suffering than that of others. When loved ones and even people I don’t know endure hardship, I want to fix things and to make them right. These are the times when I find it impossible to place things in God’s hands. These are the times when I provide God an insistent to-do list which I fully expect to be fulfilled in short order. Of course, not long after issuing my demands to The Almighty, I look back upon those for whom I prayed. I see their resolve, their acceptance and their willingness to endure for as long as they must. I also sense an unexpected measure of peace in their demeanors. Somehow, they have found the strength to endure. So it is that I turn back to my prayer. First, I offer an apology for expecting my plans to direct God’s interactions with us. Then, I offer a prayer of gratitude for God’s constant companionship and unconditional love.

Jesus wasn’t alone in his suffering. You and I are never alone either.

Loving God, help me never to do to another what was done to you, not even in the smallest seemingly inconsequential way.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Never Alone

They took his clothes and divided them
into four parts, one for each soldier.

From John 19:23

The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments
It should have been enough to crucify Jesus, but not so for his captors. They seemed anxious to make use of every opportunity to beat him and to humiliate him as best they could. What was worse was that curious and mean-spirited onlookers joined in the fun. Those who loved Jesus most could only watch in horror…

I admit that I find it much easier to deal with my own suffering than that of others. When loved ones and even people I don’t know endure hardship, I want to fix things and to make them right. These are the times when I find it impossible to place things in God’s hands. These are the times when I provide God an insistent to-do list which I fully expect to be fulfilled in short order. Of course, not long after issuing my demands to The Almighty, I look back upon those for whom I prayed. I see their resolve, their acceptance and their willingness to endure for as long as they must. I also sense an unexpected measure of peace in their demeanor. Somehow, they have found the strength to endure. So it is that I turn back to my prayer. First, I offer an apology for expecting my plans to trump God’s plans. Then, I offer a prayer of gratitude for God’s constant companionship and unconditional love. Jesus was not alone in his suffering. You and I are never alone either.

Loving God, help me never to do to another what was done to you, not even in the smallest seemingly inconsequential way.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Suffer In Good Company

I was restless and exhausted. I was under all kinds of stress,
quarrels with others and fears within myself.
But God, who gives heart to those who are low in spirit,
gave me strength with the arrival of Titus.

From 2 Corinthians 7:5-7

I admit that I am stressed as frequently as the rest of humankind. This is the good news. The bad news is that there are times when I would happily trade true suffering for the daily annoyances which plague us. Still, even in the midst of the worst of this, there is joy to be found. This joy comes in the compassion I extend to others whose suffering exceeds my own at a given moment. This joy also comes in the compassion others extend to me when I need it most.

It seems to me that suffering alone is among the worst of our trials on this earth. Simply knowing that another soul understands makes all of the difference in the world. Whether we provide that companionship or someone else provides it to us, sharing our sorrow lightens our burdens considerably.

I admit that I have sometimes overlooked the suffering of others, just as others have sometimes overlooked my pain. Still, there is good news in all of this. When we fail to respond to the suffering of others or they fail to respond to us, we are not left to suffer alone. This is when our God, who gives heart to those who are low in spirit, steps in.

Loving God, thank you for being with us in our compassion and for stepping in when we overlook precious opportunities to bring your love to one another.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved