Suffering. It happens all around us.
A tornado touches down while families sleep. An out-of-control car careens into innocents. Terminal illness steals time and holds the body hostage.
The pain -- physical or emotional, often both -- doesn’t end when the public has moved onto the next headline. Unless we’re brought face to face with a reminder of their suffering, it’s business as usual. Life goes on.
My memory was jogged this past week when I stopped in at a small business, a favorite haunt of mine whenever I’m traveling west. Wind-blown and ready for coffee, a familiar face -- one I hadn’t seen for several years -- smiled from behind the counter.
“Lucy!” the woman nearly shouted as we embraced in a hug. “It’s been ages since I’ve seen you.”
Then, in a near whisper, she confided, “Can you believe it’s been 10 years this month since my daughter was murdered?”
Anguish was etched on her face as we remembered the horrible crime -- one that shook the foundation of this woman’s existence.
I’d met her shortly after the tragedy when my work took me out of town frequently. And while my life has since been filled with joyful memories, hers been almost empty. She painfully struggles to live normally in a world that never will be normal again.
Suffering is something we may distance ourselves from lest it spoil our pursuit of happiness. Yet, this weekend we will be reminded of the suffering that Christ experienced on Calvary.
I don’t need graphic images to cause me to consider the pain and grief Jesus experienced at the hands of the Romans, the abandonment by friends, the ridicule from the crowds, the weight of our sins. The detailed Biblical account often brings me to tears. But I do believe we need to be reminded of the Love that put Him on the cross.
He died so we can live. He arose to give us hope.
Having a Savior who suffered immeasurable pain assures me that He understands when we suffer, too. And unlike the world today, His compassion and caring doesn’t end when a new headline appears.