Hope in Suffering
Despite our advancements in technology, despite our advancements in moral/social issues, despite our progress in education. Sociologists and anthropologists when looking at the various ways that cultures train and equip its members to handle and deal with grief, pain and loss and it is often noted that our contemporary secular, Western culture is one of the weakest in human history at doing so.
Dr Paul Brand, a pioneering orthopaedic surgeon in the treatment of leprosy patients, spent the first part of his career in India and the last part in the US said, “In the United States… I encountered a society that seeks to avoid pain at all costs. Patients lived at a greater comfort level than any I had previously treated, but they seemed far less equipped to handle suffering and far more traumatized by it.”
Both the New and the Old Testament give great time and energy into helping people understand the reality of grief and loss, but also the present comfort of a companion in pain. That God did not see fit to leave us to suffer alone but entered in. Entered into the bitterness of loss and the coldness of death. That in the darkness, the dawn will always come. That it might not have the final word.
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