Suffering is mostly a matter of perspective, wouldn’t you agree?
In other words, if you perceive that you are suffering from something, then most likely you ARE going to suffer from it, even when you currently aren’t. And the strength of that suffering would also be a matter of perspective. An easy example would be between two athletes. One may perceive running multiple laps to be tiring, but for another it might be a simple warm-up! When you allow the thought of suffering to enter your mind, it’s usually at that moment when the suffering actually begins.
I’ve had my bad days. The worst ones are usually when I leave my homework binder with all my assignments at home, getting big fat 0’s in every class as a result. I complain and I blabber on about my “sufferings”, but honestly, it’s not that bad.
I complain about the food I eat, the clothes I wear, and the teachers I have. I mark these off as more and more oppressions, but really, they’re hardly anything at all. A few weeks ago, I looked out the car window to see two homeless men huddled together, eating some food. I reflected on what I considered my “sufferings”, comparing what I eat to what they are eating, what I wear to the clothes on their backs, and the education opportunities I have that they probably never had.
I am definitely better off than they are. Yet I complain about these meager oppressions —it makes me feel terrible. How could I not only neglect to be thankful for what I have, but also complain about it at the same time? Why can’t I understand that I am already better off than many people in this world, and that their oppressions far surpass mine?
To counteract this false perception, I need to cultivate a heart of thankfulness. I need to understand that God is bigger than what I go through, no matter how big it seems to be. I need to express sympathy to those who are less blessed than I, helping them ease their personal oppressions. I need to know that it isn’t all about me.
It’s about all of God’s people.