This past Sunday I heard a message from a missionary to China that gave me a fresh look at suffering. Got me to thinking about how we suffer in our first world country in comparison to how those who live in China, or Iran.
Recently the gas to our place had to be shut off for a few days. We still had electricity and water which made living without a cook stove easier. There were times when we lived in Papua New Guinea we went without electricity for days and there was never a warning WHEN it would go off. There was one small generator to be passed around for the 8 houses on the support center. Each house would use it for a couple hours to run our fridges so not to lose our meat. Eventually we were able to purchase a relay switch so when town power went off our big generator would kick on.
If you are thinking, wow, Betty I bet you handled losing your cook stove for a few days easy. Sorry, I wish I could say I did not complain or grumble. I let the, woe is me attitude over take me a little too much. Still being sanctified.
Comparison is not a good thing to do but after hearing this missionary stories of the believers in China I was convicted at my take on suffering. Doing without a gas store for a few days is not suffering, a hardship yes, but suffering?
I read this somewhere and it struck a cord in my heart. In a first world country most people don't feel helpless with the conditions they live in. Across the board that is probably true. In a first world country we have the Red Cross, Global Fund for Women, In This Tent, Action Against Hunger, Samaritan Purse, WHO, Lutheran Service of America, Heart to Heart, Go Fund Me, The Innocence Project, Hope for Women, Operation USA, American Civil Rights and that is just a few of the organization there is to turn to for help. In China and some of the other countries the list is very short to turn to for help. On top of all those I named is the countless churches in the USA. Countless restaurant give out food to the needy, there are food banks all over America you can tap into for food. I do think you get the point. Nobody kicked our door down for reading the bible or having a home church in the US.
The modern definition of “first world” is used to classify countries that are highly industrialized and with advanced economies. First-world countries include the United States, Canada, Japan, and Western European countries..
=But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. I Peter 5:10
I like the last part of what the above verse says suffering will do, settle me. Knowing what to expect helps settle a person even before suffering comes. I have met people who are settled with the lot God has given them. They are a comfort to be around and their quiet ways comfort me and give me courage to accept suffering. To not waste it.
I wasted the time grumbling about my lack of cooking gas recently and trust me it was not a settled astrosphere in our house. How about you, have you wasted any of your suffering lately?