24“What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now.
25What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
26What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.
I thought discussing each one of these separately would be a bit redundant since that is what we did with the blessings. I hope that’s OK with God. Maybe I just didn’t want to spend that much time on a “downer”. More than one of these describes me, and most Americans.
Taken as a whole however, what is being said here? Perhaps, in a lot of ways, suffering is good.
I don’t mean that is an excuse for us to not help the suffering around us and I certainly don’t mean that we shouldn’t be empathetic. What I’m saying is that my personal suffering has always seemed to have a purpose when I looked back on it later. Now I haven’t ever had anything truly horribly tragic happen to me, so perhaps that’s “easy for me to say”, but it is still true. In it’s simplest terms what I’m saying is this: It was never smart to touch a hot stove, but I never really learned that from NOT touching the hot stove. I had to experience the pain to learn the lesson really well.
We don’t have to learn all our lesson by burning our hands, that is decidedly NOT the point. The point here is that we need to try to accept our sufferings and blessings in disguise, for that is what they are.
Father, first and foremost, praise you and thank you that you are a Father who loves me so much that you won’t allow for pointless suffering. You have a plan and a purpose. Help me to learn and grow from the suffering that comes my way. Help me only burn my hand once!
Dan, it’s a good thing I heal burns, or you wouldn’t have any hands left! But I promise, I’ll keep teaching, and I’ll keep you learning…and I’ll keep healing burns!