The cough that kept me up all night,
The speeding car that gave me fright,
The baby crying in the night –
But, somehow, I’m still breathing.
The wrenching pain I thought would kill me,
The choking air that tried to still me,
The people shouting words that sting me –
Yet, somehow, I’m still breathing.
The hurts I thought I couldn’t survive,
The illnesses, the loves I tried,
The wretched times that drove me wild –
Yet, somehow, I’m still breathing.
I’m thinking, now, whatever happens,
I’ll still exist, I still will matter.
My dreams and schemes, although they shatter –
My soul will still be breathing.
When my parents were World War II refugees, they lived in various Displaced Persons camps run by the U.S. and other Allies. Sometimes it would be so cold that there was frost on the INSIDE walls of their “accommodations”. (I don’t know exactly what their living quarters were like,) At some point in there, my older brother (a baby!), one paternal uncle, and my paternal grandmother also lived in the same camp(s). At least they had shelter! Traumatic as it all was, thank you Allies (and, ultimately, God), for keeping my family alive! Others, as you know, suffered considerably more: in concentration camps, in battles on land, sea, and sky, and elsewhere.
LIFE IS A GIFT! And, I’m so grateful to live in a home with heat and hot water.
Corrie ten Boom was in a concentration camp during World War II, because her family had hidden Jews in their home. She decided to take seriously the Scripture, “… give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), so she gave thanks for the fleas in her barracks. Sooner or later, she learned that the guards would avoid her barracks as much as possible, because of the fleas. In that way they did not get as much abuse as they might have. Perhaps most of us are not as faith-filled as Corrie ten Boom, but there is certainly a lesson to learn from her.
War is probably horrific for everyone touched by it, but perhaps it’s appropriate to also remember the positives.
Why do some (or perhaps all of us) encounter great trials and tribulations? I propose a few reasons here, several or all of which could occur together:
- We are being tested by God. It can be an opportunity for growth, to trust in Him more.
- We are being chastised by God. ” … for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and chastises every child whom He accepts.” (Hebrews 12:6). This is a good thing, because it shows that God loves us enough to correct us.
- We are suffering for our own or other people’s poor choices. We make bad decisions, or others take out their frustrations on us.
- It’s just part of the fallen human condition. Because of original sin, we all suffer consequences such as illness, accidents, death, etc.
No matter the reason, we must trust that God is with us through these difficulties. I don’t see any other reason to hope.
My ancestors had PTSD —
Wow, how unfortunate for me.
My problems could be epigenetic —
Is that why I am so frenetic?
Or is it all familial sin?
Destroying all the peace within?
It could go back to Adam and Eve,
When fruit was eaten from the tree.
The human race has many trials,
But also things that make us smile.
A laugh, a hug, and grateful words
Mitigate what seems absurd.
By grace of God we can have healing;
Eternal life is so appealing.
Consider suff’ring temporary
And keep your eyes on coming glory.
The cross of Christ is a paradox. How can something so painful be good, and even holy? Perhaps the more you love others, the more you will suffer. Yes, there will be times of joy, but let’s face it: often, it hurts to love.
Because you cared about others, but often they misunderstood you, or they felt threatened by your love, you suffered. Or, you suffered when you saw your loved one suffering. Or, you see their bad choices, but cannot make them change. Then you must wait and pray and trust that God may change their hearts.
I had my head down for so long,
It takes training for me to lift it up.
My focus is off; My heart’s eyes myopic.
Learning from God is my only cure.
“For the joy set before him he endured,”
“He considered the fact that God is able,”
“Our light and momentary troubles,”
“Our slight afflictions,”
“The sufferings of this present time,”
“Not worth comparing with the glory.”
I don’t know how abuse, torture, rape, crucifixion,
Ridicule, mockery, calumny,
Beatings, shipwrecks, imprisonments and more,
Suffered by some,
Can be called “slight –”
But the glory, the joy, of heaven,
Must be far greater than anyone can imagine.
This broken world of suffering souls;
So many hurting — it’s out of control.
We need a Savior, a God Who can mend.
We need a Father, Who loves without end.
We need the Spirit, Who gives us the power
To overcome Satan in ungodly hour.
Time to surrender your will unto His.
Let Him live in you, and give you His gifts.
By our sin and suffering,
You sweated blood.
How did you persevere?
Knowing the evil within us,
You still loved us.
You were crucified.
Freely laying down your life,
You took it up again.
Savior of the world,
There’s a reason for your suffering,
A purpose for your pain.
God’s forging new beginnings;
Your hurt is not in vain.
You may be in confusion,
Be tempted by despair,
But if you’ll keep on trusting,
No comfort can compare.
Your life is God’s creation;
His plan, it has no flaw.
And when His work is over,
You’ll stand in humble awe.
Remember you are clay now,
Or liquid metal made.
Each person finely crafted,
A creature now remade.
Someday, we might be able to see all our hurts, sufferings, and traumas
as TRANSFORMED miraculously into good,
if by God’s grace we’ve allowed Him to use these to bring us closer to Him.
I was once your enemy;
The fates of war
Placed us on opp’site sides —
We had our pride.
We had a cause,
We gave not pause –
Our cause was just –
To fight we must.
Sure those in power
Were not always right,
But many focused
For loved ones to fight.
The many fallen,
The dead, the suffering,
The broken hearts,
The shrapnel puncturing …
The enemy aliens,
The lost, the forgotten;
The orphans taken in.
And then it ends;
We pick up the pieces.
We must forgive,
Or hatred increases.
In the end, the good will win,
Despite our many, varied sins.
And in every conflict, however grave,
If we want the same, we must forgive.
(Memorial Day, 2016)