Learning From Those Who Suffer
I love talking to people who have suffered greatly. No, I don’t get some twisted pleasure from listening to the plight of others. Those who suffer or who have suffered have a unique perspective on life.
When I meet someone who has suffered, whether physically, emotionally, financially, or spiritually, I take the time to talk to them, to pick their brains, to dig into their experience. I want to know what they went through, how they felt, how they made it through, what they learned, how they changed.
No one emerges from suffering unchanged. These folk have discovered what it is to really live, the value of life and relationships. They know the importance of perspective and priorities. Life has taught them lessons you can’t put a price tag on; it has tempered their resolve, strengthened their courage, sharpened their wisdom. God has shown them a side of himself few get to see.
For them, suffering has been a blessing. And they’ll be the first ones to admit that.
I need that reminder, that refresher course in what really matters in life. In the midst of the busyness of life and the constant battle with expectations and desires and pressure, I need to be refocused by these folk.
Here is a sampling of life lessons I’ve learned from people who have traversed the Valley of the Shadow of Death:
- Relationships are what matter most, not success or image or climbing some ladder to nowhere.
- God is there even if you can’t feel his presence.
- It’s okay to be honest with God. He’s big enough to hear us put a voice to our emotions.
- Suffering is temporary. No matter how long you have to endure it, an end will come.
- When I am weak, then I am strong.
- It’s okay to accept help from others, they are God’s messengers of grace.
- When you have nothing else to hold on to, God is still there.
- When God is silent, that’s when he’s holding us tight.
- Suffering can be a blessing in disguise.
Have you learned any other important and noteworthy lessons from those who have suffered? Or from your own suffering?