A culture that respects human life must have a joyful acceptance of human suffering. This is something I learned early in life and a message I hope to communicate to others by accepting my own crosses in life. As we saw with the starvation of Terri Schiavo and many cases like hers, our society has a great disdain for human suffering which leads to the tragic death and outright murder of people whose lives are considered worthless. But what is so great about human suffering? How can we accept it joyfully? Mark Pickup has a very moving post on human suffering based on an encounter he had at a local hospital:
I saw a man at a hospital visiting his son of about two years of age who was suffering from some sort of respiratory ailment. The small child sat wheezing inside a plastic tent. The father was so agonized to see his tiny son in distress that he had crawled inside the tent and was cradling the child.
I suspect it was probably against hospital policy but to me passing the room, the scene was touching. When I passed the room again, the father was sitting the bedside, outside the tent, in silent vigil; his child slept with labored breathing in the mist tent. Had nurses ordered the father out?
The look on the man’s face spoke volumes: I’m sure he would have traded places with his son in a heartbeat and taken the child’s grief on to himself — if that was possible. To me the imagery was rather analogous to Christ’s response to hurting humanity. We are sick — steeped in sin and cut off from our heavenly Father.
The analogy quickly breaks down because, unlike the father of the small child in the hospital room, it was possible for Christ to suffer in our place to reunite us to the Father.
Read more and keep an eye on Mark’s blog, for more inspiring posts. This isn’t the first time I have linked to his beautiful writing, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed (Isaiah 53:5).