1 Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (ESV)
There are some days when I feel sorry for myself and end up brooding over something someone has said to me or something that happened which embarrassed or offended me. I feel hurt and unappreciated which causes me to become gloomy and upset. I think that I should be shown more respect and credited for my years of wisdom, skills, and knowledge. I get frustrated and end up in a foggy mire of my own making. It’s as if I’ve decided to ‘doldrumize’ my life and be as stubborn or ornery as I want to be.
I think my suffering is unfair and unmerited. I go about with a grey cloud over me and make others around me feel uncomfortable, unsure, or uneasy. Because I’m so focused on my issues, I don’t see what’s going on around me – how I’m embarrassing myself or how folks are beginning to avoid me. In other words, my suffering becomes self-inflicted and my sorrow is self-sustained.
And then I see scenes on television or the internet which display real suffering and destitution. I look at the thousands of homes that have been destroyed by hurricanes and floods. I watch hundreds of people try to rescue children underneath collapsed buildings. I see parents weeping in anguish, old folks looking confused, and children who are shell-shocked because of the disaster, tragedy, and horrific loss of life, liberty, and security that they are all sadly experiencing. Their pain quickly puts my pettiness into perspective. Their tragic losses burst my injured pride and self-centered ways wide open.
During those times of real awareness, I reject my manufactured, artificial, and sorrowful feelings. I am ashamed of my self-pity and the trivial burdens I conceitedly carry. I need to get real and truly understand that the world does not revolve around me, my feelings, or my upsets. There are billions of people on Earth who suffer much more than I have or ever will. Instead of wasting my compassion on me, I should make it available for them. Rather than be gloomy and petulant, I should be grateful and penitent.
Prayer: O Lord, forgive me! Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to worship with us, join us on Sundays at 11:00 AM.