My granddaughter is inconsolable today, crying her 7-year-old eyes out. She came out to check on her bunny and found that it had gone to bunny glory. She’d had it for less than a year and to be honest, since she moved to the country recently and got a couple of cats, she’d spent less and less time with the bunny. When she found it lifeless, though, she was absolutely crushed.
It would be easy to tell her to get some perspective, to recognize the suffering all around her and to see that in the grand scope of things, one little bunny doesn’t matter all that much. I was crying a few moments ago because a niece posted a picture of my late father and my very ill mother. A good friend just lost his father yesterday. America’s pandemic is exploding and we are seeing record numbers of people falling to this plague. How can a little bunny match up to the suffering in this world.
So, what did we do? Did we tell her to grow up, to get some perspective, to realize that her bunny was no big thing compared to the terrible things going on in the world? No, we consoled her and grieved with her and tried to help her in any way we could. Because we love her, her suffering matters to us no matter how small it may be in the grand scheme of things.
Of course, God is not going to tolerate or enable us to become self-absorbed and self-pitying people who fail to look beyond our own sufferings to think about others, but he is a loving Father who cares about our needs and our hurts. We matter to him.
This has been an awful year for me in so many ways. I am not sure it helps to enumerate my sufferings, but I could list several including dad’s death, mom’s impending homegoing, a harrowing battle with COVID, and ministry struggles that left me burned out and discouraged.
I have had many people tell me that the ministry struggles I am experiencing are common across the land in the COVID era. I realize that I am not alone nor are my sufferings the worst. Others have gotten sicker, have things worse than I do, have been hit harder than I have. I know it is true.
But thankfully, my heavenly Father doesn’t say to me, “Stop crying, Dave. Grow up, get some perspective and realize others have it worse.” He cares about what I am going through and ministers grace to me where I am.
We minister weekly to hurting people. I am overwhelmed Sunday by Sunday at the amount of pain in the membership of Southern Hills. There is hardly a family not facing a major crisis. It is easy when faced with all of those mountains to ignore the molehills of suffering people face. God doesn’t do that and neither should we.
I need the heart of love that I have for my granddaughter toward every part of the Body of Christ.