Christ is never indifferent to our suffering

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

LIKE those who went to Christ for healing, (cfr. Lk 4,38-44) we too should immediately go to our Lord especially when we find ourselves in some form of suffering, be it a matter of sickness or some difficulty in the different aspects of our life, financial, professional, social, etc.

We should never suffer by our lonesome, coping with our problems through some human ways alone. This method can only go so far. What we need to do is always to go to Christ who teaches us and enables us to suffer with meaning.

With Christ, there is even the possibility of solving our problems while here on earth. We can be cured of any illness we may have. And if these problems cannot be solved anymore in our life, Christ can turn them into a way of our purification and salvation. Christ can always derive from it something good for us.

We need to develop in ourselves the instinct to go to Christ immediately. We have to be wary of our tendency to get stuck in the human level when some suffering comes our way. Christ always listens to us and gives what is best for us at the moment and in the long run. He is never indifferent to our needs.

Of course, his ways may not be what we specifically would want to happen. In this, we have to be ready to develop the appropriate attitude of acceptance and abandonment in the often-mysterious providence of God. We should just strengthen our faith that whatever happens, as long as we have begged God for help, everything would just work out for the good. (cfr. Rom 8,28)

We should avoid unnecessarily dramatizing our predicaments. Obviously, we have to learn how to suffer which can be done as long as we learn how to suffer with Christ. That is why a certain toughness in us should also be developed.

And we can have that toughness if we follow what Christ one time spelled out for us. That is, if we want to follow him, we have to learn to deny ourselves and carry the cross. (cfr. Mt 16,24) And that, on a daily basis.

We just have to follow the example of the many characters in the gospel who, feeling helpless in the many predicaments they were in, earnestly rushed to Christ for some succor. They went to him unafraid and unashamed and they got what they wanted.

There is no denying that life always has more to offer us than what we can understand, let alone, cope. And they can come in all shapes and sizes, good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, likeable and hateful. There are surprises and moments when we seem to rot in expectation and still things we long for don’t come.

In the face of all this, I believe the attitude to have and the reaction to make is to be calm, pray hard, and while we do all we can, we have to learn to live a certain sense of abandonment in the hands of God.

In those situations, I believe we just have to allow ourselves to play in God’s game plan, in his abiding providence whose designs are beyond reckoning, or are way beyond our comprehension and appreciation.

In this life, we need to develop a sportsman’s attitude, since life is like a game. Yes, life is like a game, because we set out to pursue a goal, we have to follow certain rules, we are given some means, tools and instruments, we train and are primed to win and do our best, but defeats can always come, and yet, we just have to move on.