To me, suffering is remembering what used to be.
My family just left San Francisco and so did my dog. It was all by choice though, so I can’t be mad. But I’ve learned something since the house is empty now. Void of all noise and life inside of it besides my own.
I’ve learned that suffering, most if not all the time, begins with pleasure or joy.
You once had an Amazing childhood with all of your friends playing in your neighborhood or you once had a dog whom you loved dearly. Or maybe you once had a relationship that you cherished so deeply. Those were all very joyous and happy times in your life full of pleasure, joy and maybe even laughter too.
But when you finally grow up and your friends move away and when your dog whom you loved dies and your relationship with a loved one falls apart what do you have left? Pleasure? Joy? Happiness? Laughter?
No. You have suffering. At least most of the time you do.
Suffering that began first with pleasure and happy times. Suffering that ensued due to thoughts and memories of how life used to be. Remembering how life was before you lost what you cherished so dearly.
Maybe you didn’t even realize how much you loved or cared for something until it was gone as cliche as that sounds. You might have even pushed those people, pets or relationships away thinking that being alone would be much better then realized it wasn’t your best decision. That though those relationships might have been tough, they had good moments too.
So now you are left suffering as your thoughts stay on replay and you struggle to find the fast forward button.
I believe Job in The Bible suffered not just because the devil was allowed to take away his whole family and destroy his home, livestock and everything else. But I believe Job suffered because He knew what life was like before the enemy came in and took everything from him. Job knew what a full house of love and great memories felt like. Job knew what a loving family unit felt like. Job knew the joy around caring for his livestock and providing for his family. But the enemy was allowed to come in and take all that from him. Thus all Job was left with was the memory of the good times and suffering then took the place of joy in his mind. I believe the devil really stole Job’s mind. At least that is my take on it.
So losing people, relationships, and pets suck. It’s not fun at all.
But to me, the question is what or who do you lean on when all of those are taken from you and you are left alone, suffering?
We see Job questioned God about his situation, so I believe Job leaned on God through his tough times. So did David in The Bible as well.
God wants us to be in relationship with others, no doubt. But there may be seasons in our lives where we are going to be alone. Maybe your kids have gone off to college, your spouse passed away or all your friends are out of town.
This is a time to lean on God and stay in His Word everyday if you can. Find a church and connect with your spiritual family. Trust me – that suffering will return to joy and pleasure. An even greater joy and pleasure because God, unlike human beings or pets, doesn’t die or go away.
Heck, even when you die He will be the first person you see. That’s just how much He wants to be in your life and turn that frown upside down.