Selfishness and Sufferings

There is no exception to our selfish ambition while in sufferings. Selfishness needs to be tamed, and that’s the hard part.

Selfishness resulted in suffering. And it is true the other way round. They go hand in hand yet they should not be together as selfishness would cause greater sufferings.

Here we will talk about selfish ambitions only in the context of a suffering person. Let us put aside those selfish ambitions for riches and personal gains for the time being.

Well, infighting has been going, on and on, in a suffering mind. It is caused by the outward physical pain and the daily happenings. In the end, selfishness becomes an integral part of a sufferer.

At my Hospital Bed
In the midst of suffering

Entertainment, once they are, in the form of plays, music, and the likes, could become a hindrance in living a normal life. I have been in this situation for a while now. I won’t talk deep about it here but there are occurrences I have to endure in my epileptic disorder. And sometimes it’s difficult to blend in with the normal surroundings.

Pain was caused in many forms. Not all forms can be avoided. But there are times when I thought some the causes could be avoided. That is when my selfishness came up. Selfishness, in turn gave way to more pain in the mind. And that’s my problem too.

In living a life, there are obligations that cannot be ignored. I feel bad when I cannot conform to the demands of people around me. I felt that I was selfish because I have to limit my activities.

In that way, the interests of people around me were neglected. At times, I found myself to be egocentric and self-centered in approach because of my weak physical condition.

May be, that is why the Bible gave no exception to any circumstances when selfishness could be utilized in normal living. Selfishness destroys unity and steadfastness to God.

There’s none who enjoy life for a longer period in solitary. Just for a short time, it might be enjoyable. I am not sure about that. We must learn to adjust in the interest of other. Submerging in our self-interest is being selfish.

Disturbances in life could be a blessing. If there’s nothing to bother life would be dull. Eventually, loneliness would ruin and kill our life.

Selfishness as a Stronghold:

A stronghold is a fortress where one can take refuge and safely dwelled with minimum threat. Here in this case, it is that fort inside our human heart where the evil could safely thrive in.

Selfishness could be a stronghold for the evil to dwell if it is not destroyed from time to time. If left unattended the fortress might be difficult to get uprooted. And that is what I wanted to do every day.

It has parasitic character which would eventually eat up its host; here our life or character. It has to be crushed, one day at a time, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

No one can simply spin ourselves in a cocoon while we are on the march. We are to work together as a team in a family, society, and in the church. Yet we are tempted, in many forms, to be a little selfish, manage ourselves, and stay away from people.

Beyond Selfishness:

Now, let’s see, in the Bible, what Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:2-3) There’s no exception given here.

People suffer, even the righteous suffer yet it could become the source of their renewed strength from the Lord. When the Lord blessed our sufferings it can bring joy in our life.

There is a time for all – time to suffer, time to rest. It is my hope that this phase would be used by God in strengthening my faith.

We all suffer but in different ways. There is no great and small sufferings, the pain inflicted might cause same destruction. But in the blood of Christ we can be made whole again.

Rejoice in every situation, says the Bible. In reality, it is really difficult but there must be a way out, I hope. Let us present our request to God, in prayer and petition, with thanksgiving. (Philippians 4:4-7)

In that way, the peace of God will transcend understanding while in suffering. Further, God would safeguard our heart and mind, in Christ Jesus, throughout our journey.

There are still many people, saints and servant-hearted, who could help others despite their sufferings. I want to be like them!

Dear reader, if you too are still in your suffering phase I empathize with you. It is my prayer God would guide us through this phase without causing further self-inflicting pain in the process.

May the face of God shine brighter, amidst our sufferings, in our daily life!

Abiding Grace: The Joy of Sharing in Sufferings

When we suffered hardships in life, we wanted someone to talk to. That too, if we are able to talk. We wanted to pour out our sufferings by letting it out.

There is no joy to any types of suffering yet there can be joy to any types of suffering. Personally, I’d been through some hardships and suffering and from the people I met on the way. Let’s discuss some of them.

Not all people understand our inner feeling. Most people tend to hide within us. People are afraid to share their sufferings to any random person. We need someone trustworthy, understanding, and not repulsive in nature. Yet it is hard to find.

There are some who could simply react to your sufferings in one sentence – blunt and plain. For, they do not know what is burning inside someone’s life. However, it would be wise not to react or question someone suffering any pain, be it emotional, physical, or even in grief.

When we are in suffering mode, our mind roamed around leading us to happiness and sadness, inside our heart. This resulted in changes of mood frequently, which sometimes becomes unbearable for us and our surroundings.

It is a privilege, I could say, to meet several people I have known in their sufferings and talked with them. Some get comforted and find joy in their suffering as it will not lasted forever. There will be an end to sufferings although in different ways.

Years ago, my father was diagnosed with cancer. It left us in great distress. We do not know what is before us yet we expect something worst to happen as the suffering is life-threatening. That same year, we learned that I would be undergoing brain surgery due to my prolonged neurological disorder.

My father was done with his first round of Chemotherapy when I was operated upon. Unfortunately yet may be God willing, my father and I becomes suffering partner to whom we can deeply let out our sufferings. We talked about so many things. Let lay out some of them here:

About The End:

Death has been the subject of our sharing, sometimes. We reassured each other of what lies ahead. Being both of us enjoying the Salvation of Jesus Christ, we are determined to meet Him in the near future.

In the course of time, I’d brushed with death, which I gladly share with my father and my families. You can read in details here. There is far better place waiting for us to enjoy. No science and technology needed to proof or help but the blood of Christ, shed many many years ago, was sufficient to get us there.

I remember my father calling me over the phone one particular day. He told me, “I thought my end has been approaching. The time has come to be with Him. I can sense death calling. But I am not afraid to go. However, it is not time yet!” I could sense him smiling while telling me this. He was laughing although tired, during our conversation. It was a great relief to hear that! And we rejoice in praising the Lord for such comfort.

A year ago, his time has finally come. My dear father, see you in Heaven!

About Life: (The special Child)

We did talk about life a lot. There are several things we wanted to re-do or make-over but that’s not possible. So far, the sufferings we had are for our own life; very less for others around us. Yet if God blessed upon our sufferings, it can be useful. And we prayed for that too.

‘The special child of God,’ we called ourselves. Yes, there is nothing special about not being able to lead a normal life, at least for a while. I will tell you why we called ourselves special child of God.

In our suffering, we talked to God more often. We need Him every minutes and every hour to be with us. Whatever happens and whatever comes our way, if God is with us, the rest we worry not. We wanted to be in-touch with Him all the time.

More so, our heart becomes more open to Him ever than before. His words are more penetrating than usual. We are in fellowship with our Savior. He looked after every minute details of our life and He is always close by – within reach. To the suffering soul, He is always near.

Does God Really Care?

Jesus Christ’s prayer for His disciples and all believers in John 17:6-25, I remembered, we discussed in a lengthy conversation. We also get comforted by His prayer – the Prayer of the Lord to His Father. He is still praying for us in the same way or even more than before.

In this prayer, it is clear that Jesus Christ knew exactly what we are going through. He Himself lived in this world in our human form. The pain, sufferings, hardships, He knew it all. He’d been through it. He’d seen it all. And now that’s very comforting.

Although I wanted to discuss these verses in great detail, let me pick some in between here. These are the prayer Jesus Christ had for us. Please go through them:

“While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.” (Verse 12a) He really did. He saved them from their physical sickness and even from the death.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (Verses 15 and 16) Our sufferings are allowed but not to cause us harm beyond we can stand.

The One who doesn’t belong to this world had gone through sufferings. So, we must also endure some sufferings. But He will protect us from the evil one.

“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (Verse 26) This is exactly what He did. Made known to us and He will never let us suffer alone being Him within us.

We get comforted with this verses in the midst of our sufferings. When we can found the implications and express it out there can be joyous moments.

Becoming a Partner in Sufferings:

Everyone needs someone to talk to, to let out to someone trustworthy while in sufferings. For me, most unexpected, unfortunate or uncalled for, my father becomes my suffering partner. Being both of us suffering we can almost fully understand each other.

Sometimes full of hope, the other time with less hope – the mind of a suffering person can be unsteady. Anyone can fit in as a partner, someone who will listen to them. One does not need prior training. We have God-given quality to do so, if we are willing. You can be one of them.

For those sufferers who do not have someone to share their mind, Our God is there to listen. Not only listen, He act upon our cases too. Although His ways are beyond what men can understand. Not acting or doing something the way we desired does not mean that God is not working. He is always at work.

Lastly, I did not finish my race yet, but I write because I hope it might be useful.

To Timothy, Apostle Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) This was written shortly before his (Paul’s) death.

Although, Apostle Paul’s sufferings were way beyond my sufferings, which I firmly belief. When I finished this world of suffering, I wanted to say the same with my head held high.

Destination Home

It was one among those many days, where I needed to rush home soon, before the end of normal working hours.  Sometimes, I needed rest or medication even in the middle of the day.  On a normal days, I always waited for working hours to end.  I’d do double checking of the work performed in the day to make sure there were no hanging transactions.  I’d even help my colleagues in doing that.

But many times, I had to rush out from the air-conditioned room, as my neurological disorder threatens to strike anytime.  As always, I need space and fresh air.  It was difficult to be in a close room.   But then I need to get home by any means. I’d entered underground subway station, which was rather crowded and lack fresh air.  I waited for a few minutes after which I boarded the train with destination to my residence.

Three or four stations passed by before I need to get out as I sense something is wrong in my body.  The positive side was that I am blessed with auras, which give me time to react or take medicines. On a normal days, I need not get down before I reached my destination.

I’d sat there on the ground leaning my back on the erstwhile pillar inside the underground subway station.  I’d called home informing my situation and the name of the subway station I’m in.  I’d request them to call in my cell phone after every five or ten minutes, to check on me or to help keep me awake.

To get home, I knew, I had to get back on train but I can’t until my condition gets better.  At last, I took my stance and decided to get back on the next trains.  Without doing that I could never get home.  The insecurities I had at these times were indescribable.   Many times I don’t know whether I would even get home, ever.  Will I be brought to hospital first or at home, was the big question looming large in my mind.

Now I want you to consider something here:  Jesus bore my iniquities to the cross before I was even born.  That was more than enough to get me home with Him in eternity.  To have that privilege, I need to do just one thing on my part, to confess my iniquities and give my life to Him.  That is the beginning of my journey towards eternal life.  However, if I didn’t take that particular step, the eternal life promised becomes and will always be a distant dream.  We were more valuable to Him than we value ourselves.  We are made to His children lest we deny it.

As you can see, I need to do something on my part to get home despite my illness threatening.  In the same way, I need to make my decision or take necessary step to have that promise of eternal life even after death.  Missed your chance? No problem, this is another chance because I am reminding you now.  Let Him have your life, it will be renewed.  I also let few trains had passed but I need to get up despite my problem.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.*

Back to my journey home, it doesn’t matter whether I ended up being in a hospital first before I get home.  I am blessed to get home to be with my family.  These are the adversities that drew me closer to God.  It may be mentioned here that many times  ‘the WHY ME, GOD? WHY? moments’ struck me.   But He carried me through on His shoulder to let me see the beauty of another day.  And I am more than thankful for that.

All my sufferings are nothing in comparison with the sufferings Jesus Christ bear for us in his final days.  The humiliation, the curse, the physical torture, the loneliness, the pain…., all suffered for me to live.  He will lead me home, one day.

 *1 Corinthians 1:18