This week I’ve had the opportunity to interact with different groups of teens. I love this age of young people. They’re funny, thoughtful, and usually painfully honest. These are my kind of people.
Oddly enough, each encounter I had involved discussion of suffering. One teen shared how she was bullied her freshman and sophomore year of high school. These rough years shaped her personality and perception of friendships.
Another group of teens discussed with me the pains of this world: addiction, blindness, ebola, car accidents, etc. We talked through who is to blame for suffering.
Lastly I watched a video of a young woman bravely sharing her story. With tears and courage, she revealed that she was raped as an 11-year-old. She has only recently begun talking about it in hopes to let others know they are not alone in their pain.
No one is immune when it comes to suffering. These dear teens are evidence of that. Some have experienced horrors I’ve only worried about.
And you don’t have to look far to find tweens suffering, adolescents in pain, preschoolers hurting, and babies troubled by evil.
The picture of the drowned migrant toddler still haunts me.
We know suffering strikes everyone, regardless of age, gender, religious affiliation, or income. And if we’re not currently suffering, we’re worrying about suffering…which carries it’s own type of pain!
The Bible tells us suffering exists because of sin. Pain entered the world the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit in the garden. As God delivered the consequences for their error, He also gave them (and us) a huge promise of redemption in Genesis 3:15 –
“And I (God) will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel.”
This is the very first promise that God would send a Savior…Jesus. And this is the promise we wait to celebrate this season of Advent. Jesus’ birth is when the Word became flesh…but we also eagerly wait for Jesus to return again.
Because another great promise will be fulfilled at His second coming:
God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:3 – 4
Suffering has a termination date. When Christ comes again, all will be made new and fully restored. No more death, rape, drowning, ebola, skinned knees, worrying, and the like. No more separation from God…He will walk with us!
As you do your Christmas preparation and battle holiday worries, remember that we’re in the season of Advent – the season of anxiously waiting to celebrate Christ first coming and someday experience His final, second coming.
Come LORD Jesus, come!