The Role of Suffering and Adversity
THIRTY THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
The gospel of this Sunday speaks about the inevitability of suffering in the life of a Christian. So, I would like to turn my radar on the role of suffering and adversity in our lives. Sir Edmund Hillary made several unsuccessful attempts to climb Mount Everest and failed. After one of those failed attempts, he stood at the base of the mountain, shook his fist at it, and shouted: “I will defeat you, because you are as big as you are going to get, but I am still growing.” Yes, he eventually did; he eventually got to the top of the mountain. The fact is that each time that Edmund climbed that mountain and failed, he learned something new about it and used that knowledge to construct new attempts until he eventually overcame the mountain’s adversities.
Life is just like that. Adversities, sufferings, difficulties, and failures are likely to get into the mix of things in our lives and it is what we say to these adversities, to ourselves, and how we choose to act and react, that will make all the difference. Some people react by rejecting God, because they cannot believe that God would be so mean as to give them a bad lot in life. Some others choose to resign to adversity and wallow in self-pity. However, some others choose to be strengthened by adversity, learn something from it, grow stronger by it, and with determination overcome it. They learn something about being dependent upon God and trusting Him to carry them through. They learn something that will help them help others who may be going through their own lot in life.
Scripture says: “Blessed be God..; who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Cor 1:4). We must always remember that there is a spirit within us that is greater than our opposition. Scripture says: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to the human race. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it:” (1 Cor 10:13).
We can overcome all things by the grace of Him, who strengthens us.