The Commonness of Suffering (1 Corinthians 10:13)

1 Corinthians 10:13

This pandemic has made us all do things in new and different ways. There are few corners and crevasses of life that have gone untainted by the virus.

Trials and tribulations come in many different shapes and sizes. Some of us have experienced the death of a loved one near and dear. Some have lost jobs. Some have experienced bouts of loneliness or depression, seeming to shove them into deep oceans of feelings of numbness and meaninglessness.

It is helpful to know that, though trials come in many forms, there is nothing that has overtaken us that has not been suffered before. From the Black Plague to the Spanish Flu to H1N1, pandemics have come and gone. Many of these people faced these troubles without the medical science or technological abilities we have today.

Suffering is as common as dirt. It has been around since the fall of humankind, when both morality and nature experienced fracture. Every fingerprint is unique, but every fingerprint comes from a finger. Though a trial may seem unique, each one has much more in common than first meets the eye. The Apostle Paul said: “No testing has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear. But when you are tested, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).” It is worth noting that Paul does not say, “so that you can be spared.” Rather, he says, “so that you can endure.”

The way that we can endure may not seem obvious at first. The author of Hebrews says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).” We sometimes endure not by release or relief, but by knowing who remains in control.

I have been studying the Book of Revelation with some friends. Jesus’ steadfast in the book impresses me more than the seeming oddities. Revelation was written to Christians undergoing unimaginable persecution. Throughout Revelation, Jesus remains on the throne. Through every trial, he does not move. He remains in control of the events of history. He draws them – even the bad – into the completion of his good redemptive plan.

Perhaps instead of obsessing over the peculiarities of our times, we could pause to remember what has not changed. Jesus remains on the throne. The same God that saw the world through past sufferings, will see us through too. Battles sadly take casualties – sometimes many – but God has won the war.

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