When you talk to just about any teenager you will inevitably at some point get a run down of how horrible their life is. My parents won’t let me have a cell phone. We only have DSL at our house and it is so slow. And so on. And honestly talk to any adult and you will get the same things maybe stated a little differently. My car costs too much to fill up. My job is stressful. (you know the difference between teenagers and adults? A few years.)
We are privileged that is for certain.
A few weeks back we began talking about the idea of suffering in our small group. It was supposed to be a simple question; What does it mean to you to suffer for the gospel? The room actually grew deafeningly quiet (which is big for a bunch of 20 and 30 somethings). After a little generally predictable conversation about the idea of how we suffer form the gospel a voice chimed in and said; I honestly don’t know a thing about suffering.
I honestly don’t know a thing about suffering.
That led to a great honest conversation about our lives. We really don’t have much of a grasp on the idea of suffering. Especially for the gospel.
We get upset if we have to wait too long for our dinner. And what a travesty if Starbucks runs out of soy milk.
Some people eat once every couple days.
We get made fun of for following Jesus.
Some people get tortured.
We think it’s sacrificial to give up television time to read our bibles.
Some people aren’t allowed to even own a bible.
We hold back on our tithe and offering tom the church because the economic downturn has potentially hindered our retirement plan.
Some people sell their own children into sex slavery just to have a few meals.
Yes there are some of us privileged folk who do understand suffering better than others. But for an overwhelmingly vast majority of us our problems can’t begin to compare to others around the world especially when it comes to following Jesus.