By Maria Fontaine
April 5, 2011
A sad part of my day is when I listen to the news. Almost everything is about people in the world who are faced with some very terrible situations. Not only non-Christians, but many Christians in many parts of the world are facing very painful suffering in one form or another.
Almost everything in the news is about some tragic circumstance somewhere. It ranges from wars and conflicts in Somalia and Afghanistan, to drug-related violence in Mexico, Guatemala, and Brazil, homelessness in the US, persecution of Christians in Egypt, India, Indonesia, and other countries, devastation in Australia, Haiti, Pakistan, Brazil, Chile and Japan, land mines in Southeast Asia, lack of water in the Mideast, and repressive governments in North Korea and Zimbabwe.
Besides these, there are many other sad situations in the world: human slavery and trafficking, toxic waste, crime in every country, plagues of locusts and disease, gangs, famine, water pollution, poverty, floods and disasters, and the list goes on and on.
Thinking about all that’s wrong can leave us feeling depressed if we stop there. Thankfully, the Lord uses these things to show me another perspective as I look to Him.
Being reminded of the terrible straits that so many people are in always helps to divert my attention from what I consider my own huge problems and difficulties. Repeatedly being made aware of the horror and trauma that so many people experience on a daily basis helps me to remember the insignificance of my battles, and to be acutely aware of how blessed I am today to be largely untouched by so many extremely sad and difficult things.
I see how very rich in spirit and blessings I am, how abundantly supplied for. My feet walk in pleasant paths, my eyes behold peaceful meadows, my ears hear beautiful music. I don’t hear the bombs of war. I don’t drink polluted water. I don’t live in a cardboard shack. I don’t hear words of cruelty from harsh taskmasters.
I’m not imprisoned in a filthy cell. I’m free. I live in peace. Most people that I encounter smile and say kind words. I have the freedom to openly share my faith with others. I can enjoy my loved ones. I have fun and friendship and fellowship. I have warm covers at night. I can go out without fear.
I’m truly rich in so many ways!
Listening to the world news is a good experience for me. For one thing, it helps me to pray; for another thing, it helps me to be much more positive and much more thankful for the “lightness” of my burdens, which are nothing compared with those of so many others.
God teaches or reminds us of His truths or principles in personalized ways so that no matter where we are or what we’re doing or what our circumstances are, He can get through to us if we’re open and listening.
Several days after I wrote the preceding comments, I read how the Lord spoke similarly to someone else through a different experience that they had gone through. Here’s an excerpt of that article:
The pastor from Burma spoke of the stubborn faith of the Karen people—though displaced, tortured, imprisoned, killed for what they believe, they cling to Christ. He showed gruesome footage [of the vicious attacks inflicted on men, women, and children]. It reached the point that many people could hardly watch. Ten minutes into it, the pastor stopped it. “Let’s end it there,” he said, “before we get to the violent parts.” Before? You mean this gets worse? Yet, again, what stood out was this pastor’s unbridled joy. He exuded confidence in Christ and in his victory.
It brought me to my senses. It returned me to my first love. It restored the joy of my salvation.
And it made me feel like a wimp.
My conversion to Christ and my commitment to him have cost me almost nothing. … Yet I find things to whine about anyhow. I can, with minimal provocation, feel hard done-by, “persecuted,” under-appreciated. … it takes me very little time … for my thankfulness to turn to bitterness, my joy to entitlement.
Lord, have mercy.
… once, a driver raced in to beat me on the merge in a roundabout, and feelings not exactly akin to praise rose in me. Then I remembered, and thanked God.
A small step. Hardly heroic. Cost me nothing.
I have much to learn about the Kingdom of God from Karen villagers.—By Mark Buchanan
We may have to struggle and face deep sorrow and suffering, and sometimes we may not feel very wealthy, but in spirit and even in physical terms of safety, provision, freedom, and answers to many of the questions of life, we are richly blessed.
As a result, we have the responsibility to share what we have with those the Lord leads us to, and to pray for those who are suffering and facing great loss. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I know that if we’re good custodians of what we’ve been given today, then He will give us whatever we need to carry on in the future.
 A pastor and freelance writer who lives on the west coast of Canada.