Communal Suffering

As I write this my inner ear is throbbing from an ear infection that wasn’t correctly diagnosed and has persisted way too long than it should have. Carl is also going to the vet to get his ear checked out for a possible ear infection. Even though he can’t tell anyone about his pain, it is clear from his lethargic demeanor that he is not feeling well.

The pain has interrupted my thoughts and made ordinary household chores more difficult to complete. All I want to do is sleep and dismiss the discomfort from my consciousness. But life has other plans for me and I need to persist or I will lose a valuable lesson that can’t be learned from being comatose.

Whenever I am in pain, I usually just focus on how to make it go away and move on with my life. But maybe there is a deeper meaning for this discomfort that can only be revealed in the midst of it.  Job suffered far more than me and even though most of us question God in allowing such suffering, this story has given me an inner peace that helps me tolerate the constant piercing ache.

Job was a righteous man that started off with so much. Satan wanted to prove to God that if he could strip away all Job had and leave him in intense pain, that Job would curse God instead of trust him. So God allows Satan to have his children killed, his livestock destroyed, and his body ravished with painful boils. And to make it even worse, Satan uses Job’s three best friends to accuse him of being a wicked sinner. For months, Job was tormented by the unbearable pain and constant assault of his friend’s words.

But in the midst of all this suffering and the lack of knowledge of why God was allowing this to happen, Job states in Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” Why would Job believe this after all that had happened to him?  Why do we so easily want to blame God for our own personal sufferings but ignore him in our times of blessings? What can Job teach us through these words?

Carl just got back from the vet and sure enough he has an ear infection. He seems to also be suffering and finds a place to lay down and rest. Without my knowledge, he has pulled my pillow down from the couch and made it his bed. He is too peaceful to push off and so I give him a couple of minutes to sleep off the pain before retrieving it and changing the pillow case. A smile crosses my face as I think about the bond that we share through our common suffering. Could this communal suffering be for my good? I am thinking so.

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Carl’s sick bed

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