Scales of Suffering?

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
Psalm 30:1

Do you think God won’t help you find your keys because it’s not a big enough concern?  There are more important things to Him, such as feeding the poor, defeating the Taliban, hovering over cancer wards, or preparing the world for Jesus’ return, right?  So why would He bother to help find those keys?

Or maybe, when a migraine, cold, fever, or a yucky flu bug brings you down,  do you silently doubt that God will answer your prayer for healing, because, after all, “it’s not cancer”?

If so, welcome to my world!

I constantly gauge my needs, pain, or “suffering” by other’s.  In fact, I even had a hard time writing the word “suffering” because I don’t really think I know what it is—in comparison to rest of the world.  If you’re like me, you may be encouraged by reading this article, No More Minimizing Pain, by Ed Welch of Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF):

“There is no suffering gauge in Scripture, as if being burned at the stake scores a 100, Stage IV cancer is an 85, a broken friendship is a 50 and uncomfortable shoes are a 5.  If there were such a system, a person whose suffering topped out at 80 would have to defer to the one who measures 81.   The one with the less severe suffering would have to suffer in silence. He or she would have no right to seek the comfort of others or God.  To do so would be hogging time that could be better used by more qualified sufferers.  
Dr. Ed Welch, CCEF

I wish I had written this!  But I couldn’t, because I live in the comparison world of meters, gauges, and deference.  I question if my suffering is even on the charts!! Maybe a .003 on the scale of world-wide problems.  Those lost keys, forget about them.  And no hope for my headache as long as a thousands of parents are visiting their children in Pediatric Cancer wards.  But, Dr. Welch goes on to say,

“The danger in establishing a pecking order within suffering is that you feel authorized to call out to the Lord when things are really bad, but you remain isolated and silent if your pain is below the national average.”

So the biggest fault, or sin, of minimizing pain and suffering is that it keeps us from calling on the Lord. And, for me, this attitude creates a dangerously false god, who doesn’t want me to bother Him unless it’s really Bad…somewhere between 75-100.

What a dreadful trap to fall into, even though it appears rather noble.  It reveals my lack of understanding of God’s love and unbounded mercy.

“..when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.”
2 Corinthians 10:12


The entire article may be found HERE.   Thank you, Dr. Welch!

10 thoughts on “Scales of Suffering?

  1. Love this and yes, always so timely.. was just debating this issue in my migraine-head the other day 😉 We are truly family; and it is so important to rely on the Lord for all our needs. He designed us that way, so to compartmentalize as we do, is kinda ‘playing God’.. or perhaps thinking we know His system better, when we don’t.. By the way, I feel this also applies to people who are suffering great hardships and disease, others should not assume that they are being taught some lesson…or try to wrap our brains around it..we just don’t know this side of Heaven…

    • Yes, Joy! Thank you for sharing such a great point—so often in the realm of comparison, we think if something terrible happens to another, then perhaps God is dealing with a secret sin, or rough edge on their character! How we set ourselves up to play God. In light of all these issues, I regularly come back to Psalm 131: “My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore. “

      • Love the scripture in Psalms Mom.. really perfect.. I agree with Beth, I get so caught up in ‘let me say a prayer for this matter-oh well– what does it matter- in-the -scheme- of -things..I am- not -dealing- with A -or -B issues’ Its best to do what God asks and desires, and gives us free will to do–Pray about all things, even our pesky, daily nuances..Pray for those suffering, be thankful, and know our Father truly cares about the condition of our hearts..He knows before we utter, so we may as well utter that prayer 😉 Love you

  2. Wow – yes, this is a good point. I can relate – I certainly have a tendency to address all of my own problems with the note to self: “It could be a lot worse.” And on one hand, it certainly could, and I have so much for which to be thankful. And yet, that doesn’t mean that God – who knows when a sparrow falls – doesn’t see or have compassion on my “small” stuff. Thanks for sharing…

    • Yes, thank you Beth. When I am tempted to think the Lord is really not rushing to my aid for my personal problems, the Holy Spirit brings those Scriptures to mind. The sparrow, the hairs on my head, seeing me in the womb…. nothing is too small for Him. Thank you again!

  3. love this….thank you. God does care xoxoxo I miss you. Will i see you sometime? Maybe we can meet for coffee?

  4. First of all, Belated birthday greetings to your daughter Grace Victoria. What a lovely name, and guess what, I also have a daughter named Anna Grace.

    If only one word can be placed over my tombstone… it would definitely be grace.

    This post is just something I needed to read today. So wrong we are when we think God is only dealing with the big stuff… the big ones… and that He won’t stoop down to sweat the small stuff.

    This post is well written… I love the quote. WIll go over to read the rest of what he wrote.

    Thank you thank you for sharing this.

    Much love

    • Hello Lidj! Thank you for your encouraging comments and faithful reading. My apologies to you (and all) for not writing much excuses sound solid enough, so it must be due to lack of discipline, and perhaps a recent valley or two.

      Bono’s song should be the first song in the Music Box at the top right of the blog. It appears on my computer, even as a ‘visitor’, but If you don’t see it, let me know. (Also, try scrolling down to “G” for Grace 🙂 ).

      As a blessed and thankful friend, Love Linda

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