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  • Amber

Peace in Suffering

Comfort, comfort my people!    says your God.
      Isaiah 40.1


The four Sundays of Advent are depicted by many churches to be related to Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. There are some variations - mostly with peace and love - but our church happens to follow this order. And it makes sense for peace to be a staple of the Advent season.  Bringing peace is one of the many things Christ does for us.


There are certainly many places in the world crying for peace from deadly conflict and oppression, and we yearn with them for that peace to come. There are countless examples of the need for peace, so many that it can feel overwhelming the more we count them. Peace on Earth is a large order that is certainly too big for any single person to fill. Focusing on these large macro needs for peace can lead us to be filled with anxiety and rob us of our own peace.


‘Peace on Earth’ is something that should be stived for and prayed for, but what if we focused more on the peace we can bring each other. All of us can related to being too stressed or worried to truly feel at peace with ourselves for any number of reasons: financial, medical, work, or personal relationships. We’ve all been through times in our lives where all we want is comfort – a rest from that suffering, even if just for a while. But things and people that provide that comfort seem to be few and far between.


When thinking of all the suffering that we need peace from, I was reminded of something I had once seen on the internet. I did some digging, and it turns out the source appears to be the Tumblr blog ‘just-shower-thoughts’ - a blog that anyone can submit really deep, random thought that occurred to them in the shower (where all best thinking is done).


“There are two kinds of people. Those who think, “I don’t want anyone to suffer like I did.” And those who think, “I suffered; why shouldn’t they?””


This is a post that has stuck in my mind for years. The very concept of it always spoke to me, especially on a spiritual level. Afterall, Jesus is very much so the former, is he not? He took the sins of the world onto himself so we would not have to suffer the eternal consequences of them. Jesus never looks at us and says, “I was crucified to save your all, so you can only reach salvation once you’ve suffered as much as me.” No, his goal was to save us, as none of us could ever truly be good enough to reach salvation on our own merit.


                It was certainly our sickness that he carried,    and our sufferings that he bore,    but we thought him afflicted,    struck down by God and tormented.He was pierced because of our rebellions    and crushed because of our crimes.    He bore the punishment that made us whole;    by his wounds we are healed. Like sheep we had all wandered away,    each going its own way,    but the Lord let fall on him all our crimes.
            Isaiah 53.4-6


So, when considering how to bring peace into this world this Advent season, remember how Jesus suffered for us. What if we applied that same thinking to other’s suffering? Try and leave aside thoughts of ‘well, they deserved it’, or ‘I suffered through it, so they should too’. Have compassion and bring some peace to these people instead. Offer comfort to their suffering, share what you learned through your own suffering to ease someone else’s.


We may not be able to bring peace to the whole world, but we can do our part in bringing peace to the people in our lives.


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