By Patty Villareal
“I am sure that what we are suffering now cannot compare with the glory that will be shown to us.” (v. 18)
Suffering comes in many forms, relative to the person who is suffering. It may be a physical pain as simple as stubbing your toe on the side of the bed or as painful as a loss of someone close to you. Suffering is a part of life. During this Advent season, suffering may be especially painful. In my social work experience, this season was the hardest for some families. Children in foster care were more in turmoil because they were reminded that they do not live at home. They are reminded that home was not the most ideal picture, as according to the story books or like the home scenes in Norman Rockwell paintings. If they were able to visit home during this season, they were reminded of reasons why they did not live at home. It was difficult for the non-custodial parent to explain to their children why the family was not together. Sometimes, the scene was conflictual. I remember a supervised visit in the San Antonio Buckner offices where a wrestling match ensued between mother and daughter with grandmother working to separate them. Suffering.
However, I was and am reminded that God sent His Son because of the suffering of His creation. He has given us, His most prized creation, the privilege to be His instruments of Hope. “All creation is eagerly waiting for God to show who His children are.” (v. 19) When His children reach out to the invisible person on the street, smile at the unlovable because they see past the outside trappings of a person, or provide without question to the stranger, we bring Hope.
Lord, continue to use us as YOUR shining Light of Hope!