Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
I came in late to the whole Lost phenomenon.
And now, as faithful followers await the sixth and final season of this popular television series, I have only just finished watching Season One. But there's still time to catch up, and that's just what I plan to do over the summer since I'm already hooked on this fascinating, mysterious story line and study of the human condition.
If you've not seen the show before (gasp!), the basic premise is that of a small group of people who have survived a plane crash and ended up on a mysterious (and, at first, seemingly deserted) island somewhere in the South Pacific. Because the plane lost contact with air traffic control before it went down (and had to go off course for some reason), officials are probably not looking for the plane in the area in which it crashed. And therefore, there's not a lot of reason to be hopeful as the situation seems bleak.
Some of the survivors are despondent. Some are bitter and have resigned themselves to living the rest of their lives on the island. Others are resilient and are making the best of the situation. And others are still hoping that they will be rescued soon.
In each episode, the onion is peeled back even further as more and more of the characters' backstories are revealed. And as I find out what was happening in their lives before they survived the crash, the more I understand why they are who they are on the island.
Each character brings his or her own kind of suffering: father issues, troubled marriage, revenge, addiction, loss, deception or fear ... just to name a few. And each episode shows how the characters either work together to accomplish something good or drift apart due to their individual issues or circumstances. Everyone has a choice of how they will act or react. And there are consequences from which they and we, the viewers, can certainly learn.
Suffering and life on the island has brought out the worst and the best in these people. They can choose to feel abandoned and alone, to die in their surroundings, or they can fight to survive by whatever means possible.
As I watch, I've wondered how I would react should I be a plane-crash survivor who's now stuck on an island. Would I be bitter? Would I be hopeful? Would I hurt others? Would I feel alone? Or would the suffering help me to persevere, build character and produce hope?
Life in the real world is really not all that different than on the island. You and I face trials and troubles in our everyday lives, too. We all carry baggage with us. But as believers, we know that we are not alone in our suffering. God is with us, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who is our Great Comforter and source of Truth (john 14:15-31).
Remember that today. No matter how desolate your situation may feel, you are not lost and stranded on an island. And you are not alone in your suffering. God knows exactly where you are, and he is with you.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Are you suffering? Or do you know someone else who is right now? Draw close to God and call upon his name. Reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ for we were not created for isolation. We need the Lord, and we need one another.