I was fortunate. When I was diagnosed with cancer two weeks before I turned 22, I had a lot of people who offered support and care. A lot of people.
And perhaps the most fortunate thing of all is that no one, not one person, quoted 1 Corinthians 10 at me.
I’m sure you’ve seen this happen. Something terrible happens to someone, and a well meaning friend says, “God will not let you be tested beyond your strength.” Or, “God is trying to teach you to trust.” Or something similar.
The problem is, of course, that this dismisses the pain of the one who is suffering and reduces it to a lesson which must be learned.
I really don’t have the right, let alone the insight, to tell someone else what their suffering means. Nor do I have the right or insight to tell them that their current awful experience is within their spiritual pain tolerance.
What I can do is listen; and while I am listening, I can remember that Paul’s words are addressed much more to me than to my friend. In a very real sense, I am the one being tested. Can I be gracious? Can I be compassionate? Can I trust that in my listening, I’m not being tested beyond my strength?
Loving God, use us to be the presence of Christ with all who suffer. Amen. — RAP