Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone (James 4:14).
My friend, now 65, smiled nostalgically as she shared memories of her grandfather’s last year. Born in 1890, he had made this comment at age 94: “I went from the days of horse-and-buggy to a man walking on the moon,” he said. Then, he mused wistfully, “I never thought [life] would be so short.”
His observation reminds me of Jacob. When his son Joseph, vice-regent of Egypt, brought his father to meet Pharaoh, Jacob said, “I have traveled this earth for 130 hard years. But my life has been short compared to the lives of my ancestors” (Genesis 47:9).
“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans,” sang John Lennon in “Beautiful Boy.” No kidding! So often we squirm impatiently through life. We yearn for the bell to ring and summer vacation to begin. We long for something better. If only I were already out of high school . . . or finished with college. If only I had a girlfriend/boyfriend. If only I were married. If only I had a better job. If only I could retire. If only . . . And then one day we catch an echo of our grandfather’s voice as we wonder where the time has gone. It’s all so short!
One of the great lies is that we need to be somewhere else, doing something else, with someone else before we can truly start living.
We who come to Christ may do so because we seek eternal life.Ironically, if we do, we miss the larger point. Jesus offers us life now. In the same context of promising His followers eternal life (John 10:28), He said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (v.10).
When we find life in Jesus, we begin to exchange regrets over life’s brevity for the pure enjoyment of its eternality.
How does John 6:27 inform our view of life on this earth? In verse 32, what does the phrase “true bread from heaven” mean, and what does it lead to?
Think of the times when you’ve been impatient. What might God have been teaching you in those moments? How does the brevity of life motivate you?
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