What Does It Mean To Suffer?

What is Suffering?

The most traumatic place I’ve yet visited on this Earth is Auschwitz-Birkenau.  I was there with some friends in 2005.

I know I’ve talked about it before.  The awful things that were done to people during that war.  The humiliation.  The beatings.  The dreadful murders of so many people.  The intense fear and pain of those who watched others die so horribly.

People who were drowned, crippled, killed, or otherwise experienced devastation from the 2005 southern US hurricanes and the 2004 tsunami in the Pacific.  Many people left with nothing after the floods and other weather disasters in 2008.

Those who died and those who watched the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001.

People who have endured starvation, lacking food for days, weeks, or longer.  People who have died of exposure to extreme temperatures.

Many missionaries, hundreds or maybe thousands over the centuries who have died as martyrs for their faith.

The men who served in George Washington’s Continental Army.  Many served without appropriate clothing, footwear, adequate food.  Many became sick and died from exposure and disease.

Many men and women who have served their country in this very century, and willing to go through it again.

People who live or have lived in abject poverty throughout the world.  In homes made of little more than flimsy plastic or straw.  Without the community resources to even bathe regularly.  Without a soft surface to sleep on.

From the Bible, Paul and Silas being stripped and beaten in Phillippi for healing a women with an evil spirit.

And the death that Jesus endured.

The situations above are all I think of when I think of suffering.

I know I’ve never suffered.  Sorry, not once.  Not even when I had kidney stones.

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And today, we think the world is coming to an end when we can’t get good cell phone reception.

Is not having enough money to buy the house I want suffering?  Is not having enough money to travel to Disneyland suffering?  Just how upside-down have our expectations become?  Is lacking the latest gadget that my neighbor has suffering?

Herbert Hoover’s 1928 Presidential Campaign slogan was: “A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage”.

Anyone remember what happened the following year?  The stock market crashed, if you don’t recall.  And we’re making the same mistakes all over again.  The chicken was a fine idea, the car was worthless.

We are overwrought with the expectation of providing prosperity to all.  Our country was NEVER about providing prosperity, but ensuring there was an opportunity for people to prosper.  But politicians have discovered that promising prosperity, and taking steps that appear to provide immediate prosperity can influence a LOT of voters.

And the politicians will destroy our country, our livelihood, our opportunity before long.

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I know SOME people are suffering… that means they are homeless, unable to find work, unable to pay for food, clothes, or other BASIC needs.  How did we start to think that anything beyond a lack of food, clothing and shelter constituted poverty?  We may joke about it sometimes, but a lot of people really think they are suffering if they can’t watch TV, or go to a movie, or drink a six-pack of beer.

I’m even more amazed when some of my Christian friends actually think they are “suffering for Jesus” if they are prohibited from pushing the Bible on others at work.  I love the Lord, and I love to share about Him with others, but we don’t have a right to push our faith in the workplace… and being asked to stop is not “suffering”.

We’ve managed to make suffering something that is not suffering.  Discomfort, inconvenience, change in plans.  And we want the government to make it better.

This country used to be made of better stuff than that.  What happened to the pioneers?  What happened to the self-reliant?  What happened to ingenuity?

What a bunch of wusses we’ve become.

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I don’t want a mommy state.  I don’t want the government giving me handouts when I don’t need them.  Shoot, I don’t really want to take tax deductions for charitable giving (it’s just stupid)… take the deduction away and just lower everyone’s taxes for pity’s sake.

I just don’t want the government “taking care” of me.  I don’t want Obama’s “Hope” (I don’t even know what that means).

Protect the country from invaders.  Secure our borders.  Let the markets manage themselves.  Ensure that those that have real needs are helped.  Ensure we have justice, and help keep our international friends.  Keep foreigners from taking advantage of us if possible.  Keep our rights secure.

I am pretty sure that is more than enough work for Congress, the President and the Supreme Court to handle.

How about you just leave the rest to us?

About the Author

Mr. Smith is the Publisher of The Conservative Reader. He is Partner/Owner of Ambrosia Web Technology as well as a Systems Architect for Wells Fargo. Art hold a degree in Computer Science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a political blogger at the Des Moines Register. Art's views are purely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wells Fargo.


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