Why Do People Suffer?

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“All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” -Helen Keller

Every day when I wake up from bed and every night before I go to sleep, there is one question that I always ask myself: “Why is it that there are so many people suffering in our world today?” Who is to blame for this situation, and is there anything that can be done to arrest this issue, which is growing bigger and bigger as the days go by?

As I write this article, I recall the story of Angel (real name concealed to protect her identity), whose parents died while she was still so tender. Little Angel barely managed to navigate her way through primary school and hit a stumbling block in her attempt to go to secondary school. With no means of support and other siblings to look after, Angel went to work as a house help for one rich family who not only maltreated her but abused her. Life was difficult and unbearable for her until she was rescued by a Good Samaritan who took her into his own house and sponsored her in school. She is currently doing well in her studies and hopes to become a medical doctor in the future. The story of Angel is not new to many of us as I am convinced that many of us have come across people suffering from one thing or another.

I also remember the sensational headlines of most newspapers here in Kenya approximately a year ago. The son of the then-finance minister of Kenya did what some people do when they have lost hope – he took his own life by hanging (suicide). People of God, there are too many people suffering in our society today who want a better home, a good education, a better life, better food, a better everything.

I am convinced that there are enough resources for everyone in this world; and while a decent number of people have more than what they need, the majority have little or nothing to content themselves with. That is why I am writing this article, and that is why I have decided that henceforth, I will do something about this great disease of neglect in our society. I believe we all share the responsibility of eliminating or reducing suffering in the world. We all have the duty of reaching out and making a difference in other people’s lives. I have come to realize that I am more fortunate than so many people in this world – and perhaps so are you. So no matter how great your troubles and difficulties are, you can still reach out to someone. You can be the person who will give a child the education his parents cannot afford; you can be the person who will prevent another person from taking away his life; you can be the person who will prevent a married couple from divorcing because of petty and/or serious issues; you can be the person who will prevent a young girl from teenage pregnancy and consequently, dropping out of school; and you can be the person who will inspire someone to become a successful individual in the future.

Therefore, I believe I have a mission to eliminate or reduce suffering in the world. I also sincerely believe that I cannot do this alone, and that is why I am sending this message to all who would read it. It is our responsibility to step up, reach out and make a difference in our lives and more importantly, in the lives of others. As John Mason rightly puts it, “One of the most exciting decisions you can make is to decide to be on the lookout for opportunities to invest in others.” Lest I forget the words of our Lord in Mathew 25:34–36: “I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you made me welcome, lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me.”

People of God, there are suffering people everywhere in the world even though our beloved Africa is often portrayed as the hub where all the suffering in the world exists. My message to you is that you should reach out to someone – no matter where they might be. In case you do not know such a person in need of you, then I will gladly assist you in finding one. Finally, if you forget everything I have written above, then kindly remember these words from a popular writer, Mike Murdrock: “What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you.” May God bless you all!

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About the Author:

Brother Cho Nchang is a young and enthusiastic Marist Brother, who is dedicated to serving God and encouraging people to believe in themselves. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya. Connect with him here: Cho Nchang

Lessons in Life and Death

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There are two shores, one near and one far. On each shore there are people. At one shore there is a huge ocean liner that leaves and is headed out to sea. The people watch this huge vessel as it becomes smaller and smaller in the distance. Finally, it is but a pin point as they blink and it disappears. One person says to the others, “There she goes.”

On the other shore there are people. In the far off distance they see something like a black pinpoint on the sea. They rub their eyes and it appears larger. Soon the ocean liner gets bigger and bigger until one person says to another, “Here she comes!”

This is how it is when we lose a loved one. We are all saying, “There she goes.” But, heaven is saying, “Here she comes!!!” Phyllis Wall

I still remember the fateful day; it was a Tuesday around 4.30pm. I received a call from my dear friend Jane informing me of the death of friend and brother, Moses. We were both planning to visit him at the hospital when the news of his demise reached us. In my grief, I pondered lots of questions. “Why did it have to be him of all people?”  He was just fourteen years old, with a bright future ahead of him; too young to have his life cut short.

The untimely death of loved ones is one of the tragedies of everyday life. You and I probably know someone who passed away in the blink of an eye; some young, others old, our friends, relatives, and the list goes on. Such is the reality of our existence. We are all passengers on this big boat called Life, and one day (who knows what day?); we have to get off while the rest continue along the journey. In Moses’ death, I learned three life lessons, which I hope you find useful in your life:

First, we should learn to tell our parents, brothers, sisters, friends, relatives how much we love, cherish, and appreciate them. Besides telling them how we feel about them, we should also reinforce kind words with deeds. It is quite typical at funerals to hear outstanding eulogies for the deceased, but I always wonder how many people actually cared to let their dearly departed know how much they loved and valued them while they were alive. We tend to wait until they are dead before we begin to proclaim their praises. Unfortunately, dead people don’t hear or speak or appreciate what we do after they are gone. Tell that person whom you love and appreciate what you would say at their funeral while they are still alive. Don’t procrastinate, you might never get another opportunity to do so.

Secondly, if you are given the chance to make a difference in any body’s life, please do so today and not tomorrow. Of what use is it to have excess food at your home, and yet your neighbor is in need of a morsel of bread. Use all the opportunities God has given you today to have an impact on someone’s life other than yourself. Unfortunately, we often tend to appreciate people most when they are gone. That must change.

Finally, I beg you to ask yourself this question: “When I pass away, what will people say of me?” I remember a story my teacher told me about a funeral she attended. She related that some sympathizers were invited to give testimonies about the deceased man, but everyone kept on beating about the bush, as they were hesitant. To cut a long story short, this man had lived a very selfish life. No one knew him for anything positive, and in order to avoid embarrassing the poor wife and family, no one said anything good or bad. Brethren, we ought to remember to live a life of purpose and do our best to leave a positive imprint in the lives of those around us.

On one end of the pendulum life springs up in the form of a newborn child, on the other end death occurs and a soul departs. The distance between life and death is but a brief moment in time. With the stroke of a pendulum, life can be swiftly lost. While we are alive, let us conquer death by building a strong faith in Christ. The greatest service we can do for the departed is to pray for their souls. Ask God to forgive their sins and receive them into His eternal kingdom. And for us the living, life is to be spent for the good of others. “Let no man seek his own—but every man another’s welfare” (Corinthians 10:24). Make use of your life in every sense of the word, understanding that your pendulum can swing towards death at any moment. And if it should, in what state do you want it to find you?

P.S. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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About the Author:

Brother Cho Nchang is a young and enthusiastic Marist Brother, who is dedicated to serving God and encouraging people to believe in themselves. He lives in Nairobi, Kenya. Connect with him here: Cho Nchang