Who makes me suffer?

Jesus commented that some people go through life without suffering physically (Mk.9: 1). We are not among them. I was in a fire and endured pain for months. A rheumatic pain has paralyzed me three times during the last 15 years. My wife endured pain from a damaged nerve for more than four years. A friend turned to the bottle to kill his pain. Because of it, his wife questioned whether her husband made it into heaven? A friend's brother, a clergy, committed suicide. Pain is very powerful and it can rob us of our senses and leave us in disarray.


A young noble man came to Jesus and addressed him as "Good Teacher." Jesus countered, "Why do you call me good? No one is good - except God" (Mk.10: 17-18). Why would Jesus answer the way he did to a person that wanted to be good enough to enter heaven? In the eyes of his fellowmen, the young man was good already because he lived by the Commandments. If the Commandments were sufficient, why were they not good enough for Jesus?


There is an idea in the Bible how one can deal with a pesky giant (I Sam.17). Yes, it is the story of David and Goliath. In those days, champions fought before armies were engaged. King Saul of Israel had no one that could match the armor and strength of Goliath the Philistine. In came this shepherd lad with food for his brothers. He was upset when he heard the giant blaspheme God and His people. It was David and he volunteered to take on the blasphemer. King Saul and so did Goliath thought that it was a joke that a lad with no armor or a weapon could slay a champion? It is difficult to picture in our minds a boy with a slingshot and a pouch with some small stones facing the giant, and telling him to say his last prayers; for the God whom he was blaspheming was about to deliver him into a lad's hands. Faith in God was essential for David but so was his confidence in his accurate skill to slay the giant. He knew he could do it with one swing.


Life, in order to exist, is competitive. God's answer to Jeremiah was, "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" (Jer.12: 5). The Apostle Paul added the following (I Cor.9: 26-27),"I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat (subdue) my body and make it my slave (made fit) so that after I have preached (run) before (in front) others, I myself will not be disqualified for the reward."


Isaiah the prophet (4: 1) made this prediction about his nation, 'In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, "We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace."' It was not about polygamy but about reproduction. Wars had taken the males that reproduced. And because of it, Isaiah's nation died. That part of Israel, or the Ten Tribes, was annihilated. Jeremiah had a similar prediction about Judah or Jerusalem (31: 15). "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are nor more."


Jesus told the leaders of his day, "You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the time" (Mt.16: 3). Their system was collapsing, the Romans were about to end their existence and here they were squabbling what to do with Jesus (Jn.11: 48). How could it be that what has happened to the Jews two thousand years ago is now in the process of happening to us? Our westernized form of Christianity is failing. Our democracy is on the brink of collapsing. We can no longer pay for our expensive leadership and the equipment to manage the world. On top of it, this nation best fits the description in the Book of Revelation where the world leader shall headquarter. It also has a city that resembles Babylon. At the present, no such location exists in the Middle East.


King David wrote, "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save" (Ps.146: 3). Every time we have an election, we expect a political magician to emerge. We fall constantly to their deceptive promises (Jer.7: 4). I am reminded of the prophet Shemaiah. While the people were packing to be shipped to Babylon, he was still holding out for a Jewish utopia (Jer.20: 31). Our present President was expected to be such a "Wunderkind" or miracle child. Now, the Republicans are hoping that one may be mistaken for a Shemaiah among their ranks. All these political magicians have one thing in common. They know how to treat us as if we were children living on fantasyland.


A musician, a friend of our son and before I could introduce myself said, "You are the pianist's father." We look at our second son and we see my father walking. I attended a birthday party of my mother's family and the shape of my head betrayed me instantly. It is a fact that resemblance is passed on. It repeats itself constantly.


Jesus ended his requiem on the Temple, Jerusalem and the nation with these words, "Where there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather" (Mt.24: 28). What motivated Jesus to make such a prediction? Why did He use such a crude and distasteful example to drive home a point?


Modern automobiles are equipped with sensors. When our car threw a fit and would not pass inspection, I had to take it in for repair. To my dismay, the repair did not stop the red light; but the large repair bill qualified the car to pass for another year. The engine will cease running one day and the repair bill shall pass the cost of a many sensors.