(Jesus told his disciples), “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered in sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table . . . The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.”
Lazarus went to heaven after he died. But his life here was anything but heaven on earth. And everyone could see how much he was suffering. He was poor, hungry, and covered in sores. He was not a pretty sight.
Are you suffering as you travel through this life? If you are, do the people around you know? Or, are your sufferings far less visible than those of Lazarus? When someone asks how you’re doing, do you say “fine” even when you’re not? Do you hope that’s enough to compel them to move on to their next conversation so that they never get the chance to hear how lonely you often feel; how guilty you feel about something you’ve done wrong; how busy you keep yourself so you don’t have time to think about parts of your life that are broken; or how strongly you believe that, if your life was as fully exposed in front of everyone, you wouldn’t blame anyone for running away in the other direction?
Whatever you might be suffering, and no matter how hidden your suffering might be, know that Jesus knows all about it. And he does not run away from you. Instead, he points you to a cross where his sacrifice guaranteed that one day, like Lazarus, your soul will be carried to paradise.
May the promise of paradise in the next life provide peace in the midst of suffering in this life.
Dear Jesus, you gave up so much, even your own life, to build paradise for me in heaven. Help me to be patient as I wait for the day my own eyes will see it. Amen.