The daily devotional we read today was another in an array of similar writings on facing the trials of life.

For some reason it broke through deeply to me.

I have had it with the trivialization of personal agony under the doctrine of “God is doing it to make you mature”.

Tell that to a very young woman being wheeled into the operating room to have her uterus removed, damaged beyond repair by years of brutal incest. Try it out as comfort to a person who has had their career ripped away and they sit at home totally alone with physical pain the medical community can’t fix, so it brushes the patient off as an irritant. See if it has value to the surviving family of a child raped and murdered.

These are not imaginary tales, but ones that have a name and face to me.

God may cause distress at times to refine our rough edges.

5040034-jesus-christ-statue-in-crossBut don’t blame God for what is more likely the vicious interference in life by the ruler of this world, whom John named Abaddon and Apollyon (Destroyer in Hebrew and, then, Greek).

And don’t give me the heartless commentary on how the target of such brutality has to make the best of it.

You and I aren’t on earth for a vacation. We are here to stand up for, and with, the oppressed. Jesus explicitly tells us to visit others. The Gospel tells us to do for others what we would want them to do for us.

Are you the one tormented beyond the tolerance level? Don’t you want companions of compassion and defence?

love_one_another_The world will know we are Christians by our love. Love is not a feeling, an emotional process, a hands-off and distant “prayer”.

Walk in the sewers of this world. Hold onto the sick in the muck they live in. Turn off your … TV’s and computers and get into the room where a devastatingly lonely person no longer has a reason to live, and give them a reason.

Jesus died, bloodied and tortured, on a cross. It wasn’t so you could rest in a recliner in an air-conditioned room with junk food at your side!