This morning, just an hour ago, I spent a little time in the waiting room of a hospital near our home. While waiting to be called for a blood test, there were many people who were also waiting. A lady sitting next to me was wearing a mask. Her face was drawn, her hair swept and unkempt. She looks frail and had a plastic bag strapped to her right lower leg with urine flowing into the device. She looked across the room at a man in the distance and said: “hey aren’t you the guy who helped us the other day at the airport.” The man returned her question: “Yes that was me, how are you?”
As the conversation continued, all of us who were sitting nearby, understood that these two had been on waiting lists to receive a new kidney. We didn’t learn what had happened in their life that necessitated this new organs, only that they had been sick, for a very long time. The man who had helped the lady next to me had stated that this was his second kidney transplant. The first had lasted on a year before it failed. He had not been able to urinate for over six years, his bladder had shrunk to the size of a walnut. For six long years, he has endured terrible suffering and pain. Each week he was forced to endure kidney dialysis and after this most recent transplant, he must wear a painful catheter—24 hours a day.
The lady sitting beside us, also had recently received her new kidney. Her mother sitting next to her, received a new kidney ten years before.
I looked around the room at all of the sick people. Many were also wearing masks, undoubtably with their own stories of difficulty, pain, and suffering. I realized that this is just one waiting area of this hospital, among many. This is just one hospital amongst millions around the world. There is so much pain, sickness, and suffering in the world that we live in. Most of us live our lives each day, with no knowledge or thought of these dear people.
Six months ago, I had a heart attack. Two months ago, my wife underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor that has been growing in her brain for more than 40 years.
In the midst of our difficulties, on occasion, we have expressed our complaints to each other about our conditions. We have wondered why these things happened to us and why the Lord had yet to complete our healing.
This morning, I felt ashamed. In all my complaining and doubting the goodness of the Lord, I had forgotten that there are millions of sick and dying people, all over the world. I forgot that we live in a world that suffers because of the effects of sin and death. These scourges on humanity were never supposed to happen. If sin had not entered the world, no one would be suffering and dying. Then I thought about Jesus, who created the universe by speaking it into existence. He has lived forever and dwelt in light unapproachable. He left heaven, took the body of a human being and became one of us. He lived a perfect life so that He could offer His life in exchange for all of us. Jesus suffered unimaginable pain and suffering for us, so that He could remove all sickness and death from our lives. Every person who believes this and receives Jesus as their Savior, has the hope of eternal life. Not a continuation of this present suffering, but a life that is perfect where sickness, suffering, and death do not exist.
It seems to me that the entire world of people should take a day off and just go and sit in the waiting room of a hospital near where they live. That experience will change the hearts and attitudes of people in a profound way. Forgetting that the world is full of suffering people, we often voice our own complaints about the way things are going in our life. You know what I am talking about, I am sure that you have many of the same feeling that I have, when things are not going well.
Whatever we are presently going through, or as in our case, recently have been through—very few of us are suffering a severely as many other people in the world. Most of us have enjoyed many days, weeks, months, and years, of wonderful blessings. Sometimes, in just a day, everything can change. Our life can begin a path of suffering and sickness that we never expected.
For me, I determined that I would complain less and be thankful more. Whatever I am going through, it could be a lot worse than it is.
I think that many of us have to endure a longer period of suffering, simply because we are still complaining about what is happening in our life. Perhaps if we stop gripping about our life and begin to exhibit more thankfulness for what we have already experienced, our situation will change. Even If the Lord determines that we will remain in the place that we presently are for some time, we can have a much better life—simply by waking each morning with a thankful heart, instead of a complaining mouth.