Must it be the time, which is the season of Lent? Or, that life has become too challenging nowadays?

For consecutive days now, I have been witnessed to several facets of people’s pain. My head could just shake in disbelief how harsh a throe can be. No heart would be left unbroken to every stitch of a struggle.

There was King. He has spent and offered his life to church’s service. In his 30’s, he suffered stroke. And in his 40’s now, has just been diagnosed with cancer. I visited him in the hospital. He has tube in his throat. He could not speak. I was doing a monologue throughout the visit. He is skin and bones now. The meager that the family has long been dried up due to King’s condition.

There’s Ann. A doting mother of three kids. a lovely wife to a medical officer and a dutiful career woman. One day, an unknown caller phoned her. It turned out to be the husband’s paramour. That she was devastated was just like calling an eagle a Maya.

There’s Mike. A very active athletic guy. He got his hip fractured. For several weeks now he could not move. Three-hour straight of sleep is already like hitting a lottery jackpot for him. The batteries of the TV remote control would get drained not later than the battery of his cellphone. When that happens, he would just stare blankly in front of the TV set to programs that he had already watched many times over.

There’s Samuel. Separated from his estranged wife who filed a VAWC against him. The wife is living with another man now and plans to remarry. Meanwhile, their only child remains in the custody of Samuel. Samuel is being helped and supported by his aged parents.

And Grace. She called me up from abroad.  She was diagnosed with cancer. She is thinking of her only son who has just started school. How will it be when she and her husband are all alone in a foreign land.

To deny the reality of pain in our life is to make it even more painful. Do we manage pain instead? Or, would we rather face it? How do we embrace King’s health condition? Ann’s deepest hurt? Mike’s damn boredom? Samuel’s bitter wound? And Grace’s doubts?

Here’s what Ann told me. “Shucks, it is Lent. What timing that I have to suffer too! … Does it mean that I have to forgive before the Lenten Season is over?… I think, I am in a journey where I am realizing the real, true meaning of the Lord’s  prayer – ‘Your will be done.”

As for Grace, she says, “The ability to deal on a day to day basis, in the midst of a heavy heart, is quite challenging… The  difficulty is what I am suffering from is my lack of strength. Sometimes  I feel i am being dragged down… but I am keeping my faith in God one day at a time too.”

King, Mike & Samuel could be considered as typical of the masculine gender – neither saying a word nor letting others know that they are also in pain. But one could suspect, tears too could be rolling down their cheeks when at their lonesome.

Truly, pain is unavoidable, but it should not be without gain. No matter how painful, may we find each pain too to be meaningful. After all, the Man who has suffered most in pain in Calvary has assured us that by “wounds we were healed”, … by “suffering we were saved”…. and in the cross there is victory.

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