A Heavenly Perspective on Suffering

Oddney Gumaer (along with her husband, Steve) is a co-founder of Partner’s Relief & Development (partnersworld.org), an amazing ministry that is in need of your prayers and worthy of your financial support. Anyway, Oddney has recently published a book about their life of ministry to the war-torn and displaced tribal people along the Burmese/Thai border. I have known of this for many years now – more than 26 years, in fact. We have supported missionaries and missions endeavors among the Karen tribal people in particular, both in their home state of Kawtoolei (see note below) and in the various and numerous refugee camps housing them along the Thai side of the border. As the Lord would have it, reading afresh of the plight of human suffering among these people has put my own suffering in perspective. This morning, after reading another chapter of Oddny’s book, Picking Flowers On Dusty Roads, I came across the following matter-of-fact statement in another devotional book that I share with you here… followed by some familiar verses that immediately came to mind. Read on ~ “For believers, one moment of heavenly glory will outweigh a lifetime of suffering. Therefore, live with the assurance that God’s ‘tomorrow’ will make today’s struggles worth it all.” (Osbeck)

“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though our outer man is wasting away, our inner man is being renewed day by day. For this (comparatively) light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporal & transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (The Apostle Paul, 2Cor. 4:16-18)

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God  is  with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them  and be  their God.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (The Apostle John, Revelation 21:3-4)

“Imagine! Imagine stepping on to the shore, and finding it heaven. Imagining taking hold of a hand, and finding it God’s hand. Imagine breathing new air, and finding it celestial air. Imagine feeling invigorated, and finding it immortality. Imagine passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm. Imagine waking up to such, and finding it home.” (Unknown)

Where is Kawtoolei? Picture southern Burma along the Thai border. This is the area that bore the brunt of the destruction brought by the great Burma Typhoon in May of 2008 – Remember the thousands that were left homeless? Remember the relief efforts that were stymied by the Burmese Junta? All of this was because of who these people were: They were Karen – a tribal people that the Burmese Military has been attempting to kill, to enslave, to rape, to pillage, to burn and to utterly destroy since 1948.

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