“…whatever is right…dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8
My teenage son keeps me up to date on all the Superhero trivia I should ever need. And, trust me, there is no shortage of trivia on Superheroes. There are hero stories galore and there is a huge market of people who pay to hear them. The last Batman movie, The Dark Knight brought in $1,001,921,825. (yep, billion). The top three selling Halloween costumes on Amazon.com last year were Superman, Batman and Spiderman. It makes me wonder, why do we have such a fascination with Superheroes?
Perhaps it is our desire for wrongs in the world to be made right. Yesterday I found myself longing for a Superhero to come in and bring justice. My heart was overwhelmed with the trials of a couple of my friends and I wanted to understand how it was just that they should have to carry such huge burdens. I wanted to make sense of it all; to discover how to dwell on what is right–when their suffering seems so unfair.
A friend of mine, with a daughter still in Jr. High, is battling bone cancer and it just keeps moving all over her body. This week she got results that show that it has once again moved to a couple different places and all I can think is, “Why doesn’t it just move out completely!?“. I look at the burden she carries as she faces this illness and I get confused because it doesn’t seem right.
Another friend’s teenage daughter has been in the hospital for nearly a year–fighting for her life. Every time it seems like her daughter is starting to win the battle, there is another set back. Her daughter is tired and worn out. She is now not only fighting for her life, but she is struggling to keep her faith strong. Again, I get confused because it doesn’t seem right.
And the word “right” spins through my head…whatever is right…whatever is right…how is this right? And then I hear it…you’re not asking the right questions.
When trying to understand how it is right that any person should have to face suffering, I have to understand the purpose of suffering. Suffering is not a random thing that comes into anyone’s life. There are two types of evil that we face in life–sin and suffering. Sin always draws us away from God. Suffering gives us the choice to respond to God. We can draw near to Him or turn our backs in anger and bitterness. Sin doesn’t give us a choice, but suffering does. So, when trying to have an understanding of my friend’s suffering, perhaps the “right” that I need to be seeking is to be asking the “right” questions.
- What’s the right way I can be praying for my friends?
- What’s the right way I can reach out to my friends?
- What’s the right way I can show my friends God’s unfailing love?
Superheros will undoubtedly continue to circle the globe, bringing justice and righting the wrongs created by their arch rivals. But as we wait for the return of Christ, the Greatest Hero that ever existed, we must lean on Him and trust that the suffering we do not understand has a value that outweighs any treasure on earth.
Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.