Our family has been experiencing trials over the past several years. Our trials have been of the sort that you can’t really share with a lot of people. Yet, we have probably shared more than we should.
In recent days, the trials have felt overwhelming to me at times. Yet, I know people with far worse trials than we have. I know about a baby who has cancer. I know an 11-year-old with cancer whose family home burned down on July 4. My sister has bone cancer. My sister-in-law has throat cancer. And, there are many, many others.
Despite knowing about these trials, because my trials are mine, I often give them permission to overwhelm me. I wallow in them. Then I read something like this by Tony Snow. I think what he wrote in Christianity Today puts life into perspective. I really appreciated this sentiment: “We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us—that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God’s love for others.”
So no, I don’t think we should say, “Well, we’ve got troubles, but at least we don’t have cancer.” But I do think when we face trials–whether they be physical, emotional, financial, etc., God puts us in community with other people who have different kinds of trials to remind us that “it’s not all about us.” We need to focus outward and quit dwelling on our own problems. When we reach out to others, even in the midst of our own stress and pain, God reminds us that He did (and is doing) the same thing for us.