In my Life Application New International Version black leather Bible are many stickers such as the one above. Some are little stars; others are from the Hello Kitty collection of Sanrio characters. A few allow for a short comment, again as in the Badz-Maru angel you see here. My NIV Bible is full of colorful highlights and scribbles in the margins. Someone picking it up might believe I read this book; they’d be correct.
James speaks in his letter about considering trials of all kinds as “pure joy.”
Today, on NPR, I heard the story of a teenager in Tibet whose burnt body lay in the street while his family and friends cried aloud in the agony of the loss of a young loved one. This young man to protest — what? China’s ongoing oppression of his country — doused himself with fuel and set himself on fire. I wonder if he considered his suffering as “pure joy?” — if his family and friends considered their suffering as “pure joy?”
You protest, do you not? This young man and his loved ones, you say, are not Christian. Their suffering is different than ours — i.e. than those of us who call ourselves “born-again” believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This young man, on the other hand, followed the teachings of the Dalai Lama as do his family and friends most likely.
Paul writes to the church in Corinth of his many trials. And he also says,
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5, NIV)
After hearing of this teenager’s horrific death by his own hand in an effort to change a political system oppressing his people, I wished — prayed — that the comfort of the Lord Jesus might rain down on his loved ones whether or not they believe as I do.