Friday, January 4, 2013

Responding to Suffering with Gratitude

“I read a little story by a priest who suffers from tinnitus, an incurable and very annoying buzzing in the ears.  Because he believes that we are responsible for our own happiness, he has elected to regard this “little problem,” as he calls it, as an opportunity rather than a curse.

“Waking up in the morning to the sound of a thousand crickets is not pleasant.  Thank God, during the day I’m busy and I seldom advert to it, but the din never stops.”

Instead of offering canned advice to others he simply tells how he crossed over from a frantic search for relief to a relatively calm condition of acceptance.  He believes that the greatest honor he can give to God is to live gladly because of the knowledge of His love.  His happiness he regards as a sign of gratitude to God, so nothing must spoil it; therefore he thinks of tinnitus as a friend, not an enemy.  He pretends that the shrill sound in his head is an echo of the song of the universe, as all the earth blesses the Lord – the birds, the rivers, the howling winds.

“I let the buzzing in my ears become my unceasing prayer of praise.  ‘Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.  Serve the Lord with gladness.  Come before him, singing for joy.’”

It isn’t the problems that determine our destiny.  It’s how we respond.”

-- Elisabeth Elliot, The Path of Suffering – Discovering the Relationship Between God’s Mercy and Our Pain

No comments: