Animal Crossing

Posted: November 23, 2013 in Batteries Not Included

I remember many years ago, one of my nieces was really into the game Animal Crossing. In hindsight, it was a rather silly game, but I wanted to help her in her endeavors so I bought a memory card on eBay that had a game saved with all the money and accessories and achievements you could ever ask for. Instant win! Who wouldn’t want that, right? I also seem to recall that soon after, her passion (if I may call it that) for the game started to wane. Was it because she was growing up and leaving behind the childish things? Or was the game was no longer fun because she didn’t have to work for anything anymore?

On an unrelated note, I’ve been thinking about bearing the cross and suffering and compassion. How do we differentiate between a situation or circumstance that we must endure because Jesus is helping us develop perseverance and character, and an injustice or unfortunate event that we need to correct? For example, we would easily tell someone who is having trouble getting along with his manager at work to bear the cross and learn and grow, but I don’t think we would ever say the same to a child who has been a victim of human trafficking. We would advise a couple to see beyond their differences and learn to draw near to God together, but God forbid we ever advise someone to stay in a physically violent and abusive relationship. Where do we draw the line? I’m sorry, Dear Reader, but I don’t have an answer.

But here’s a wonderful thought I had in the midst of all this – if I endure a particular suffering, and come through it having been shaped by the Lord, then I can turn around and exhort another brother who is facing the same circumstance to bear his cross and perhaps when needed, offer a shoulder to lean on. And so each time I suffer, I am better able to relate to someone else’s suffering, to understand what he is going through, to give answers that I learned the hard way, rather than rattling off textbook answers.

And then I realized – isn’t that exactly what Jesus did?

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