On Difficult People and Suffering

of_human_suffering__by_abanna-d4uaqk3My priest made me copy of an essay entitled “Dealing with Difficult People” using some scrap paper he had in his office.  When thinking I would pick up a few tips on how to deal with some difficult people, I ran across a prayer typed on the back of one sheet:

“Save, O Lord, those who have died in severe sufferings, those who were murdered, those buried alive, those tortured beyond imagination…

“O Lord, soften the grief of parents over the loss of children; O Lord, give rest to all who have no family, those who are alone, who have no one to pray for them, that their sins may vanish in the rays of the eternal unfading light that bring Your all-forgiveness…O Lord of unutterable love…”

When we step out of our own skin for a moment and mourn and pray for the suffering around us, it can really recalibrate our own perspectives.


KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAMy mind is taken back to a conversation from earlier today.  Somebody said they don’t believe in luck and asked, “What is luck anyway?”

Another person replied, “It is getting your way.”  Luck is saying ‘My will be done’ and it happening that way.  Luck knows no god other than itself.  Luck frequently regards material gain, convenience, comfort, and temporal happiness: the gods of our culture.

When we truly believe “Thy will be done,” there is no lucky or unlucky, there is simply communing with God’s Spirit no matter the circumstances.

“Peace is the condition in which nothing is lacking,” said Fr George Maloney.  God’s will and our inner peace are directly related to one another and are not, or should not, be persuaded by the circumstances or people that surround us, no matter how difficult they may be.


Christ CrucifiedThe true Gospel is an uncomfortable thing: it is full of suffering.  Christ did not die to relieve us of suffering, but extends His arms from the cross and invites us to carry our own crosses and join Him, that we might be “crucified with Christ” so that it will no longer be us who lives but Christ in us.  This is the Gospel message.  It is one of humility, of seeking the will of God no matter how uncomfortable it is for us.

Modern preachers like to tie the gospel message to wealth, prosperity, health, and happiness.  Those things are nice, but they are not the message of the cross.  Paul said, “I preach Christ crucified,” and it is foolishness to some and a stumbling block to others.

May we learn to say, “Thy will be done,” and mean it.  May we see the world outside of our own skin and enter lovingly into the suffering of others.

2 thoughts on “On Difficult People and Suffering

  1. What a beautiful prayer…it truly does help to put things into perspective, doesn’t it. Our Lord, of Unutterable Love… such beauty in these quiet words.

    1. There is indeed such a deep well of beauty in the traditional Orthodox prayers.

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