Although I experience this at times, I do not experience it sufficiently enough in my life. This reveals to me the types of people I have in my life. As I read one of my favorite passages in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 12. Verse 26 says, "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it..." and I think to myself, "I don't think so." To me that seems more like an aspiration for the Body of Christ. Maybe in some existential manner we all suffer together, but I don't sufficiently and the Church doesn't sufficiently feel the suffering of those in the community who suffer, in particular those who may be suffering with aspects of their experience with disability. Obviously, not all people with impairments suffer, however, the social isolation, the comments that "I have no friends" and even the dealing with pain or other aspects of impairment, these things the church is not sufficiently aware of. In fact a statement often given by pastors or others within the church when confronted with the reality of this experience is that "I didn't know." How can I suffer with those who suffer if I don't even know who they are?
Our American society allows us to make a lot of assumptions about the experience of people in life. We are aware of the presence of various human services and assume that they are sufficient to meet ALL the needs of those who use them. As I have referred to a hundred times, we are like Scrooge replying that we pay our taxes, implying that I have no further responsibility for my neighbor because I have had money taken out of my paycheck against my will to support them through government programs.
I would argue that not only are these government programs insufficient, the models they are based upon are so wrong that the exacerbate many of the problems they claim to be addressing.But I will never know that unless I wade into the lives of those who are living on what appears to be a different side of the sovereignty of God than I am.
When I wade into the problems of others, and feel overwhelmed like they do, and feel hopeless like they do, and feel alone like they do, their experience guides ME to total reliance on God and perhaps through my reliance on God, guides them to reliance on God. We should suffer with those who suffer so that we can become the Body of Christ described in 1 Corinthians 12.
May God give us the desire us to become his body.