When My Body Suffers

As I write this, millions of plants are releasing pollen into the air, hoping to spawn a new generation of vegetation. It’s the beautiful cycle of life. One more evidence of the Creator’s design and ingenuity in creation. How wonderful!

For some reason, my body does not see the beauty. Oh no, my body views these little seeds as destructive elements trying to kill me. My immune system fires up and tries to drive these little seeds out of my body. My nose runs. My eyes water. My face feels like a colony of ants are crawling just under the skin. My throat is sore. Even my inner ears itch.

Yet again, the beauty of God’s creation has been tainted by The Fall of Man. What was designed for beauty and good has become a source of pain and annoyance.

Seasonal allergies show how one little annoyance can affect the entire body. One grain of pollen can hardly be seen, yet my body is declaring all-out war on that little bugger. One little grain of pollen in my nose and my body is shot for the day.

The Bible talks about the Body of Christ, all believers in the world, being a unified whole. Paul tells us that when one member of the Body suffers, all the members suffer with it (1 Corinthians 12:26).

The result of this unity is that the whole body should look out for one another. 1 Corinthians 12:25 says that “the members should have the same care one for another.”

There are many places in the world today where the Body is suffering–a member of the Body of Christ is under attack. Syria is a prime example. Through the fractious war tearing the country apart and the persistent antagonism with Islam, the Syrian member of the Body of Christ is suffering.

When we hear of these reports in the comfort of our homes, it’s hard to have more than sympathetic feelings. We may “suffer” emotionally for a time, but is the whole Body truly suffering with these persecuted members?

Many an article has been written listing ways to join in the suffering: pray, give money, go on a mission trip, fast, etc. There’s nothing wrong with any of these things. But let’s ask a question: why do we have to be told to suffer with members of the Body?

What does it say about members of the Church that we don’t suffer with other suffering members?

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith.” Maybe we don’t suffer with members in the Body because we ourselves are not in the Body. It’s a possibility.

You don’t have to tell my body to suffer with my nose in allergy season; it’s a natural response of the body. My whole body automatically suffers; it doesn’t need pointers from an article on how to suffer! If we’re not feeling the suffering of the Body of Christ, perhaps we should consider whether we’re in the Body.

Another possible answer is that we forget. It isn’t happening to me. I can’t literally feel their pain. I’m removed from it. That buffer allows me the ability to forget. My toenails don’t hurt during allergy season!

The New Testament has to remind us to feel the pain of others in the Body, which means even believers can be insensitive.

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body,” Hebrews 13:3.

Ananias House provides regular reminders of the suffering of the Body on their website, Facebook, and newsletters. Other ministries, like Voice of the Martyrs, also remind us. Keep in contact with missionaries and mission agencies. You can now get apps for your phone reminding you to pray for wounded parts of the Body. Let the suffering of the Body of Christ interrupt your day.

Are you in the Body? Are you paying attention to the wounded members of the Body? Get in the Body, and then do your part to help it endure.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go blow my nose.