Bennett Cerf relates a fable about a very wise old man who was visited by a group of discontents determined to tell him their troubles. The wise man suggested, “Write down your greatest trouble on a piece of paper.” He then threw all the papers into a pot and said, “Now each of you draw a paper, and by all the laws of probability you will all have brand-new troubles to fret over.” The group followed his suggestion, and they read the new troubles they were to take on. As a result, immediately every single one of them clamored to have his own trouble back!
It’s true. So often in life we look at other people with envy. We think, “If only I could have their life, all my problems would be gone!” But the truth of it is, if we had their life, we’d only have a whole new group of problems.
Yes, in life we all face struggles and challenges. By remembering that everyone – no exceptions – everyone is struggling in their own way, it gives us greater compassion for people around us. And, it reminds us of the need to be more patient, more loving.
Let us pray: God of Grace, we don’t pretend to know why there is suffering in the world, why we face the challenges we face, but we do trust that you are with us. Today, we remember that you have given us each other to help bear the burdens. Open our eyes to see the need in people all around us. Open our hearts to greater compassion. Grant us the courage and strength to act whenever possible, and to ask for help when we need it.
We pray also today for those who find themselves in stressful situations. We lift up the men and women serving in the military and their families. And, we especially remember our veterans. Draw near to each of them now – and to us, we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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