One of the more troubling aspects of life is knowing that bad news can strike at any time. Although our daily lives are filled with blessings, both large and small, that allow us to recognize God’s love for us, sometimes bad things happen to us — whether it’s an illness, job loss, or death of a loved one.
The question then becomes how to deal with sorrow. If suffering is part of life, then it’s certainly important for us to think about how to deal with it.
This is where Ezekiel comes in. Before Ezekiel became a prophet, he was just another young man – from a family of Jewish priests – trying to find his way in a complicated world. In those days, serving as a prophet for the Jewish people would not have been easy. They were about to enter into one of the most difficult periods in their history, when they witnessed the destruction of the Temple and experienced exile into a foreign land.
In fact, when God came to Ezekiel and appointed him a prophet to the Jewish people, He warned Ezekiel that dealing with his countrymen would be difficult – nearly impossible: “And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them . . .” (Ezekiel 2:6).
Ezekiel knew before he even uttered one word of God’s message to his fellow Israelites that this role would change his life, and not necessarily for the better.
And yet, just as God gave Ezekiel such a difficult task, he taught him the proper way to deal with suffering: “Son of man, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you” (Ezekiel 2:1). No matter what happens, God told Ezekiel, a person can always keep his or her pride and dignity. As difficult as life may sometimes get, we can meet any challenge standing on our feet – making sure that we always do the best to cope with the situation.
And as we do this, as God promised Ezekiel, He will watch over us and help us.