The Kuki Tribes of Meghalaya: A Study of their Socio – Political Problems

The Kukis are ethnic group that
spread throughout the
Northeastern region of India,
Northwest Burma and
Chittagong Hill Tracts in
Bangladesh. In Northeast India they are present in all the states
except Arunachal Pradesh. This
dispersal across international
borders is mainly attributed to
the British colonial policy. The
term ‘Kuki’ is a Bengali word meaning ‘hill people’ or
‘highlander’. According to Lt.
Colonel Shakespeare (The
Lushai Kuki Clans, Part I,
London, 1912) the term ‘Kuki’
has a definite meaning and include Aimol, Chothe, Chiru,
Koireng, Kom, Purum, Anal,
Lamkang, Moyon, Monsang,
Gangte, Vaiphei, Simte, Paite,
Thadou, Hmar, Zou etc. G.A.
Grierson in Linguistic Survey of India, 1967 stated that the
tribes connoted by Kuki are able
to understand another’s dialect.
Recognising the common
ethnicity and identity of the
Kukis, the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order, 1950
of the Government of India
placed all the Kukis under ‘Any
Kuki Tribes’ in the states of
Assam, Manipur, Tripura,
Mizoram, and Meghalaya. Due to the various
movements for separate
administrative units based on
ethnicity, Nagaland, Meghalaya
and Mizoram were carved out
of Assam. The creation of new administrative units deprived
the Kukis much of their political
interests. Nevertheless they
have been living cordially with
the majority communities. Such
is the case of the Kuki tribes in Meghalaya. When Meghalaya
was carved out from Assam by
the Assam Reorganisation
(Meghalaya) Act 1969, the
various Kukis living in the then
United Khasi-Jaintia Hills district became indigenous tribes of
Meghalaya. Even though a
minority, the Kukis in
Meghalaya are not negligible in
terms of their population. In
this essay a brief history of Meghalaya, its social
composition and the various
governmental policies affecting
the minority Kukis are analysed.

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PUITLINGNA BY: Rev B.L Sandam

“Ka naupang laiin naupang angin
ka tawnga, naupang hrietin ka
hriet a, naupang ngaituo angin ka
ngaituo hlak; tuta ka hung puitling
hnung
hin naupang thaw dan chu ka ban tah” 1 Korinth 13:11.* Puitling dinga kalbi hmasatak chu
naupang hi ania, amiruokchu naupang
zing
el chun puitling thei ani bawk nawh.
Chuleichun puitlingna dinga thaw ding
pawimaw tak chu naupang thaw dan bansan hi a nih. Ka naupang khawhriet
hang
in zawt ve lang, kum 1956 October thla
in Uchathol khuo a kan umlai vangduoi
thlak takin kapa Vanlalbul in a mi
thisana naupang ti ti enkawl ngai vawng
kan la ni leiin kan urengin kan Pate
Lalringpui hai belin kan um tlanga. A
kumnawk 1966 chu ni le thla le
calendar ka tiem thei tan kum a nih;
Zairawn I.C.I kohran a Kristmas ka hmang
hmasatak kum a nia, chu kuma kristmas
a ka
hlimpui tak chu Vawksa hmepawk le
zana fiemthawtuhai fiem thaw chu a
nih. Kristsmas putar (Santa clause) in famta
Upa Thachung an siema a kuta fei
chawia mi a sunawi lai dam ka mitthla
a a cham zingin ka suongtuona tukver a
inthawka ka hang thlir vel chun ka
lungril a suk no in ka khuo khawm a suk sawt hle. Kha lai hun a ei lo hlimpui em
em hai dam kha tulai tukvera
inthawka hang thlir chun a nuizat
thlakin a naupang thlak hle ei tinaw
thei
nawh. Sienkhawm kohran in kum sawmnga na (Golden Jubilee) lawmna ei
hang nei
ding meu chun Tirko Paula’n “ Ka
naupang lain naupang angin ka tawnga,
naupang hrietin ka hriet a, naupang
ngaituo angin ka ngaituo hlak; tuta ka hung puitling hnung hin naupang thaw
dan chu ka ban tah”* * alo ti ang el
hin mimal le kohranhai khawm ani telin
ei lo puitling pei chu ni ngei ding
ana ei tawng dan, ei chet dan, ei fak le
dawn zawng dan, ei inchei dan, ei in le lo nei dan, ei thil buoipui nuom
zawng, ei ngainat le ei ngaisang
zawnghai an thlakthlengin a danglam
nuom sawt hle. Iengtik hun taka
inthleng
dang lam am a ni tiruok chu ei hriet biek nawh. Pathien hminga thil thawna
le kohran inkhawma program a hai lem
chu fiemthu hin hmun khawm a chang
ve
ta nawh. Zairawn khuo context takin hang hril
inla, tienlai deu khan chu
khawsunga intin deu thaw in ram
ngawpui vatin lo nei in fak ei zawng
hlaka,
ei thlai ra ching suokhai khawm zawr khawm ei lo nei ngai nawh a, khuo le
vengin insemin ei lo fak tlang el hlak.
Turuok hin chu nuom in la khawm ram
ngawpui vat ding khawm ei hmu ta
nawh a, a neitu khawm hril khawp
khawm ei um ta nawh. Lo a thlai neihai khawma
athlawna tuolbawm hai sem el chu a
vang
tah. Ei chakhai lakna tak Jiribam,
Gularthol bazar a hai ke ngawta inlawn
in phur riktak tak hai khawm ei lo phur
hlaka tum khata phur senglo ei lo nei
khawm in avel vel in ei thak hlak.
Turuok hin chu tukhawm ke a inlawn ei
um
ta nawh a mitin in Motor in hadam takin ei in lawn lem tah. Fe tulna
pawimaw
tak nei inla khawm inlawnna ding
Motor a lo remchang naw chun fena
ding thul
in a Motor remchang hun ei in chan lem el an tah. Upa tawng takin hang hril inla kan
naupang lai chun Zairawn khuo sunga
B.A passed chu hrillo, pawlsawm sirpha
chu kutchang thlieka tiem khawp
khawm
an lo um nawh. Turuok hin chu pawlsawm passed chu hrillo B.A val
khawm
kutchang thlieka tiem el seng ei ni ta
nawh. Khawvel hmasawnna zuiin
changkang lemna a ngaiin khawsunga
intin chu hrillo vawikhat nunghak tlangval mana Mobile pai naw hrim
khawm ei um ta nawh. Hieng anga
khawtlang
nunphung inthlak danglamna, In le lo
nei dan, fak le dawn zawng dan,
thiemna le varna inchukna kawnga, khawvel
khawsakna changkang lema ei hung
chuongkai
el ta hi ei ni tum le ei ngaituo lei el
khawm a ni bik nawh a, a khawtlang
huopa ei relna le resolution ei passed na khawm a um nawh a, a khawvel in
her pei hin ahung hersuok hrim hrim
lem a nih. Ei chang thlang a “Tuta ka hung
puitling hnung hin naupang thaw dan
chu ka ban tah” ati hi tha kati in
ngaimaw um hle in ka hrieta. Ei kristien
hringnun khal dan le enmil in naupang
lai thaw dan bansan ding ieng ieng am ei bansana? Tirko Paula bawkin Galati
4:8,9;19 a “Nisienlakhawm, khanga
Pathien in hriet naw lai khan an
piengzie hrim khawma Pathien ni
derlohai
suok in na. tuta Pathien in hung hriet hnung hin chu ti nek hmanin, Pathien
mi hriet in hung ni hnung hin chu, ti
ding a ni lem- khawvel A AW B derdep
le teplo mei mei, a suoka um nawk in
inhawk hai tienga chun, iengtizie a
nghakir nawk am in na?” a lo tih a. Pathien eihriet naw laia thaw dan
tuchen a ei ban thei lo bansan ngei
ta dinga ei nuom thenkhat hang hril ei
tih. A) Kristien mi piengthar indik tak ni ta
sia, insunga thil inhmang, buoina
thenkhat asan hrietchienglo, thudik lem
hriet chieng thei lo thil hai a ei
buoina le ei harsatna thu a khawhri be
mi Pathien ringlo Maiba/Maibi hai ei ruoi el hlak hi ei thaw ngai lo ding a ni
leiin Jubilee chen tlung phak ta
kohran hai hin chu thaw ta ngai naw
hram inla nuom a um in ei puitlingna
pakhat ning a tih. Paula bawkin ka
nauhai, Krista chu nangni a siem puitlinga a um hmakhat chu nauha
invawin kan vawi nawk cheu hi ati hiel
anikha. B) Ei pi le pu hai hun chen an lo ching
hlak le an mawlna suk zuol hlaktu
tulai thangthar tamtakin ei la ban thei
naw chuzu hmun hlimna hi a nih.
Paula chun Rom mihai kuoma suna um
angin mawitakin um ei tiu, zu dawn buoi
le zu inruia um loin, hur le indit hmanga
um loin, insuol le in itthika um
loin a lo tia. Hril tam ngai loin zu hi mi
suksetu a nia, taksa hmel putdan
le hriselna a suksiet chau niloin mi pangngai lungril suk vettu ani bakah mi
po po hmusitna kula mi khumtu, insung
suk tlaramtu le thi hun hma a thina
intluntu a nih. Zu dawn mi hai hrim
hrim chu an zu dawn lei a hrisel le
hmeltha sar hler hlawr an um ngai nawh. Var kek kawka mi inza thei in an
um
ngai bawk nawh. Puitling taka insung
kei ding le damsawt an um ngai bawk
nawh. Chuleiin tuta tuma eini Zairawn
I.C.I kohran Golden Jubilee lawmna a’nthawk hin hieng tieng panga
hratnawna invawi hai ta ding khawmin
inthlak
dang lamna tlung ngei sien ti hi ei
beiseina le ei tawngtaina khawm a nih.
Chuong anga simna le inthlak danglamna chu Puitlingna tienga step
khat bek a
mi dawmsang tu ni ngei a tih. Ei Jubilee hmang ding hi Kum
sawmnga na Golden Jubilee a ni leiin ei
Kristien na hi kum sawmnga a tling chie
anta tina chu an nawh a, ei rama
chanchintha in kum zakhat chuong ami
lo del ve anta leiin tuta eini kohran laia hin chu ei taksa kum upat dan dan
hi ei kristienna kawng a ei upat dan
ani el ding ani leiin naupang thaw dan
ban sana ei puitling dan ding tawite
in hang hril nawk ei tih. 1. Sawmapakhat pek a puitling:
Sawmapakhat, Rahmasa Ramthim ta
dinga
thawlawm le thilpek dang dang thla bia
hlaw neitu le loneitu khawma asik hun
chara Lalpa chanpuol theinghil loin pe zie inla ei puitling nun inlang thei
a tih. 2. Sap thuvarin “I damsung chu mi
keihnuoitu niloin mi dawmsangtu ni
dingin
hmang rawh” anlo ti angin ei u le nau,
kohran chanpuihai, khuo le veng hai
tlaksietna ding nekin an changkang dan ding ngaituo rawn inla puitling nun
suklang thei ei tih. 3. Sap thuvar bawkin “Ngaituona chu
pen ang ana a sin ei hawng phale chau
an
hmang thei hlak” an ti angin kawng
tinrenga Pathien in tha le tul a ti anga
a mi hmang thei dingin lungril in hawngsa zingin um inla puitling thei ei
tih. 4. Thilthaw tinrenga huoisen taka thaw
hi puitling na a nih. kum 1989
January thla in Rev. Darsanglien
Ruolngul le Meghalaya district a kan
inzin
tlanga. Chu tum chun thil “thaw tinrenga hin hawphur puma thaw
ngailo ding”
a ni tiin ami’n fuia. Vawisun chena ka
rawngbawlna mi thuoitu a nih. 5. Thil iengkima puitlingna ding chun
Pathien hmangaina nei hi atul tak a
nih. Isu’n thupek lai po poa ropuitak chu
“Lalpa Pathien chu Lalpa pakhat
chau a nih, ama chau i lungvar po poin, i
thlarau po poin, i lungril po poin, i hratna po poin i hmangai ding a
ni. Adawttu chu nang in hmangai
angin i venghai khawm i hmangai ding
a nih” (Mark 12:29-31) a tia. Paula
khawmin inhmangaituona ngawt naw
chu tu iengkhawm bat naw ro; mani mihriempui hmangaitu chun dan chu a
zawm famkim ta sih a. Hieng “Uire naw,
tuol that naw, inru naw, inhnar naw”, ti
le thupek danghai hrim hrim hi,
“Nangma in hmangai angin i venghai i
hmangai ding a nih ti hin a khai khawm vawng a nih. Hmangaina in venghai a
suk khawhlo ngai nawha, chuleichun
hmangaina hi dan hraw famkimna a
nih” a lo ti bawk. Chuleichun mi’n lungril po po a
Pathien a hmangai tak phawt chun
Pathien thu inziekna Bible in thaw lo
dinga a khaphai po po le thaw dinga a
phut hai po po chu hadam takin a
zawm el thei hlak a nih. Chuong ang taka ei
hringnun hin puitlinna ei nei theina
dingin a thu ei hang hril hai chu
Lalpa’n mal mi sawm pek raw seh.

SEPTEMBER 13:THE BLACKEST DAY By:Donn Morgan Kipgen

In every armed conflict innocent civillians
are always the worst casualties as much
as truth and human rights are.
Defenseless civilians have to bear the
brunt of deadly forces unleashed by
armed elements. This is exactly what had happened to innocent Kuki villagers
during the bloody Kuki-Naga war
(1992-95) which started as a result of the
gruesome ethnic cleansing operations carried out by the NSCN (IM) and the
Naga Limguard. Of course, Nagas were
also killed by the provisional Kuki militia
in retaliatory strikes. From May 1992 to
November 1995, more than 575 innocent
Kuki civilians were shot or hacked to death by Naga militants in Manipur
alone, whereas about 121 Kukis were
liquidated in Nagaland, without counting
the heads (non pun intended) of missing
persons. Altogether 230 Kuki hamlets
and villages were burnt down and scores of Kuki villages were deserted out of
sheer terror, taking the number of Kuki
refugees to over 50,000. It was during
this period that compassion, honor,
human rights and the teachings of
Christianity took the backstage and the finer points of psycho-terror and
unbridled brutalities ruled the roast.
Unfortunately, the details of these tales
of death and destruction were eagerly
followed with much relish by some
sections of the society. Never had a human life been so cheap and so
inconsequential as it was then. Kukis
paying homage to Sept. 13, 1993
martyrs. One of the saddest facts was
that most of the victims who had already
been unlucky in life could not be given proper burial ceremonies. Amidst those
sordid tales of horror and gory incidents
there stood out one most gruesome massacre which
makes the other bloody incidents like a
‘Humpty Dumpty’s story. On 13th Sept,
1993, in one of the worst genocides in
the history of modern India, innocent
Kukis, including one woman, of Joupi Village (Tamenglong dist) were
butchered or hacked to death at a spot
not far from Tamei police station by the
NSCN (IM) backed Naga Limguardsmen.
To say that these 88 people were killed
would be an understatement. Not even a single victim was lucky enough to be
shot dead; all and every one of them had
their throats cut, tribal execution style.
To add to that most despicable act of
madness and primeval savagery, another
20 innocent Kukis were also exterminated in separate
‘incidents’ on that most tragically fateful
day of September 13, 1993, – 13 villagers
from Gelnel (Senapati district), 4 from Santing (Senapati district) and 3 from
Nungthut (Tamenglong district), pushing
the day’s heads’ count to 108 victims.
The sheer magnitude of these well-
planned and methodic savageries
shocked the whole country and the news hit news agencies and other wire-
services all around the world. The BBC World reported them
as ethnic cleansing by Naga separatists’,
the CNN called the Joupi Massacre as
‘genocide’ and the other world media
called it as ‘bloody ethnic cleansing’. That particular
day, i.e. 13th September, 1993, will be
live in infamy forever, as much as the 9/11 shall
be. In all fitness of things, the 13th September is observed as a ‘Black Day’ by
the Kukis in remembrance of those 700 most unfortunate victims who had no
business to die at all in the first place. The Black Day is not about angry protest; it is
all about honoring the memory of those innocent Kukis who had perished so
cruelly. Not to honor and remember
those due to reconciliatory politics would be a great
injustice. The cold-blooded massacre of
88 villagers of Joupi and Zanglenphai deserves to be
told. It was a tale of horror, deception
and sheer hatred. Joupi village had around 70
houses whereas the neighboring
Zanglenphai had 18 houses and had
shared one Kuki Baptist Convention
church in Joupi. On the 5th September,
1993, 40 armed NSCN (IM) cadres, including 7 females, swooped down
upon Joupi village. They herded all the men folk into the
village community hall and detained the
women and children inside the church (how
many times do we hear about SF
personnel desecrating the sanctity of the church? It
should also be noted that 5 Haipi
villagers were shot death inside the church during
the New Year’s night service on 1/1/95
by Naga militants). After locking up all
the Joupi villagers, the NSCN (IM) cadres
went on rampage, entering each and
every house and destroying all boxes, almirahs, and tools like knives, machetes,
swords, spades, axes, etc… Thereafter,
they slaughtered livestock like pigs,
chicken and merrily feasted till late
evening. As they left Joupi just before
night, the Naga militants forcibly took along the village chief Lenkhopai Haokip
‘to drop them off’ as a dutiful host, only
to bury him dead along Barak riverbank
about 2 km away from the village. Five
days later, on September 10, the NSCN
(IM) served a ‘quit notice’ to Joupi- Zanglenphai villagers ordering them to
leave/vacate on or before September 15.
As a matter of necessity, one Semkholam
Hangshing was elected as an acting-chief
and they held a fare-well feast and paid
homage to the departed soul of their deceased chief on September 11. The
next morning they held their last
communion and prayer service in the
church. Thereafter, under the supervision
of their new chief, all men, women and
children of Joupi-Zanglenphai villages tearfully left their earthly homes en mass
on the September 12, taking among their modest
belongings, livestock and other necessary
items. It must have been a very moving
scene. These hapless villagers wearily
trudged along thinking they were
already out of harm’s way; little did they know that they, especially the men folk,
had an appointment with destiny not so far ahead.
Unbeknownst to them, their fate had
already been decided. The weary
villagers managed to reach Bolkot area,
about 28 km from Joupi and about 2 km
from Tamei, by late afternoon. The horror story started there and then, the
September 15 ‘deadline’ was not to be
honored by the NSCN (IM) and the Naga
Limguardsmen. There at Bolkot, all the
men were separated from women and
all their belongings and properties were ransacked, looted or destroyed. The
inhuman torturing started amidst the
wailing and crying. Realizing their
intention, the younger brother of the
deceased chief shouted, ‘Let’s all run! It’s
every man for himself!’ However new chief of Joupi shot down that proposal,
saying that if the men folk ran away
then all women and infant would be
butchered as a punishment and that it
was the duty of the headman and village
elders to die first if needed. All the villagers were marched into Tamei just
before nightfall and closed the gate. The
Naga militants hid the women and
infants in a secluded area while all the
men had their hands tied behind their
backs. According to eyewitnesses account and 5 survivors, they were
marched towards the outskirts of Tamei,
actually a stone’s throw away from
Tamei Police station, and the hacking of
necks started from the night itself. As a
true Christian, the Naga militants asked them to say their last prayers. Butchering
of fellow human beings is actually not a
regular part of Christian tradition, less so
against fellow Christians. Those of Kuki
villagers who lagged behind were duly
‘welcomed’ on September 13 and were given the same treatment-all the men
folk were beheaded. In all 87 innocent
Joupi-Zanglenphai villagers were
mercilessly laid low without any fault of
their own. One housewife was among
the victims because she stoutly refused to leave behind her husband and son-
what a dedication! As in all massacres,
there were 5 known survivors. One
Haosem Doungel was hacked at the back
of the neck and thrown into a river; he
survived. Three others managed to escape with serious injuries. One Kuki
policeman posted at the Tamei police
station had to be hidden by his
colleagues by locking him inside a cell for
his safety in case the Naga militants
came in for ‘inspection’. Most of the 700 plus innocent Kuki villagers who
perished during that ethnic cleansing
were murdered in the same manner. It is
most unfortunate that most of these
victim’s families have never been given
ex-gratia payment by the Govt. It is a shame that so far no one has ever been
charged or indicted by the not-so-long
arm of the law. Instead of booking the
person for crime against humanity, the
NSCN (IM) is now being dated and
pampered by the Govt of India. If Slobodon Milosevic, Ratko Mladic and
Radovon Karadzic could be booked for
crime against humanity, why not the
persons responsible for the Kuki
massacre? Are not the Kukis human
being? But then, it is not the Govt, the police or the Court who can give real
justice, it is only the Almighty God who
can give real and fitting justice in every
sense of the word. And it is not for us
mere mortal beings to judge the wrong
doings of other persons; it is the divine duty of the God to pass the judgment
over the crimes of this great magnitude
in his soul of these unfortunate victims
rest in peace.

Good Romance For Gaga?

Is Lady Gaga taking the romance with
her “You and I” video star off-screen? According to People, the singer and
“The Vampire Diaries” star Taylor
Kinney – who also plays her love
interest in her latest video – are
“hooking up.” A mag source said Gaga, 25, and the CW
star, 30, first met in July while shooting
the video. The duo was reportedly spotted in
Mission Viejo, Calif., last weekend and
another source close to the music
superstar confirmed to People that they
were indeed “hanging out” over Labor
Day weekend. A Radar Online source said the pair
were spending time together, saying,
“It was just casual at first, but things are
getting pretty hot and heavy.” The singer was last linked to Luc Carl,
who she has dated on and off for the
last few years. Gaga reportedly wrote
“You and I” about getting back
together with Luc.

Encouragement for tho who struggle. By:N Sanate Hmar

Struggle 16 Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! 18 Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. – Psalm 25:16-18 All my life, I’ve known struggle. Oh, I’ve not had the hardest life by any stretch, and I know there are plenty of people in this world who have suffered much worse than I have in my 39 years of existence. Yet, the thing about this human experience is that it is subjective, and that in turn makes each person’s struggle relative to their own experience. As a young man in nursing school, we were taught that we should never assume to know the severity of another person’s pain. I’ve since taken that admonishment to heart as a reminder that every person’s struggle is unique, so I try to have compassion for others and the struggles they go through, no matter how they seemingly compare to my own. Most recently, I’ve had the humbling and at times humiliating experience of being brought low by a chronic illness. I now intimately understand why my nursing instructors were so adamant about having compassion for those in pain. There’s really no way to relate to another human what it is like to live every moment of every day in some sort of chronic pain. And, while it is possible to paint on a brave face most days, inevitably there will come those times when you are broken and beaten down, and must impose upon the patience of those around you to grant you a little grace while you recede into yourself until you can keep it together again. When you’re going through something like this, where every day is a continual struggle to make it through the next hour, the next minute, the next few seconds; in these times, it is inevitable that you will begin to question the point of it all. “Why God? Why me? Why here? Why now? Why this thing that you’ve cast upon me?” You pray for relief, you look for a sign, you ask for a healing miracle… And the days go by, and weeks, and months, then years – and you begin to doubt your faith. Moreover, you begin to despair. You doubt there’s ever going to be any positive resolution to your condition, add it all seems so pointless to have to suffer day in and day out in such a meaningless way. And you ask yourself, “Where is God in all of this?” Your heart breaks, and God’s comfort and love seem so, so far away that you feel as though they never really existed in your life at all. At least, that’s how I have felt, many, many times over these last few years. Right now, I’m reading Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. Since I read Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality a few years ago, I’ve been a fan of Don’s work, and in this most recent book he returns to true form, sharing simple and provoking insights about living a Christian walk in the middle of this mess, this constant and unrelenting state of brokenness that is our human condition. The entire book is a sort of self- deprecating essay examining the art of creating fiction as a metaphor for the greater undertaking of writing the story of our own lives. In yet a broader application of the same metaphor, Donald relates how he has observed that we are constantly trying to live comfortable, unremarkable, and utterly meaningless stories, and how God is continually whispering a greater, grander, more beautiful and endearing story to our hearts and souls. If we would only listen, we’d hear the story written for us by the greatest Author ever known; a story written just for us, an epic that allows us to play the great role we were intended for since time began. At some point early on in the book, Donald attends an intense three-day seminar on story creation given by Robert McKee, who turns out to be a somewhat curmudgeonly yet entirely earnest and brilliant teacher on the topic. McKee tells his students, “You put your characters through hell. You put them through hell. That’s the only way we change.” Over the course of the book, Miller comes to realize the truth of what our flesh and spirit struggle with; that is, we are by our nature in the flesh complacent, lazy, and drawn toward familiar comforts. We utterly fear and despise change, never mind discomfort or pain. It is only through the shock of intense and often painful experience that we become who and what we are meant to be. As I started writing this, I was listening to my infant son crying at the top of his lungs, because I’d put him down for his afternoon nap and he wanted to sit in daddy’s lap instead. What his five-month-old mind does not realize and cannot comprehend is that he needs something that he doesn’t want at this time. It’s more fun to be up with daddy, gumming his toys, listening to classical music and hearing the “tap-tap-tap” of the laptop keys across the room. But his daddy knows when it’s best to make him lay down, make him be still, and get him to switch gears for a while. He doesn’t like it at the time, but later he’ll be fine with it after he realizes the actual benefits of his nap. I believe in many ways we are much like infants to our heavenly Father. Our cries must be like infant cries to Him, breaking His heart just as it breaks my heart each time I hear my son cry. Yet, our God wants us to live a better story, the one He has written for us. In this regard, He also knows that sometimes we must be allowed to experience a little suffering in order for us to change. If you are suffering right now and at the end of your rope, I know this may be of little comfort to you. I can tell you in my own experience that there is nothing more trite than being told in the midst of intense sorrow and pain that “it’s all for the best”. That feels like a slap in the face in the midst of your trial, and I know it is absolutely no comfort at all. So, the best thing I can do for you (and often it’s the only really helpful thing any of us can do for a friend who is suffering besides just being there for them) is to pray what Peter prayed for some two millenia ago: “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” – 1 Peter 5:10 (emphasis mine)