After weeks of late nights and little sleep, things get to be normal for a while. I was in a play that had its final performance last night. I had fun and was happy with how it turned out, and, bonus, it didn't actually kill me. (Sort of. I died in the play twice.)
For the last two weeks, I'd been averaging about five hours of sleep or less per night, largely because of rehearsals. This meant homework often got to pushed to 1:30 or 2 in the morning, and then I would wake up at seven and go to class. I understand some people have it worse, but for me, it was plenty bad enough.
One night last week, I went to bed past three, skipped my 8 a.m. for the first time so I could get some sleep, and woke up at 8:15 to write a paper for my 9 o'clock Bible class. It was about the argument of 1 Peter. I wrote that the main point was comfort in suffering -- Christ suffered, so sufferers are following in his footsteps. We should rejoice; greater things lie ahead of us.
As my Bible professor had us start discussing 1 Peter, I had an epiphany. What I had written about actually applied to my situation. No, I wasn't being persecuted, but surely Jesus had been tired and stressed out in his ministry on the earth. I could choose to rejoice, just as Peter was urging his readers. This idea pleased my overtaxed brain, and I was happy. I even wrote it down as a little life lesson. It was like a devotional, perfect, applicable, a real-life example.
Then my professor showed us a clip from a movie about Peter's inverted crucifixion, and also one about Christian children being fed to dogs in the Roman arena.
Yes, we can choose to rejoice in suffering. But for some people, it's a lot harder than others. I should have rejoiced because my sufferings were small. For others, having joy means defying every circumstance of their lives, because the only joy they have is in Christ.
I learned two lessons in class that day. One was indeed about comfort in sufferings. The other was this: don't take yourself too seriously.