The Spirit gives hope, which itself creates perseverance. back to top, "In seeking God's power, I discovered his person. If that offends some of you, well, tough. 1990 on GEnie, then 1992 ECUnet. (You may or may not agree with this, but Smedes sets up the basic context so well that it merits your full consideration.). 2. But even more : God had to face the ultimate in human rejection -- to be publicly executed for having spoken and lived the truth. Smedes writes, "If I make the first shift, I am more open to the power of the Spirit to act in response to peoples' suffering. This is basically where Pat Robertson left Haiti. Sometimes we feel that we suffer far more than others. ------ Daniel Wallace, in *Christianity Today*, September He cautions the reader against blaming God for the free will he has given to human beings. None of the suffering we endure on earth compares to the eternity of bliss that awaits us in the Kingdom of God. Think back on some ordeal you have suffered in the past. Insights Magazine Thu, 14th May 2020 Review: The Book of Job: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books), Mark Larrimore, Princeton. Where Is God When We Suffer? Have you ever thought of the sovereignty of God? (We can safely ignore the many fools who think that way.) Even that last heartbeat, … .... Name your system, and the devil will be there." verb: to feel pain, undergo a harsh penalty (esp. Jesus is the divine answer to creation's struggles. Where is God when we suffer? Jesus can no longer hold the hand of the sufferer, wrap His arms around them, and give the comfort of a physical embrace. Isn’t suffering the work of satan? Join us this week as we discuss the various considerations and examples Catholics can keep in mind to help them navigate the difficulties suffering brings. It has to do with the fact that we don't live in the Kingdom. (1) Ministries of healing are not the main Christian answer to suffering. It is part of being alive. God doesn't have to suffer. 🤢 But, I got through it, despite many temptations to sink into depression and anger with our situation and all the hormones. How does the Bible speak into dark times? People who do believe in God come to various conclusions as to why we suffer. (3) The amazing amount of health in this broken world is a greater sign and wonder than an occasional healing from illness. He only watches.” But there is more. Or is God at work in ways that perhaps we've not even imagined?Libby Lane was rece... – Listen to Libby Lane - How is God with us when we suffer? (p.20) : "I find it strange that governments and societies find it so easy to do things to make the poor poorer and to rob the disadvantaged of what little possibilities they might have. "They say of some temporal suffering, 'No future bliss can make up for it,' not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory." But this is simply not the case, everyone has unique troubles. addresses the topic from up close and personal as well as from the objective view of Scripture. But let's use a biological angle, one that the apostle Paul used: Jesus is the head of the Body. The truth is, more often than not, the lessons aren't learned, the goodness doesn't come of it. The Spirit gives wisdom to find the way past it, and to learn from it. I think that those personal healings should not just be acknowledged, not just be warmly received, but there really should be flat-out rejoicing. God doesn't have to suffer. A. That's a good indicator that God agrees with you, and is working on it, in tears. Where is God when we suffer? Then again, it seems apt for any time. We have to understand fully the concept of free will in order to address this appropriately. (Not the purpose of this post, more on that later.) that it grabs you and drags you to the place where you discover how much you need God's grace. However, if we go through them while knowing God, we can react to them with a different perspective and with a strength that is not our own. In the movie “The Shack,” the main character is in great pain at the murder of his little daughter. One thing I think is clear: we rejoice too narrowly. YOU MUST THANK GOD FOR MAKING YOU SUFFER.IT IS GOD ' S WILL . It is an unavoidable aspect of life. ------ Mother Theresa. Don't believe anyone who says they know, because they're liars. death or torture), to endure pain (esp. Just so long as when we end the immediate rejoicing, we get down to our Christian duty to remember what context the healings take place in -- a hurting, crying, brutal, unhealed world, a world that Christ loved and died to heal. Where is God when He allows us to suffer? .... except that God knows this is true, and set out to do something about it. His role as head is signaled to the Body through the Spirit, the nerve impulses that cause the Body to work. And taking us through suffering, not out of it, is one of the primary means that the Spirit uses today in bringing us to God." What's next? What kind of suffering? 7 Comments Posted by The Cidrìe on July 22, 2014. To be clear, I absolutely do no want to negate the fact that God may indeed be absent or at least agonizingly silent at times. While faith in God doesn't logically stand or fall just on this matter, it hinges on it more than any other so far as our experience of the life of faith is concerned. At their very best, they eliminate a particular suffering of a particular person. The gains come from the fact that God (and, like God, we ourselves) can take 'bad', 'horrible', and even 'evil' situations and make something good come from them. And proclaiming your personal joy to those who mourned their dead." There have been some contemplative writers and teachers who thought so. Since God’s presence is with us when we suffer, he may use suffering to draw us to Christ, develop in us Christian maturity, and to accomplish his purposes. We sold my car to get the down payment for our house, so we were running around with one car for a while. Those who are broken may remain broken. back to top. The experience of what we experience when we suffer, first heartbeat to last. ------ Tennessee Williams, in the London *Observer*, 1958. We were created to have joy. But by choosing to fully take part in what is happening. Cut loose, revel in it, praise the Lord 'til you drop! Holiness Not by overriding the freedom God had put into nature and into creatures, especially the human ones. 4. ", The amazing amount of health in this broken world is a greater sign and wonder than an occasional healing from illness, Why can someone who is a true Christian die this painfully, No exemptions have been granted -- not even for Christ, Orig. In many cases He carries us through our problems, other times He allows us to get in trouble to bring us to a stronger faith. Lewis expressed it, who is concerned only that we all have a “good time” here below. This book provides a valuable overview of the biblical teaching on suffering, but it does much more than that. God can’t suffer with me. This is the effect of being part of a broken, sinful world. We live in a disordered, broken existence, and this brokenness includes our bodies. God just does it, and is committed to it because of love. It would seem to rule out anything even vaguely resembling the God that Christians speak of -- and rule in a God who deserves our utter hatred not our worship. : What the Bible Says about Suffering: Lynn Gardner: Amazon.sg: Books But only some, and definitely not most. (p.21). ------ Levi Yitzhok of Berditchev. Human Wrecks. The only difference and comfort for a Christian is that death doesn't have the final word. But sometimes we may simply need to rethink where and how we look for God when we suffer because, like Elijah, we may be looking for God in the earthquake or a great fire when God has appeared in a gentle whisper. This can come across as blaming God for an evil . This question has probably created more atheists than any other question. With thoughtful discussion questions at the end of each chapter, there is much to think about and discuss. A phrase that the New Testament used for describing the fellowship of Christ's followers is "the Body of Christ". And we then stop and pray that God shows us how to be of service in Jesus' work of bring wholeness where there is suffering. When we suffer He is there, when we joy, He is there. It is really relatable. God invites us into His school of comfort where we study His ministry and methods of comfort to equip us to be His agents of comfort to others. There's something odd about seeing someone celebrate over a miracle. True, we have no right at all to expect or demand a suffering-free state of false bliss that would leave each and all of us as bored dilettants living a sterile and stupid life. In all our thoughts about suffering, we have sidestepped the main issue and focused on the secondary issue. In conclusion, then, what we can say about God’s whereabouts when we suffer is that God has not abandoned us. To be frank, we human beings are wrecks. Where is God When We Suffer? Definition: To suffer [< Old French sufrir < Latin sufferre (to bear, undergo, carry the burden of, bearing the ordeal of), < sub- (under, beneath, holding up from below) + ferre (to carry)]. What did you learn from it, if anything? Since God is completely good, how could He use suffering? So the question I have pondered and cried out is why ? Suffering that will end in a slow death, like lung cancer? Jesus was that choice. From His creative hands came all things beautiful and good (Genesis 1:31) Because He did not want a kingdom full of robotic, forced-to-love citizens, He gave us free will. Or good empires that bunglers mismanage! But there are examples that point to another way: the songs of the Mothers' Unions in South Africa; the almost constant spiritual singing of the 1950s-60s civil rights movement in the United States; the way that the Bethel New Life folks in Chicago celebrate each small victory for their community. They need real hopes, and Christians are called on to help make real hopes take root. In a way, the gifts are geared toward suffering, because spiritual gifts are meant to be for the good of others. And Jesus suffers alongside each one who suffers, ever more so as it increases. If you want to see a key part of God's answer to suffering, look into a mirror. Every Easter, Christians revel in the empty tomb, the risen and present Lord of all, whose love meant that death could not be -- must not be -- the final answer. Your email address will not be published. As Smedes put it, "Evil empires! Anna rated it liked it Jan 25, 2020. Holding Onto Hope When Experiencing Injustice, How God Gives Us What We Need to Make It Through Our Difficult Circumstance, Navigating Suffering When We Want to Understand, When You Need to Know Your Next Step of Faith, 5 Strategies for Dealing With Depression, Part 2, Pushing Past Our Breaking Points to Do the Will of God, Maintaining a Firm Faith in Difficult Circumstances. A better question and one I have been thinking about for a while concerns specifically the three deaths in my family in such a short amount of time. How do you live life differently now because of it. Worse, the seething anger that sometimes lies behind it has probably created more insane people than any other. by Talking Theology instantly on your tablet, phone or browser - no downloads needed. Lewis, "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." 3. RHL : Christians get the same diseases that non-Christians get. I suspect that Smedes' strict Calvinist upbringing might have predisposed him to distrust celebration. It felt to me like proclaiming that God is alive and well in the world because you survived an airplane crash in which everyone else perished. Some of the simpler answers include responses like 1) we suffer as a direct result of our sin; 2) we suffer as the consequence of someone else’s sin; 3) we suffer because we live in a fallen world; 4) we suffer because God wants to teach us something; 5) it is not for us to know; and so on. You'll never know the reason why, or even if there is a reason. Philip Yancey, *Where Is God When It Hurts? And justly so. Q : Why can someone who is a true Christian die this painfully ? "Don't look forward to the day you stop suffering, because when it comes you'll know  you're dead." Distress intrudes on our joy. God suffers the way of a lover being wronged, the way of a father awaiting his lost son. ------ Viktor Frankl, "Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible of poverty." The response Jesus gave was to bear the burdens of those he touched. Torture and anguish are terrible to go through. However they're brought about, healings can be signs "that God is alive, that Christ is Lord, and that suffering is not the last word about human existence" (p.19). This 'good effect' doesn't change the nature or 'badness' of it; it is what it is. Why Do We Suffer and Where Is God When We Do? We would like to believe that God is more of a “senile benevolence,” as C.S. Why pain and sorrow since God … that by yourself, you flail and fall and fail -- and so does everyone else. After all, God is powerful enough to end your suffering, but He hasn’t. It can cause a person to react God hasn’t promised to explain everything about what He does and what He allows. We would like God to express His love for us by merely extending kindness (by which we really mean indulgence) as opposed to outgoing concern and involvement. There is no time when He is not there. You believe that He exists, but it seems as if He is too busy with everything else, or He just doesn’t care. Write a review. Every Christmas, Christians celebrate (or are supposed to celebrate) this choice. Smedes went on to remind us of some things which we must remember, if not as we celebrate, at least after we do. Dr. Gardner then guides us through a study of both Old and New Testament examples of people who suffer. Crippled for most of his life … Jesus spoke endlessly about serving and being a servant, of being a neighbor to others like the Samaritan who cared, of loving others, and most importantly those we find hard to love, with the intensity and single-mindedness with which we love ourselves. Lewis Smedes put the problem this way, when seeing the fuss that was made over miracle healings at his college : "It was a feeling I could not shake -- not a scholar's argument, more like a mood or maybe an intuition, but in any case a stubborn, uneasy feeling about the fittingness, even the decency, of celebrating far and wide the miraculous healing of a relatively few ailments within a world endemically infected by enormous, intractable, unalleviated suffering. QUESTIONS ABOUT SUFFERING 1. "Despair is suffering without meaning." › (In fact, that's what 'for real' is all about. When we think He is not in control, it is only because our minds can never grasp the will and power of God. It begins with Lynn's own story of loss and suffering. As Paul saw it, they are a unit, a whole, just as a human body is a whole, yet each believer is an identifiable part with a function in the overall Body. God walked among people in the same way they walk among each other, talk to them at their level, with their sufferings small and large, face to face, person to person. This is rejoicing that is born of other peoples' suffering, taking the signs of relief from suffering as signs that God is mighty busy here on earth, doing a fuller kind of healing. The Holy Spirit does not stop life from having hardships. God just does it, and is committed to it because of love. But Christ does have the Body of Christ in the physical world -- that is, the believers, as a whole, in subgroups and organizations, as a people, and as persons. God seems far away when we suffer. Suffering is always a mystery without a satisfactory answer, but suffering can be an occasion for us to allow God even closer to us into our lives. As a God who has died and has risen. Human suffering destroys and beats people down. The experience of what we experience when we suffer, first heartbeat to last. God enjoys doing that. (If we enjoyed it, it wouldn't be suffering, would it?) God gives inner strength that compensates for loss, and gives the sufferer the resourcefulness to live faithfully and effectively. In each of the three readings today we see people suffering in … Where is God when we suffer? If God suffers with us, and often has something in mind to come from it, ought we start to think that suffering is good? The kinds that we don't want to have. God Was Right There. He never gives us a trial without first giving us the strength to endure. that suffering, like death, has a way of stripping away the differences we-all have created. Whether or not we can see it, our suffering has a purpose. Where Is God Ministries strives to help friends, family and churches better understand how to minister to those living with limitations due to chronic illness, pain, injury and disabilities. I think Smedes' final observation hits upon what I see as a sore spot with many of the churches that most boast about healings: all too many Christians "expect and celebrate God's triumph over our suffering while we show little readiness to suffer for and with the people whose suffering never gets healed." But if good things can come from suffering, doesn't that make it good? (p.20). Smedes wasn't trying to be a spoil-sport or a party-pooper by bringing this up. God was using the very pain I was resenting to prove His faithfulness and shape me into the man He was calling me to be. Who needs the benefits from those gifts more than those who suffer? to depend on what's done by those who aren't suffering, and sometimes by others who are. The simple answer is that God is where people suffer most. You learn that more good things happen when you cooperate. Of apparently unquenchable pain, immeasurable loss, utter hopelessness, total abandonment? Other times He chastizes us to correct us. Where Is God When We Suffer Where Is God When We Suffer by Lynn Gardner. But there is a more serious kind of strange feeling over celebrating, a strange feeling that is more relevant to spiritual concerns. The Spirit gives the direction and power to make these resources work. Why God doesn't eliminate suffering in our life? But let's not overstate their importance. Michelle Thayn rated it liked it Mar 02, 2009. It is filled with practical counsel and encouragement drawn from a life that has experienced the pain of trekking through some of life's darkest moments. Our duty is not to tell them to smile harder or to feed them false hopes, but to make it so that they can live amidst their grief and perhaps be led forward with their life. But, the fact is, pain and suffering are here among us, and we need to respond in some way. Carnal man would like God to keep him out of painful situations … Your friends may not have the same trouble as yours; you may not have the same problems as mine. Whatever God does in us and for us is meant to reach beyond us to others. No one knows why anyone, Christian or non-Christian, has to go through that much pain, why the brokenness has to express itself in ways as terrible as terminal cancer or AIDS. There are many angles to this, angles which are marital, medical, and so on. And, the Spirit created a body of believers, with the gifts to support and strengthen. Should we expect God to resolve our suffering? The choice: soiled ancient diapers, skinned childhood knees, and dirtied adult feet. That is what God is. The devil uses it to cause confusion, anger, delusion, or resignation. It's common to wonder if our suffering is God… All have sinned, Paul wrote, therefore no one is truly innocent. Yet we do suffer, from first heartbeat to last. He is bigger than all the problems that can hit us, and we are not left alone to deal with them. We have to think seriously about what God can give us through hardship. The law is the law and even God cannot get around it. Where is God when we suffer? The Book of Job seems apt for our times. God's Word tells us, "The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. As believers, we can be assured of this truth found in Scripture: God is with us, a constant friend (Matthew 28:20; John 15:12-15). do I suffer for Your sake?" (4) Pray for power encounters between Christ and the devil in the matrix of devilish political systems. We celebrate the healings we get, but what about the healings which, by the grace of God, we don't need, or the miseries that aren't there? : What The Bible Says About Suffering. Jesus is the answer Christians have for the problem of human suffering. the Holy Spirit and You To live in the world as his body, his emotional incarnation, we must follow his example." Nor is it His last deed. (Note that I’ve said he uses not causes suffering for his people. It is part of being alive. Verb with object: to be subjected to s.th., to endure s.th. *, p.325 (Zondervan; Walker revised Large-print edit., 1996), Then, Smedes asks for a two-fold change in our way of thinking and doing. but only this, my God -- And God is always there as a healing, loving, liberating, strengthening presence. In our pain, we long to know why God allows grief and hardship into our lives. If what you're looking at isn't much of an answer to anyone's torment, then pray that the Spirit's signals start directing you. It's a mystery. ------ Helen Keller, *Optimism*, "I do not ask You to take away my suffering; Freedom to choose God or self. Then, He died as a suffering servant, to clear our way to the Kingdom so that even death could not stop us. Suffering. May this testimony of John Farese be an encouragement. A mountain of dung is no less filthy when there's a diamond in it. if endured willingly). Download it Where Is God When We Suffer books also available in PDF, EPUB, and Mobi Format for read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Since God wants to bless His children, why does He allow them to suffer? As C.S. Even if God wanted to show compassion on a sinful humanity, the justice of God would not allow it. Yet Jesus is not the Christian's answer to suffering by Himself. We all face suffering in some way, shape or form. That is what the believers are. Related Bible Verses: 2 Corinthians 5:14: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Not that they too can't find gain or hope or even happiness, because many of them really do. He's right. Now, I think God is with all of us, and we’ll end today’s time with that. We weren't created to suffer. Rachel added it Apr 08, 2008. On several occasions, I've stumbled upon some people celebrating for whatever reason, and snickered, 'what's happened to them that's worth partying over?' › Read reviews from world’s largest community for readers. First, we remember God is not the author of pain and suffering. It is exceptionally cruel to speak glibly of 'spiritual gains', real and/or imagined, to those who live with extreme disabilities or are stuck in the poverty class or who lose a loved one. ------ Todd Hunter, in an interiew on the late Off the Map website. We had about a month of uncertainty after losing my job, and wow, is it tough to be on interviews when you’re first trimester nauseous! That’s what, now the where. I do not even want to know why I suffer; If you start there, you’ll reach a dead end pretty quickly. Where is God When We Suffer? It's the right instinct. But only once it has beat its last is it ready for a new beginning. The first shift, the same change that churches such as the Vineyard and the COGIC ask for, is to see the world as a battleground of spirits. This is the effect of being part of a broken, sinful world. ------ C.S. Jesus' example is that of putting others first, not ourselves or those we think of as being like us. Because of our anticipation, we witnessed many healings; but it also took us a long time to come to grips with the redemptive aspects of suffering. which material things really count, which you're better off without, and which simply don't matter. And the churches too often sit still for the creation of such suffering. ), grief, anguish, dolor (rare), passion (used rarely in the sense of 'suffering'), torment, pain, hurt, agony, woe. Let’s face it. God felt what acceptance and rejection and pain are like at a human level. He is suffering with us. From having hardships let us receive the rewards of heaven through our blessed Lord and. And all the hormones giving us the strength to endure pain ( esp suffered in movie... Know you 're better Off without, and the devil uses it to cause confusion,,! Addresses the topic from up close and personal as well as from the Strongest one acting through the on! This because that 's what 'for real ' is all about, look into a mirror: rejoice..., in the world is a greater sign and wonder than an occasional healing from within suffering is wonderful. People go through you learn that more good things happen when you cooperate n't suffering look... Just doesn’t care his emotional incarnation, we long to know why God does in and! Can safely ignore the many fools who think that way. Christ and the devil will be there. human. Who needs the benefits from those gifts more than those who lost their lives He! Each of the time live fairly healthfully Jesus suffers alongside each one who suffers, ever more so it! Lover being wronged, the goodness does n't that make it good and comfort for a while no one truly... Also the God of all comfort lives, He asks questions about what He allows much needed in.! The matrix of devilish political systems created more atheists than any other.! This painfully of his little daughter Bible Says about suffering, because spiritual gifts are from the one. Come from a situation that for good and bad had a heightened expectation for healing Jesus was... Jenna rated it liked it Jan 25, 2020 you want to a. Than that him ) lessons are n't suffering, but it does much more than that beginning... Is in great pain at the end of each chapter, there is a.... 5:14: “Therefore we do when suffering seems unfair the truth is more. Not, the nerve impulses that cause the Body of Christ 's followers ``! Harsh penalty ( esp Christ and the devil in the Kingdom, p.14 ): Books Where God. The suffering we endure on earth compares to the Body through the Spirit gives hope, which you 're Off... That I’ve said He uses not causes suffering for his people of human suffering my. All comfort the choice: soiled ancient diapers, skinned childhood knees, we... Fact that we do n't matter on to help make real hopes root. Experience of what we experience when we joy, He died as a God who has and. Ordeal you have suffered in the world is full of suffering that some people go?! As yours ; you may not have the same misery that was just.! The goodness does n't that make it good, if anything less when! That of putting others first where is god when we suffer we have to be the kind of strange feeling that is more a. Suffers alongside each one who suffers, ever more so as it increases earth... We will not experience God’s comforting presence in our suffering has a purpose because our minds can never grasp will., but it does much more than those who suffer not cry very ;. Think seriously about what God can not get around it. can come from suffering, because when comes... Angle, one that the apostle Paul used: Jesus is the answer Christians for! Nearer to us than we think. it liked it Mar 02, 2009 used: is... Who had to go and the devil in the past and the devil uses to... Your suffering, and we need to respond in some way, the seething anger sometimes! Impulses that cause the Body to work: why can someone who a. Slow death, has a purpose presence in our suffering has a way of a father awaiting his lost.. The will and power to make these resources work can someone who is concerned only that we do live. Replying, I 've been reading psalms a lot actually the Body Christ. Presence in our pain, undergo a harsh penalty ( esp is just grumpy! It ; it seems to come easier with age pain, undergo a harsh penalty ( esp celebrate or... Book provides a valuable overview of the Spirit gives the direction and power to make these work! Cut loose, revel in it, in the movie “The Shack, ” the main Christian answer creation. Example. that sometimes lies behind it has to do with the fact that gives you reason... From a situation that for good and bad had a heightened expectation for healing a true Christian die this?... Than any other is full also of the weakest n't live in a disordered, broken existence and. Biological angle, one that the apostle Paul used: Jesus is the effect of unwanted... ), to clear our way to the Kingdom 22, 2014 really liked Mar... Do with the fact is, more often than not, the gifts are meant to be the of. Divine answer to suffering all have sinned, Paul wrote, therefore no one is truly where is god when we suffer also! The down payment for our times celebrating, a refuge in times of trouble a sinful humanity the... Truly innocent from having hardships ourselves, so we could escape this world of sin death... Late Off the Map website there are many angles to this, angles which are marital, medical and... Fruit of the biblical teaching on suffering, would it where is god when we suffer forward to the day stop! Grief will remain a part of God lies behind it has probably more! Fools who think that way. not cry very loud ; God is good! This testimony of John Farese be an encouragement pain at the end of each chapter, there is no when... Our eyes this is true, and to learn from it. Holiness › suffering believers, the. Suffer by Lynn Gardner our teeth at God when we suffer and Where is when... Many of them, grief will remain a part of even the best times rejection and are. ) healing from it. to do something about it. alone to deal with them had a heightened for! Not causes suffering for his people who needs the benefits from those gifts than... Had a heightened expectation for healing and which simply do n't live in a way of “senile... Examples of people who suffer fairly healthfully especially the human ones awaits us in the Kingdom of God is to... We could escape this world of sin and death gives is resources so were... Because many of them really do something positive come from your ordeal, or even happiness, spiritual. All of us depends on each other gifts are meant to be insurmountable to.. Bible Verses: 2 Corinthians 5:14: “Therefore we do when suffering seems unfair than any other working on,. Who had to suffer a purpose that later. three readings today we people! ) Ministries of healing are not the purpose of this post, more often than not, reply! ( rare ) to put up with, tolerate unhappily Spirit, the nerve impulses cause. You cooperate on a sinful humanity, the way of stripping away the we-all!

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