The Mystery of Suffering Part 1


“12 Invalid Ways to Respond to Suffering”

            As I write these words, my heart goes out to you who are currently suffering. My heart goes out to you who right now, at this very moment, are experiencing some situations that are ripping your hearts into pieces. I am not writing this article to argue with you or to question the reality of your emotions. On the other hand, you must understand that there is a biblical and non-biblical way of dealing with your pain. I assume that you know enough Bible to know that when we approach problems in a biblical way, even as the pain is not taken away, the end-results and the fruits produced is life in abundance. However, when we deal with things in a non-biblical and carnal way, the end-result is death. God does not justify our sin based on the magnitude of our suffering. With or without pain, His precious righteousness is unchanging. We must ascertain, before we continue, that suffering is not an option, it is a reality that everyone, will face sooner or later.

            Today’s days, it can become difficult for a Christian to understand the concept of suffering. In this way, the church is partially responsible. These new born Christians hear pastors speaking of the many blessing that they will receive; the financial freedom that they seek for but never seem to get. They wonder why their life has to be a living hell at times, as they wonder what they are doing wrong. It is almost like the pages dealing with suffering were taken away from the Bibles of many well-known TV personalities. However Romans 8:17 states:

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

 

Yes, we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, but there is catch. We must share in his suffering first. Sharing in the suffering of Christ is the key to sharing in His glory. The problem today is that we want the glory, the anointing and the charismatic gifts without the suffering!

            The word “Suffering” found in Romans 8:17 is defined as, “To suffer or feel pain together; To suffer evils (troubles, persecutions) in the like manner with another.” This definition gets my attention because it clearly indicates that no matter what we are going through, we are not the only ones going through it. On that note let’s go over a list of 12 erroneous ways to respond to suffering:

1. Constantly complaining to others about what you went through.

One of the fruit of the Spirit is “Patience.” Patience means, “To endure tribulations without complaint.” Complaining about what you went through will resolve absolutely nothing.

2. Blaming others for the suffering; that includes God.

It’s everybody’s fault but yours! Psalm 130:3 tells us, If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” Have you ever heard the expression, when we point at someone, there are three fingers pointing at us. When we get a revelation of how sinful we are, we will have no problems in looking at our afflictions with a whole different perspective. We will become responsible for our own actions.

 3. Developing a Victim mentality.

This mind-set totally denies God’s redemptive power. 2 Timothy 3:5 tells us that there is group of folk in the church that have a form of godliness, but they deny the power. He ends this verse by encouraging us to turn away from them. To deny God’s power is an insult to the Holy Spirit. We are called to be more than over comers, not victims.

4. Developing a sense of entitlement.

At this stage, people that have endured suffering and are responding to it in a non-biblical way; walk around as if everybody owes them something. They walk as if the suffering they endured is the price already paid for all of their wants. This is a total contradiction to Romans 6:23 that established what we really deserve.

5. Filling with rage and anger as the result of your suffering.

Rage and anger are always manifested behavior that results from an unresolved sin committed against you. Rage and anger is a clear indicator that there is a deep pain in your heart. Every time that you are placed in a situation or obligated into dealing with people that remind you of that hurt, you will retaliate in anger.

6. Non-forgiveness.

People with non-forgiving hearts are constantly bringing the hurt they suffered into a conversation. They use that transgression against them as a VIP pass to always bring up the past when their carnality is confronted. This is a total contradiction of Scripture. As we forgive we are encouraged to never bring that issue up and to seek reconciliation for that relationship. Non-forgiveness, no matter the offense you suffered, is a sin that will keep you bound up and non-productive in God’s kingdom.

7. Self-Centeredness.

Because of your great suffering, all you can focus on is “self” and what “self” wants. Everything becomes about you and your needs.

8. Insensitivity to the suffering of others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 makes a powerful statement that establishes how a non-biblical life means to focus on us so much that we become insensitive to the suffering and needs of others:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 

One of the most powerful reasons for suffering is indeed for us to be able to help others in their tribulation. Suffering is part of our training for ministering to the afflicted. You are so used to viewing yourself as a martyr that that you are un-able to see the pain of others.

 

9. A Judgmental Spirit.

So, what else is out there to do when you are hurting? You judge others, you tear them down. Judgmental people have no mercy and no compassion. This kind of attitude totally contradicts Matthew 12:7.

10 Mistrust; that includes God.

Because of all the hurt; it is very hard for people to trust again. That mistrust is against God, also. It is very difficult for people at this level to move with faith. Behind mistrust is a great deal of fear to be hurt again. Mistrust becomes a fragile shield.

11. A Negative Spirit.

It is very difficult for a person without faith to be positive. Usually people at this level are known for being very negative people.

12. Ineptness and/or unwillingness to see the work of the Holy Spirit in other people.

People at this level are in the business of tearing down. They are bitter and they can’t or won’t see the work of the Holy Spirit on anybody, especially the person that caused him/her pain.

 

6 thoughts on “The Mystery of Suffering Part 1

  1. Good post! God put within our bodies two healing processes; one healing the body; the other for healing the spirit — we call this second process grief. All emotions are good. They are all created by God. Some are more troublesome than others, but if we don’t express negative emotions, we won’t be able to express good ones.

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    1. This is the reason why denying SELF is an impossible thing to do without the Holy Spirit. Our emotions, our will, our desires and our feelings get on the way. Every time we are guided by SELF we are asking for trouble. We must point at God in all we do, in-spite of how we feel. We must do all things to glorify HIM, in-spite of what we want to do. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. When dealing with suffering or pain there is a tendecy to feel that we deserve to focus on SELF base on the challenges we endure; however, with or without pain, the rules are the same, we must focus on trusting God and on doing things His way! Help us Lord!

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      1. Yes! We must do it his way. The world tell us to bury our feelings; replace our losses; grieve alone. We then learn to let time heal; live with regret; never trust again. How does that sound? It sounds familiar. It’s been society’s approach for years. But Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Jesus is really telling us a new way for us to be able to handle our grief. When Jesus saw human suffering, he became emotionally engaged in it,

        When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and
        said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” {33} When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. {34} “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. {35} Jesus wept. {36} Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” (John 11:32-36)

        “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how
        often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” (Matthew 23:37)

        He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
        And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. {4} Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. {5} But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5).

        The Bible is clear. It is through mourning that we become like Jesus and start to identify with human suffering.

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  2. Pastor Tony Evans once said: “To be in the presence of GOD you don’t have to be holy but you must be broken”. Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart– These, God will not dispice. I know suffering. Do you? I know you do. I mean i know the kind of suffering that takes you into the very presence of God. Where there is almost no breath in you, where the only fisical thing you feel is hot tears rolling down your cheeks and pain that goes so deep within you all the way to your soul. A suffering that takes you to a place where you are surrounded by overwhelming emotions that you cannot control nor explain. and there, there is God. Standing Big and Migthy in front of you. Suffering is an allie not an enemy. Suffering is only a mistery for any of us who refuse to emphasy on its purpuse, rather that on its reason. When David suffered because of Saul’s nonesense persecution, he problaby was as hurt and confuse as any of us have been about this matter. Yet I think that David was probably sitting outside of his cave at 2:00AM in the morning when he wrote Psalm 63, and in this Psalm David spoke a word of revelation that we have yet to grasp and understand; vv.3 “Because your lovingkindness is better than life”. Get it? There is an illumination, and a presence and a manisfestation that is only found in the midts of suffering!…. Praise be the name of JESUS forever and ever! Its the wisdom of God who transform the darts of the enemy into blessings. Perhaps suffering is not a thing but place, a meeting place with the ALMIGHTY!!! No one like to suffer, no one likes pain but the truth is that suffering takes us to a place of brokenness and brokenness takes us to the presence of God and only in the presence of God we can experience spiritual growth and maturity. Once again someone said and I quote: That the true evidence of work of the HOLY SPIRIT in our lives, is manifested, not in our desire to serve Him; but in our willingness to die, to die to self. No wonder why we don’t like suffereing period! Dennis and Angel, please forgive me for my boldness in this matter. I ask with a sincere heart. I love you guys.

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    1. No need for forgiveness. You speak truth my brother Aren’t you glad that the Bible speaks to the problems that we encounter in the real world? Real faith is what empowers humans to live in the real world. Without faith, the world is just a series of random events without any connection. For some, the real world is what they can earn, what they can control by their own devices. For some, they will build their real world at the expense of others. Their real world is based on their own self-desires. For others, the real world in which they live is a series of downward spirals, where pain and suffering follow them at every level. Illness, dysfunction, brokenness are the biggest part of their lives, even if it is only a perception.

      Most of us go through life with our fingers crossed just hoping to miss the big one. We don’t have anything bad enough to complain about on a large scale, but neither are we really satisfied with our lives. Plus, we really can’t enjoy life because there is this looming feeling that at any moment the shoe might fall. We watch others go through pain and suffering and though they survive and sometimes even seem stronger, we have this deep suspicion that we might not do so well.

      In a real world, suffering is assumed. It is part of the human condition. As human beings made of flesh and blood and bone rather than rubber, steel, or plastic, our reasoning tells us that generally deaths are caused by: errors in human judgment or planning; diseases…and the unbending natural laws such as the force of gravity.

      Faith in Jesus Christ is a powerful part of the equation for living and what the Bible tells us about life seems to include pain and suffering. There are even accounts that show God using pain and suffering as a means to get our attention. Many of us have either gone through a therapy for cancer or someone close to us has. The most prevalent treatments for cancer are Chemo and Radiation Therapy. Both of them involve a process that is designed to kill the cancer cells that have come together and have formed a tumor and is attacking the living cells and eventually the organ in which it is growing. The therapy, however, has a downside. Not only does it kill the abnormal, life-threatening cancer cells, but it also kills healthy cells that are in proximity. Though this is an over simplification of the amazing way God works in the lives of His creations, I think the analogy has some credence. There are things that happen all around us that are painful, but quite often we can’t see the end result because the therapy is painful and even a bit destructive. Simply put, I believe that suffering is an ally of God’s love if it is medicinal, remedial, and necessary; that is, if we are very sick and desperately need a cure.
      Frankly, God is so Great, and I continually am amazed how He lets me even have a voice in the process. Through this we embrace the concept of Paul, the follower of Jesus. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

      We become angry during a crisis and reason that God could not possibly bring anything good out of this pain! We appeal for help from everyone around us when we have a need; then we explain: “I know God can provide for my needs, but I think I should do everything I can, just in case.” Such humanistic suffering has no value. When we become fixers, we lose! God calls this faithlessness. Faithlessness is sin.

      A real world view requires a painful presupposition. Tragedy hits all including the most faithful. The Christian world view is that all of creation has been affected by a cancer called sin. This is not individual sin, like the time you cheated on your algebra test, told a lie to your parents, cheated on your spouse, or embezzled company funds. This is the source, the prompting that exists in the human condition that causes individuals to sin.

      In Paul’s understanding of God and the need for a Savior, sin is not just on a personal level, but it has a cosmic effect. All Creation has been affected by sin. He describes it graphically as futile. Hurricanes happen, earthquakes and tsunamis are a possibility, people shouldn’t live below sea level and expect levees to protect them, trucks spin out of control, abnormal cells exist in our bodies and form tumors, aging causes tissues to break down, arteries clog, and some of the best tasting foods add to the clogging. We are not without hope! Paul proclaims that the work of God in Jesus Christ is to restore what was lost to creation.

      Paul describes the process actually on a parallel with birth pangs. We are wired to struggle with the problem of pain and suffering. We are pregnant with pain. The whole world at times cries out groans with birth pangs to see the day when God will rule and there will be no more suffering, no more pain! In the meantime, God is waiting to see our response!

      Living in the real world requires hope and perseverance, Pacheco. I sure do love and admire you. Pressing on and hanging tough.
      Dennis

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