Experiencing Life or Death in Our Suffering
Has your heart ever been shattered? Maybe it was a broken relationship, a wayward child, or a devastating diagnosis that crushed your soul; whatever it was, suffering can have serious long-term effects on the heart. It’s like someone’s taken a sledgehammer to your soul, leaving you feeling more dead than alive — and sometimes not noticing the difference.
Death can mean:
- We stop caring
- We shut down emotionally
- We isolate
- We become cynical or sarcastic
Every once and a while something may happen to stir us, reminding us of the distant passions we’ve boxed up and put on the shelf in the name of broken dreams. But for the most part, we live flat, never taking risks and never stepping outside the box.
Asking Why? or What?
Then there’s God. He usually gets a bad rap for our suffering. He gets blamed when we can’t answer the “why” questions. But maybe it’s not why we should be asking — maybe it’s what.
I feel like I’ve had a fair amount of suffering, but in the process I discovered a couple key things that turned things around for me. The first is that if I keep focusing on the whys of my suffering, I’m fighting the wrong battle. Even though we all want to know why this or that happened — we may never, so what’s the point of wasting so much time and negative energy doing something that has no payoff?
Instead of staying stuck in the why, I decided to try something different — I started looking at what my suffering was accomplishing in me, and if I was willing to be personally responsive to how God was leading me in and through it. Here are some of the things I considered about suffering:
- It creates dependence
- It weans me from worldly things
- It makes me more other focused
- It reveals what I really love
- It reveals God’s glory
Last year I got a severe case of the flu. I suffered every bodily ache and pain imaginable for 2 weeks. I was so sick I couldn’t even get out of bed to get myself a necessary glass of water to break my raging fever. I was totally helpless. I had to depend on others to care for me, and in that dependence, I was blessed.
Perspective on Suffering
Suffering shifted my focus. I wasn’t all worked up about how I looked, that I hadn’t washed my hair, or that I’d get cellulite from not working out for 2 weeks! In my suffering I wasn’t focused on worldly things.
My suffering also got me thinking about how others suffer everyday. I thought of Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic for decades, and how she deals with her illness with such grace and courage. I felt grateful I hadn’t been called to suffer like that.
Perhaps the most important thing my suffering taught me was how much time I spend worrying about things that have little eternal significance. I realized that only one thing was necessary wherever I find myself — bringing glory to God. If I’m careful to look closely, I’ll find that even in the difficult places, I can experience life — I only have to choose.
Photo cc by Dan Goorevitch on Flickr.
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia CarterHello I'm New Here!!
- Octavia Carter just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost May Jesus Christ Be The Ultimate Treasure We Always Seek by Debbie Harris..
- Debbie Harris published the blogpost Father Who Can We Graciously And Humbly Walk Beside Today Just To Love by Debbie Harris.
- Bryce Johnson just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Bill Reichart published the blogpost 13 Resources For Ministry Leaders Who Struggle with Porn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Expert Reveals Biggest Concern About Youngsters And Social Media.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Half (54%) Of US Teens Think Life Would Be Better Without Social Media.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Roy Lichtenstein's Most Popular Painting is Displayed.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost After Confronting Campus Bully, HS Football Player Gets Suspended.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Conservative Student Is Victim Of ‘Racist Rape Apologist’ Attack Fliers.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Yik Yak app Putting Teens Behind Bars, Police Warn.
- Mike Liebler published the blogpost Hearing That Things Can Change Helps Teens Dodge Depression.
- Andrew Shivers just moved in. Take time to say hey.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost GIVEAWAY: Win a Framed “The Fault in Our Stars” FULL SIZE Movie Poster [Winner Chosen].
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost ‘Boxtrolls:’ Incredible Animation, Charmless Story.
- Jeffrey Totey published the blogpost Video of the Day: Dad Lip-Syncs Daughter's Tantrum.
- Michael Ernest published the blogpost SOTW: ‘Chasing After The Wind’ by Alan Powell (Free Friday Download).
- Matt Perman published the blogpost The Drive Video: If You Want Engagement, Self-Direction is Better.
- LuAnn Braley published the blogpost BOOK REVIEW/INTERVIEW: The Unexpected Earl by Philippa Jane Keyworth.
- Shane Blackshear published the blogpost Seminary Dropout 55: Gary Black Jr. – Co-author of The Divine Conspiracy Continued.
- Lori Fogleman published the blogpost ‘Believe Me': Alum’s thought-provoking film now in theaters.
- Michael Ramsey published the blogpost Stress Kills!!! Here's 3 Ways To Do Something About It.
- Larry Carter published the blogpost How The New Fall TV Season Reminds Me Of The Gospel.
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Suffering Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost Overcoming Depression-Anxiety: A Personal Responsibility Paradigm (Seminar Videos).
- Brad Hambrick published the blogpost 20 Approaches to Battling Depression-Anxiety as Suffering.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Hellion’ is A Wild, Family-Driven Ride Worth Taking.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ is Cool, Uncommitted.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost “Kidnapped for Christ” Review: The Terror of Teens.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Pieces Together a Winning Team.
- Ashley Howland published the blogpost Talking about cancer on WFAA’s ‘Two Chairs’ series.
- Daniel DeHart published the blogpost Get Excited: New ‘Believe Me’ Trailer Validates Everything We Thought.
- solomon david published the blogpost Micromax Canvas Nitro Launched for Rs 12,990 in India.
- solomon david published the blogpost 20 Mobile (iOS, Android) App & Web Prototyping Tools – Part2.