Tag Archives: perspective on suffering

Suffering–Bad or Good?

You read the title and thought that’s a no-brainer, right?

This morning my devotional thought was “called to suffer,” (1Peter 2:21) And my instant reaction was yuck!

I think I understand a lot about suffering–the good, the bad, and the ugly, and still my reaction is bad–certainly not what Peter and James talk about. If you’ve never read them, they say “count it all joy.”  Oh sure!

Seriously? Consider suffering as joy? Why?

Because it brings good. Brings the true you out. Can you suffer gracefully? Do you run from it? And what happens when you can’t? Do you go into self-pity? Whine? Cry? Become the martyr? Blame God? Others? Or all of it?

Pain is hard. It can really mess up your head. I’ve seen the lies that get spun from it–all bad things about us, and many times others. Sometimes they deserve it, and times they don’t. And God gets a bad rap too, usually.

So what is good about hurting? It shows what is truly valuable to you. Do you know who you are–your worth? your value? Do you know what is important to you? What you really believe? Is there anything or anyone you will suffer for? Or are you just a storefront? A façade? A pretend person? In psychology we call it a “persona,” the mask we wear for the public; and we all have them, but hopefully they don’t have us. In other words, we don’t completely believe that is who we are–we are aware that we have a dark and a light side. If you don’t know that, you will be suffering at some point.

That is the good in suffering.

Also this morning I am leading out in a study on chapter 5 of book 5 in Love’s Playbook. It is still following Moses through his dark night of the soul experience where he is questioning everything, especially God and himself. He thought he knew who he was and what he was doing, and then in an instant it all went south. So much so that it was like starting with a pile of ashes. A lot of people in California can relate to that. Only worse. He had nothing, but he wasn’t sure if he believed anything either. His literal and faith-based world had been turned upside-down.

I’ve decided to go back to the introduction in Job, because his story is all about suffering and what we can learn about it and from it. Seven life questions are listed there and I even came up with another one or two–mainly making sense of where we are and what we live with. It provides a framework for understanding many things–especially why we believe crazy things about God. Why we suffer, who is responsible (besides our poor choices), and what we can do about it.

People who suffer graciously bring good out of it, and often will tell you they would never give up the experience. I heard that again this week on the news: from a girl who lost her legs to save her life because she kept having heart problems. It was a radicle solution, but it worked, and she is now a nurse working in the same hospital that saved her life. She said if she could give up her prostheses and have her legs back but would miss that three years experience, she would never do it. The suffering was that valuable to her.

I’m sure Jesus would say the same thing about his three and a half years of suffering here–more like 33 years. (Can you even imagine not having a dark side and yet being stalked by the dark side continually? Horrific!) And he didn’t even need character development. But “he was perfected through suffering,” meaning he values the experience so much because it helped him (and the watching universe) understand us and relate to us, and understand the heinous character of evil and its ruinous effects.

Isn’t it interesting that suffering is the means to the end of good. That something God won’t allow in the hereafter is used as the purifier. Hmmm.

What does that mean? Could we say the doorway to character is how we relate to suffering? It shows if you can be trusted. Do you really want good? Really want love? Or does it grow hate and anger in you? It separates the phonies from the solid. Are you willing to trust God even when He allows you to suffer?

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Far-fetched Ideas?

Is it a far-fetched idea to believe we live in the middle of  a war with a perspective way bigger than we can imagine? It might have been 100 years ago before the Hubble and the Hadron Collider. Or if you had never read the Bible. But if you had read the Bible with an open mind even then you had a window into the bigger picture; like 17th century author  John Milton, a blind poet.

And if you read the whole thing putting the bits and pieces together, a story emerges that is even bigger than our redemption. That is just a corner of it. Some people will be offended by that, and that’s ok. It’s just that when you have seen more suffering than most people because of your job, it pushes you to big questions more often than most people go there.

The little boy who was killed a year ago on our street lost his mother by suicide this past week. What will happen to the little girl who pushed the brother (playing) now that her brother and mother are gone? How will she grow up? How will she ever make sense of life? Thank God for a bigger picture window on the universe that helps us understand suffering. I hope she gets it. And though I don’t know her, thank God I can ask Them* to carry her and to send someone to tell her what she needs to know before her brain is damaged by hideous self-talk. I can even ask Them to run interference with the self-talk and  let her know They are with her.

Suffering is a reality here. No one escapes it. And what you do with the suffering makes all the difference for you personally. If you lean into it, and into God, you will be walked through it and grow like you can’t imagine. Afterwards, you will look back and say it was horrible but it was good for you.

What will happen to this little girl if she fights or denies the pain and walks away from God? It will make her hard and bitter, blaming herself, and steal her life. That is unless she is told God caused it and that’s why she  walks away from it.

God does NOT cause suffering. True, They don’t stop it. They can’t always, or it would end freedom, and that is Their highest value. Well, actually, love is Their highest value, but They have to have freedom to have love, so They are adamant about freedom.

The rub is the enemies, that love to cause us pain just because God loves us (all three of Them). We are loved–well loved. They can turn tragedy into forgiveness with our choice of acceptance. Opening up to Their love will create beauty instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

 

*Them. If you haven’t read last week’s blog, it explains my concept of three beings in one God position.

 

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The lens of surrender

the lens of Surrender:

  • guest post by Loxlia
  • notice this was written 3 years ago today–so good
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:37 AM

When you are surrounded by darkness there are moments that you actually feel the fragments of your heart slipping to the floor.Sitting cross-legged on the kitchen floor. A tiny, fragile body seizing. My hand running over his smallness. Memorizing the shape of him. This moment wrapped up in the contrast of life and death. Of agony and joy.

And yet in Peace I sit aware of the Joy flowing out of my heart. Knowing for certain by the very existence of him, of this moment, that there is nothing that could extinguish my Heart.

It is the very contrast. The contradiction of the reality and the Joy that my heart is basking in that allows me to Live. To feel my breath. To Love.

Perspective. The surrender of your focus. The ability to always look up. Reach up. To choose His view.

He is the only true source of Joy.

To Trust. To give it all back freely. Not in some act of performance or ritual. But in the pure-open-hearted living of only His will.

The audacious surrender of life. Of Clinging to nothing but Him. It is the only way to offer love.

To give of your heart with reckless abandon secure in the safety of His Love.

Knowing that what you offer is only whole and complete when drawn from the Source.

When the pouring out of your time, your life, your joy comes with no expectation, no self-centered need then it has Real Value.

When the cost is immeasurable but the value still greater then there is true Worth in the offering.

True Perspective is viewing life through a lens of Surrender.


“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ-that’s where the action is. See things from His perspective.” Colossians 3:1-2 MSG



Posted By Loxlia to lovelycrumbs at 9/18/2012 10:37:00 AM

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