Suffering

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88 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
    Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”
    (Isaiah 53:3–5 ESV)

  2. Nonnie says:

    Just yesterday I was speaking with a lady at the gym and she asked about my 3 month old grandson (born with HLHS, a severe heart defect) and asked what caused the heart defect? I had no answer, other than ‘the doctors don’t know.” She sighed and said, “Oh, I guess that is just nature.”
    I honestly didn’t know what to say. I wanted to try and explain in the 1 minute or so that we had together, that I knew it was no accident of “nature,” I wanted to explain how I believe that our God is sovereign, in control, AND that He is good, kind, generous, loving, compassionate. He understands suffering. I wanted to explain that sin has perverted His perfect creation but one day He will set all things right…..but I didn’t. I was afraid I would instead end up making our loving and sovereign God sound like a child abuser.
    I’m ashamed I didn’t share with her, but I am trusting there will be other opportunities.

    I’d really appreciate hearing what some of you have to say about this topic.

  3. pslady says:

    Michael,
    I give your words a +1. Most times suffering makes no sense at all & hurts like crazy. Only God knows why & we cannot figure it all out this side of heaven. There are times that I must ask Him to hold onto me when I lose strength and cannot hold onto Him.

  4. Em says:

    “why does God “allow” suffering?” that question is, for me, is in the same category as ‘why did He create Lucifer?” Matthew 4:8-9

  5. Em says:

    the human race is – IMV – the player is a stunning drama – the winnowing of evil perhaps?
    Revelation 11:15

  6. n o m a n s says:

    It takes great faith to reconcile the soul to suffering. I love how the Word encourages us to no be surprised when it comes… I think that exhortation is actually a key.
    Faith convinces our souls that our eyes are liars. Most of what we are taught by the Spirit of Truth argues with naturally attained knowledge.

    But to believe…
    Yes, He is only good.
    To believe a greater glory is being formed through these many trials.
    To believe that suffering is actually a herald of “Thy Kingdom come” …
    This kind of faith births salvation and redemption.
    This kind of faith makes the mysteries of God tangible to all who see.

    For the Christ follower, suffering well is our greatest opportunity.

  7. Romans 5:3 sort of mystifies me because it basically says that suffering ultimately leads to hope for the christian. That is the kind of wisdom that the world doesn’t understand and at times I don’t either. But, getting as much literature on the persecuted church around the world as I do, I see that this works in real life. I pray that if confronted with as much suffering as these people go through, that I would stand as tall for the Lord.
    But that doesn’t address, just everyday sufferings and happenings. As for those I just trust the Lord to know what is best for me. I only rarely see the purpose behind everyday suffering, but I see enough to know that He knows better than me.

  8. I’m uncertain if I’ve shared the specifics of this particular case, but it’s fresh and significant to me.

    DD is a gal who I met 3 months ago in the parking lot. She was looking for the Social Security Offices. I gave her directions and asked her a few questions about her situation, looking to see if she needed help. Her daughter was born with autism and I checked with a few people who had autistic kids about resources in the area. There is very little in our small town.

    One month ago, a friend told me he was going to drop a gal off to visit with me and meet with me to discuss some options and plans for her to get on her feet. For 40 minutes we discussed her situation and planned her way to get out of the situation she is in.

    Then I asked her about church and Jesus Christ. She became very defensive and talked about all the churches she had been too. She brought up reliability of the Bible and how Christians are hypocrites. Then she said, “I can’t believe in a God who would give me a disabled child, when my family, who are drug addicts, get healthy normal kids.” When she finally paused, I explained to her that I’m aware of horrific situations on a regular basis. Situations where molestations have occurred by pastors, church members who have physically abused their wives and kids and I’m well aware of the hypocrisy in the church. I told her I probably have been a hypocrite at times. I explained that I read regularly about the murders in Mexico and I’m regularly heart broken about those rotten things. I explained that these are the things that keep me up at night.

    I then said, I don’t think I could handle these things without the knowledge that there is a God who loves me and cares for me. I can turn to him in prayer and the Bible says, “Cast your cares upon the Lord”.

    I asked her if I could pray with her. She said yes, this time almost in tears.

    The next week, she called our offices asking for prayer. Her daughter was diagnosed with a missing chromosome and she didn’t know how to handle the news.

    We’ve since followed up with her and a church was able to pray for her and connect with her.

  9. Chile says:

    I don’t have answers for one in the midst of suffering, just my presence.

    I experienced deep gut wrenching suffering as an unbeliever, then I experienced it as a believer. All I know is that I’ll take the latter over the former any day… Though I wouldn’t wish any of it on worst enemy.

    On the days when I really KNOW God loves me and has a good plan for my life, I have hope when in pain. On the other days I am simply aware that there are no other options.

  10. Josh Hamrick says:

    I have no answers of course, just the perspective that God is growing us through the suffering, even, perhaps mostly, when we don’t see the prize at the end of the suffering. 1st Peter is all about suffering. We are often reminded that Christ suffered, and if He did, why would we be exempt?

  11. Em says:

    yes, we can learn and grow through suffering (shame on us, if we don’t), but i must agree with pslady, ” Most times suffering makes no sense at all & hurts like crazy” – most times

    the rule of cause and effect is quite often the reason we suffer (God doesn’t always step in and shield us from our old sin natures and our fallibility) … things and events out of our control such as cancer are not in that category, obviously

    amen also tot those here who are noting that the Faith, keeping our eyes on Christ, is what we need to go through – even as we cry out in honest anguish, we are blessed to know Who it is we’re calling to

  12. Josh Hamrick says:

    I do want to point out that suffering never feels like growth. It hurts. I mean, that’s what it is…suffering. It is only later that we might find God’s purpose in it. Sometimes much later, sometimes only in Eternity.

  13. London says:

    The suffering I most often deal with is that which I bring on myself through my own actions, choices and attitudes.
    Then, I have no one else to blame, not even God, who seems the easiest target at the time.

  14. Suffering, as inescapable as gravity.

    How do I cope? I find a really good blues song, tune up the guitar, sip red wine, and choose to be positive about whatever I can find praiseworthy in any given situation, even when it hurts, and pretty much share only strategically, in a way that doesn’t shove it in the face of someone else in the situation, considering they are dealing in their own unique way.

    Like a friend of mine says, “With this much horsesh*t there must be a pony somewhere…”

    “Gravity”

    Gravity is working against me
    And gravity wants to bring me down

    Oh I’ll never know what makes this man
    With all the love that his heart can stand
    Dream of ways to throw it all away

    Oh Gravity is working against me
    And gravity wants to bring me down

    Oh twice as much ain’t twice as good
    And can’t sustain like a one half could
    It’s wanting more
    That’s gonna send me to my knees
    [repeat]

    Oh gravity, stay the hell away from me
    And gravity has taken better men than me (now how can that be?)

    Just keep me where the light is
    Just keep me where the light is
    Just keep me where the light is
    C’mon keep me where the light is
    C’mon keep me where the light is
    Oh… where the light is! [repeat]

    ~John Mayer

  15. Nonnie says:

    These verses help me get through sorrow and suffering:

    “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
    That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.
    Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage,
    And He shall strengthen your heart;
    Wait, I say, on the Lord!.” Ps. 27:13-14

  16. DMW says:

    I once got to send time with a potter. I asked him if he had a feel for clay, if he picked up a lump if he could tel that it was something he could make something special out of, or if it was destined to just be a coffee cup, he told me that there was something he could never express to anyone else when he felt that potential. Then a cup he would just throw out in a matter of minutes, but that lump that had that special something he would work it and work it and smash it and smash it and start over and over until he got what he wanted. He didn’t abuse that one piece of clay because he was upset with it, he didn’t smash it over and over again because he was angry, he did it because he has a feel for it, a love for it..

    I look at others and wonder why my life is filled with so much suffering and at times it feels like God loves others more than me, but the simply truth is that God loves me to much to accept even a small piece of grit that he would let go in others, so you see God loves me more that I want to be loved..

    just a thought

  17. Nonnie says:

    I was hoping we would hear from you on this thread, DMW.
    So much to ponder on your comment. Thank you.

  18. Em says:

    DMW – i used to have a collection of small vases made by a master potter, each one different as each was made to demonstrate a unique property of a particular variety of clay … thank you for the ponder – again

  19. Em says:

    Nonnie, me too, and amen to your #15 … the waiting is getting easier and more real – strangely

  20. PP Vet says:

    Suffering is God’s way of motivating us to try to figure what we have to do to stop suffering.

    God set up the principle of cause and effect.

    Most suffering is the result of our own sin, or someone else’s sin, and is remediable by faith in action.

    Going through truly undeserved suffering is usually a joyful experience. At least, according to the Big Book, it is supposed to be.

  21. Chile says:

    Hmmm, being abandoned by both your parents … Not brought on by the child, not deserved, and definitely not joyful.

    Or watching 8 family members die in 8 years…

  22. Chile says:

    It rains on the just and on the unjust.

  23. Chile says:

    “… but that lump that had that special something he would work it and work it and smash it and smash it and start over and over until he got what he wanted. He didn’t abuse that one piece of clay because he was upset with it, he didn’t smash it over and over again because he was angry, he did it because he has a feel for it, a love for it..”

    This brought more than tears … A gulley washer!

  24. Ixtlan says:

    Like many of you, I have endured my share of suffering. and most have elluded my apprehension. Faith and trusting God that He really does know what He is doing helps me. Knowing Job was never given an explanation helps as well. There are those little, nagging peices of me that is unsettled with all the unanswered questions. I have tried to find reason and logic behind it all, to no avail. I tried to drink and drug it away, which created more problems than it solved.

    Today I try just to walk by faith knowing full well of my resentments toward God for being kept in the dark, for not doing all that I thought He should have and with the full awareness that I just hope like hell He will let me in when this is all over for me.

    Over time, the pain has lessened, the fear of my doubts are less acute and so I have to think that He is actually doing something in my life rather than me just getting old and growing numb to it all. And when I finally stand before Him, all I will be able to say is thank you for getting here, for I know that the journey has been worse for Him than it has for me. Perhaps that is what it really means to overcome.

  25. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    “Suffering is God’s way of motivating us to try to figure what we have to do to stop suffering.

    God set up the principle of cause and effect.

    Most suffering is the result of our own sin, or someone else’s sin, and is remediable by faith in action.

    Going through truly undeserved suffering is usually a joyful experience. At least, according to the Big Book, it is supposed to be.”

    I concur

  26. “Suffering is God’s way of motivating us to try to figure what we have to do to stop suffering.”

    That sounds to much like Pat Robertson and his hurricanes and Jerry Falwell with homosexuality being the cause for 911.

    We live in a fallen world – suffering is one of it’s by products.

    For those who hold this position, are you saying that my first response should be “God what did I do wrong?”

  27. Chile says:

    Thanks, lxtian! You articulated well what runs through my mind.

  28. Chile says:

    Watching your triplets die and have a pastor tell you you’ll see them in heaven so it’s all good … Before the shock has even worn off.

  29. Chile says:

    I agree with MLD.

    It’s not that PPVet’s post doesn’t have truth in it; rather that view seems like a first glance view of suffering. After a deeper look at it from the inside, that view can come across as insensitive and limited in scope.

    Much suffering has no one to blame. Much suffering has no answers. I just know God is God and I’m not.

  30. Babylon's Dread says:

    “That’s how I will get through today…how do you reconcile suffering and the goodness of God?”
    God is love
    Love Suffers
    God loves most and thereby suffers the most
    Sin brings suffering, God’s love remedies sin?
    God’s love wins but not yet…not just yet…
    Hope waits

  31. DMW says:

    I once had a huge dog that hated to be bathed. I use to chain him between two trees and turn the hose on him. He would howl and whimper to the point I once had a neighbor call the police, she was sure I was killing him. But he loved to roll in some really unpleasant stuff.
    Now on a cold winter night when he was in front of a warm fire, he would stretch and give groans of pleasure…

    He could never connect the bath with the fact that I elevated him from the doggie world to the human world with human privileges.

    And we are not able to see the connection between our current sufferings with the Fact that God is elevating us to live in His dwelling with Divine privileges.

    You see that old dog didn’t even know how bad he smelled and that there was no way to the fireplace except through the bath, and we roll in stuff too, and are unfit to dwell in the Presence of The Most High.

    So know this, even when there is no possible good that you can see in your current suffering, God is busy elevating you, and someday soon we will stretch out in the warmth of His presence and then being chained between two trees and tortured will make sense.

  32. DMW says:

    And again I think God loves us more than we want to be loved at times

  33. Alex says:

    Why?

    I don’t know…and neither do any of you.

  34. Chile says:

    Good thoughts DMW.

  35. Alex says:

    ^^ I don’t mean that comment to come off as offensive, it’s just my opinion, but it’s probably the closest to being true. We just don’t really know the “whys” with regards to God and this existence etc.

  36. Chile says:

    Alex, I don’t know. But then I get lost at just considering the thought of God existing? Why? Eternity? Why? I stop while I’m behind.

  37. Chile says:

    I certainly don’t get it.

    I used to work hard at knowing the answers. For awhile I had a lot of answers, but once I dipped below the surface, I realized I was way WAY out of my league/universe!

  38. Alex says:

    Chile, I hear you.

    I don’t know why I still “try” to know why and why we humans are compelled to need to know “why”….I guess it’s part of the human condition.

  39. Ixtlan says:

    Thanks Chile,
    If I were your pastor then, I would probably just wanted to have said the “f” word and cried with you. . But of course, that is not what pastors are suppose to do, let alone say. But to give your [ex]pastor the benefit of the doubt, you feel like an outsider in those situations and it is oh so ackward.

  40. Chile says:

    I think we must try, we must ask the questions. I also think some of us run out of steam in asking some of the why’s before others. Each has a purpose and place, I imagine.

    Just today I saw a whole group of very well educated people not ask a single question in the face of someone presenting something absurd. The presenters were looking to make a point through satire, yet the group of intellectuals never pushed back once. They were, in essence, trusting someone else would have stopped this from being presented if it were really as ridiculous as it sounded. WHY should have been asked.

    God can handle our why’s … He’s God, he knows where we are coming from.

  41. Chile says:

    lxtian, thanks.

    I knew he was young, had little experience, and remember what it was like for me to be there for others when I had no clue what they were going through.

    The real issue was in his cavalier attitude. He’s the same pastor who told a woman in our church -after her estranged husband (CC Bible teacher) put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her and the kids- the pastor then said, “Well, if he does kill them, they will be in Heaven.”

    No, I’m not kidding.

  42. Em says:

    we learn the power of the word “why” at a very early age … wouldn’t you think we’d wise up somewhere along the way? … somebody mentioned Job; reading God’s words to him are a great way to center again … something about, “where were you [Job] when I made the worlds?” Job 38 or thereabouts …..

  43. Have to be Anonymous for this one says:

    I’ve posted here a few times.

    My struggle is having lost my mother, brother and hardest of all, my daughter. About a year ago, I also found out about my husband’s long standing cheating.

    People think suffering is contagious and quite literally avoid you like the plague if you are in the middle of active suffering or grieving.

    Alex, yes, Alex, was amoung the kindest when I posted here in the past. Thank you, Alex. I mean it.

    I have not found any redeeming quality from my suffering yet. It has made me angry and short tempered.

    No nice ending. That’s it.

  44. Ixtlan says:

    sharp as a bowling ball he is……..
    and if I may… that is Ixtlan not Ixtian

  45. Chile says:

    Oh, perfect, Em! That very passage quelled some of my burning “why’s”. In context it’s very powerful passage in the face of unanswered questions.

  46. Chile says:

    Oh, I need better glasses. I couldn’t see the spelling difference. Thanks.

  47. Ixtlan says:

    lol!!! I just zoom out to 125% 😉

  48. Chile says:

    Sharp as a bowling ball …. For sure.

    Fortunately, he was removed from ministry, but the swath of destruction in his wake was large! The examples I gave are peanuts.

    He is the quintessential example of someone who lacks empathy, a true narcissist, IMHO. He spawned many shallow insensitive ministry workers, who started out well, but confirmed too well. They didn’t ask “why?” when they should have.

  49. Chile says:

    Confirmed= conformed

  50. PAL says:

    Just a though:

    I have noticed many times that the person going through the situation seems to not suffer as much as the ones that love them and see it happening to them. Could it be that God dispenses the suffering out to others so that the one experiencing the situation does not get the full blunt? Could this be part of the purpose of Love?

    God is Love and I think that He does not allow us to get the full blunt of suffering because He feels some of it Himself.

    Was that not the purpose of Christ being on the cross, to take the full suffering effect away from us?

    Perhaps the small/or-large amount of suffering we go through helps to remind us of what He did for us.

  51. Ixtlan says:

    Bad examples can teach us much. The greatest lesson from our time with them may be in dealing with the indignation that follows. That is shaping of our hearts that cannot be wrought by any other means…… many years later it is still being work in me…. or out of me…..

    gotta run. blessings to you….

  52. Chile says:

    I agree lxtlan & PAL.

    My responses are very enlightening.

  53. DMW says:

    The more you love the more you demand of the loved one. We won’t put up with our own children as we will of someone else’s child, or our spouse.. The more we love the more we demand perfection… God loves us all a lot. Some Depending on our attitude all suffering can have a redemptive value or it can purify. Again our attitude is the thing that makes sufferings destructive or redemptive.. And at the end of the day our attitude is the only thing we can exercise our free will on. We choose, suffering can make you a better person, or we choose suffering can make us a bitter person .. The choice is ours to make and far to often I choose poorly

  54. DMW says:

    As to why me — or other why questions I no longer waste my time .. I ask what am I going to do with it

  55. bishopdave says:

    I’ve always wondered if part of the purpose of the ending of the book of Job is that God is saying: It wouldn’t matter if I told you why, your finite self could still not comprehend it nor accept it. Until we’ve hung stars and measured universes, we do not have the perspective/capacity to grasp His “reasoning.”

    DMW’s story of bathing the dog is a good illustration. if God told you WHY your child suffered, would the reason satisfy you, or is your immediate reaction, “it depends on what His reason is.” Yet, He also elevates us to His presence. Undeserved suffering is an awful terrible thing; undeserved blessing is oft treated as though God owes us His love.

    I hate to admit it, but these thoughts started mulling in my mind after reading The Shack.

  56. Chile says:

    Bishop Dave said,

    “I’ve always wondered if part of the purpose of the ending of the book of Job is that God is saying: It wouldn’t matter if I told you why, your finite self could still not comprehend it nor accept it. Until we’ve hung stars and measured universes, we do not have the perspective/capacity to grasp His ‘reasoning.’ ”

    YES! Exactly!

  57. bishopdave, “…God is saying: It wouldn’t matter if I told you why, your finite self could still not comprehend it nor accept it…” amen to that

    i will (& i suspect most here are of the same mind) not judge or attempt to explain “why” to anyone who is going through trauma or judge their emotions as they work through it … i do pray that they can get through

    thinking about that good old dog – he was mad, insulted maybe, definitely uncomfortable and confused but he still followed his master 🙂

  58. John Duncan says:

    Once a young mother had just lost her new baby to Sudden Infant Death, she told me how she woke up that morning how she started her day giving thanks to God for the first night since she brought her baby home he slept the night through without waking her up, so she took her time and poured a cup of coffee and with gratitude and joy when in to just look at her beautiful son only to see the reason he had not woke her up, he was dead. .. What do you tell that mom? I just sat with her and let her talk. Later another pastor came, he told her that God loved her son so much that He just took him home… I don’t know how that hits you, but I jumped in and said, but she loved her son a lot and to say God loved him and took him make God out to be pretty selfish.. this mom is left with an empty room full of stuff for her son, all her hopes and dreams and everything died in that room, and you say “God loved him so much he just took him” — well he might just as well as tore our her heart and handed it to her still beating — Excuse me — I get carried away… but when someone one is suffering lost like that just shut up. Just love them, answer if you can any questions they have, to which most of their questions are answered with a hearty “I don’t know”

    Unless you’ve seen into eternity and are all knowing then don’t think you have the answers for such suffering.

    I’ve been on the scene when a dad shot his infant son 6 times in the head, I’ve been there when a call of Trick or Treat – the dad opened the doors and was shot to death in front of all his kids, I’ve been on the scene after a son stabbed his mom and wife to be dozens of times trying to minister to a family that was torn apart in more ways than you can possibly imagine…

    Human suffering has no simply answer… If my dog could have understood that he was being lifted up to human status, perhaps he would not have howled so loud.. but the point is that we CAN’T see.

    And to tell the truth I can’t even imagine any answer that would satisfy.. I honestly can’t imagine it. it is beyond me, so all I can say about suffering is that I don’t have any answers that come near to being a good answer,

    If Jobs friends never spoke at all they would have been wise. The questions that have gone through my mind are >does God even exist >> if so what is He like>> is he cruel >> if cruel then what can I do about it >> does he even care>> does he get a kick out of watching me suffer?>> how can we say He is all loving and all Good and still let this happen to me .. PAIN – Why did he make me so I can not just feel pain, but pain that is so bad that it cannot be described… I guess that if golf balls are what weathermen use to tell us the size of hail stones, then Kidney stones are the golf balls of the pain world, well I have felt pain bowling ball pain, and once I felt pain that caused me to keep passing out only to wake up in a hellish pain that defies anything.. Try gangrenous gall bladder — now that is a pain that goes beyond beyond, and the thought that I can feel such pain has left me in terror that it could happen again… We cause pain when we are born, we often live with pain and usually die in pain… and I still have total confidence that God Is Good..

    As a pastor I often felt like God sent me into situations where I was facing an enemy with atomic weapons and I was armed with a BB gun..

    Im in pain right now, and it has reduced me to an idiot who is talking to much, but I talk too much because pain drives everyone away, they don’t want to hear about it.. the isolation of pain is a whole other subject – but isolate you it does.

    later all
    i wish you all the lack of pain – and the presence of God

  59. Ixtlan says:

    so… God doesn’t love us as much so he leaves us here? Such a stupid thing to say to a grieving mother.

    John,
    I know about the isolation of pain and that there are many different sides to that equation.

    You can talk here as much as you want. sometimes I’ll agree, sometimes I’ll disagree, but most of the time, I’ll just listen….

  60. Em says:

    reading Pastor John’s words enforce a sense that i have lately come to …
    so much preaching has been done to enforce the conviction that mankind is no d*mn good – early on i was given that advice from a Catholic uncle and there’s much truth in the observation …

    but what man truly is, is fallen (that entails a lot and is not my point) … what we don’t grasp is just how important we are and how important this war is – anyone who thinks man is not involved in some kind of spiritual war must be a scientist 🙂 – every life is a part of this struggle and as the Word puts it in terms most women can understand the end is beautiful, a joy that is way beyond the pain of this birthing process and some birthings are way more painful than others are.

    those in agony right now, forgive the philosophizing – God keep all close and comforted

  61. Ixtlan says:

    we definitely count to the Almighty….

    One other thing that has helped me. I listen to Pandora and I developed a “station” of Gregorian Chants…… it’s calming.

  62. Alex says:

    It can certainly seem like this at times:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gejSEOnaYek

    Sorry for the pain, life can certainly suck…but good news, “life sucks, and then you die”

    hopefully this brings a smile, which is what was intended 🙂

  63. Alex says:

    Gregorian chants are cool. I find comedy can numb things, as well as snark and sarcasm. Denial works well, too 🙂

  64. Ixtlan says:

    Alex….lol!!

    I don’t care what they say about you…. I like you. 🙂

  65. Nonnie says:

    Bishop Dave, Dmw, Em Chile…..you all have ministered such wisdom and love on this thread. Thank you.

    Bishop Dave, your 56 “I’ve always wondered if part of the purpose of the ending of the book of Job is that God is saying: It wouldn’t matter if I told you why, your finite self could still not comprehend it nor accept it. Until we’ve hung stars and measured universes, we do not have the perspective/capacity to grasp His “reasoning.”

    Beautifui

  66. Chile says:

    Lol! I just listened to the song, Alex. Funny!

  67. Ixtlan says:

    Gregorian chants are not the only thing I listen to. Love 90’s alt music, like this one from Creed that seems to speak to this topic of the thread….

  68. I don’t enter much in these blogs but am so blessed reading them. I just felt the lyrics to this song by Andy Gullahorn touched on this topic really well. God bless each and every one of you.

    My good friend Paul was lying in the backseat of a station wagon
    Headed to New Mexico

    Somewhere in the middle of the night the driver fell asleep

    And hit the wall beside the road

    My friend went through the window like a bullet through the glass

    Dead before he ever hit the ground

    Oh I believe though it’s hard sometimes

    You are the resurrection and the life

    Jody is a queen reigning prone upon a couch

    For the past few years of numbered days
    
Because the virus in her body and the cancer in her brain

    Are buying up the real estate

    The medicine they give her trades nightmares for her dreams

    Of memories too tragic to describe

    Oh I believe though it’s hard sometimes

    You are the resurrection and the life

    I know the words of life to come are true
    
But sometimes they feel like salt upon the wound

    When I’m asking in these moments where are You

    Where are You?

    Sometimes its like Lazarus, You come to roll the stone away

    And watch him walk back out alive

    Sometimes its like my good friend Paul, breathless on the interstate

    Mother weeping at his side

    Either way it’s something I will never understand

    But I trust enough to take You at Your Word

    So I believe though its hard sometimes

    You are the resurrection and the life

    Ressurection by Andy Gullahorn

  69. Josh Hamrick says:

    http://jasonblanton.blogspot.com/2012/12/bitter.html?spref=tw

    My best friend, a pastor in Charlotte, just posted this today. I thought it was really good.

  70. erunner says:

    What constitutes suffering for one person at times isn’t worthy of concern from another in various circumstances. Having been here (PP) for so long I have read of suffering I can’t beging to comprehend. And I couldn’t begin to understand the “why” of it.

    My suffering has mostly been emotional although I’m going through some physical stuff now. At times I don’t know what I want during these seasons of life. Yet when my thoughts are clear and I’m not having a pity party I so much want that peace that passes all understanding.

    To those here who are suffering I pray God would do mighty things in and through you. And please don’t ever lose hope.

  71. Nonnie says:

    Here is the youtube link of that song my hubby referred to at number 68.

  72. erunner says:

    Nonnie and your husband, That was absolutely beautiful. Thank you.

  73. Reuben says:

    I am really trying to avoid PhxP so folks will come back, but I had to comment on this one. And I will disappear again.

    I hit a wall about a week ago. I learned about something terrible. I knew it to be true, but hoped to the contrary anyway. Hope is silly sometimes.

    I used to teach pretty hardline about one thing in particular. I leveraged some verses quite a bit. Actually, I leveraged those verses all the time. It was sort of a “Reuben” thing. I don’t know how many kids I taught over the years, but they always knew one thing, and that was my one thing.

    My motives were pure, I guess. I wanted to see every kid grow up to be a pastor, missionary, highly active in their church, involved in something that perpetually glorified God. I wanted kids to believe with every fibre of their being that ministry was all there was to life.

    The wall I hit was the realization that now that kids are grown up, and treating life as if the only purpose is ministry, the ministry is killing them.

    I feel like I have to take an apology tour. I feel like I have to tell those now grown up kids that they should probably study for a decent job, and get to know their spouse, make love, travel, have kids, explore the world, get friends that are not churchy ministry folks, but regular folks. Maybe they should spend a few years loving family and building home before they think about ministry. Actually, I want to beg them to do that. They get out in the real world of ministry, and find evil. They find pastors, and churches that will eat them alive, spit them out, and finish their chance of ever getting back into the game. Then, they have nothing. They have nothing because their whole life was ministry. Then they hit a wall of despair. Maybe they lose their faith. Maybe they lose their family.

    Maybe they did this because I told them to.

    I try to lay my head on the cold hard pillow of, “God uses this, it is for his glory…” but I can’t sleep on it, because the more dead I see laying on the roadside, the more I realize I put them there. I drove them to it. I preached into their lives the ultimatum, and they pursued it. They failed. I failed.

    So I was drunk, in horrible pain that even whisky could not take away, and I asked Michael if he could know the pain. He assured me that he did.

    I believe that God directs every step. I believe that God has a plan in all of it. I also believe that it did not have to be this way.

  74. Alex says:

    Reuben, wow, that’s some powerful stuff. Good to see you Bro.

  75. Em says:

    Reuben, “I believe that God directs every step. I believe that God has a plan in all of it. I also believe that it did not have to be this way.” almost all of us have to make our peace with that fact … almost all of us … some don’t i guess, but i wonder … and you may just be a bit more amazing than you think you are right now (ask Mrs. Reuben) 😆

  76. Chile says:

    Reuben, when they handed you your precious baby at the hospital, did you know how to care for him and raise him? Have you made any mistakes along the way?

    When you were given that precios wife of yours, did you know how to love her? Did you make any mistakes along the way?

    When you were given the privilege of friendships, did you know how to be a good and faithful friend? Have you made any mistakes along the way?

    When you were given the gift of the Holy Spirit, did you know how to value and use that gift well? Appropriately?

    When you were welcomed into the universal church of believers did you know how to be a good citizen in that context?

    When you were given the gift of local fellowship, the local church, did you know how to handle and appreciate the gift when it encouraged you? When it hurt you?

    Do you know how to appreciate the gift of pain?

    What’s my point? We don’t come into this world, or into our walk with Jesus knowing how to do it, or even how to appreciate it. We do things wrong and learn from it. It’s to be expected.

    God knows I don’t know stuff. He uses my ignorance for His glory the way He sees fit. I can’t see what I don’t know without His help. I can’t avoid my major mistakes without His help.

    Your introspection is good and can serve you well through what it teaches you in going forward.

    But remember, when the enemy shows us where we missed the mark … There’s condemnation. Where the Holy Spirit convicts us … There is hope and a future.

  77. Ixtlan says:

    an apology tour ……

    maybe you should, maybe it really isn’t your fault. My guess is this isn’t your problem or responsibility. We all make our own choices, and like you, when I realized I was getting nothing more than form of godliness without the power, I ran for my life.

    Think it through, don’t be hasty, cue up some Creed and Alice in Chains and favorit Pink Floyd… and hmm…. you live in Colorado, correct? Oh course, that can create more issues than it solves. That why I don’t use any substances, but Lord knows, there are days I really want to.

    and like the song I put up link for, some things just don’t heal…. but you gone on anyway.

  78. Chile says:

    I did an apology tour. It great, awful, and profitable.

    My advice -worth what it costs you- is to wait till some of the dust settles, OR till God brings someone to you. Then share honestly. The ones who are ready will benefit greatly from what you share. Hand them the “Ordinary Christian” book for them to chew on.

    Those who are not ready may have all manner of less desirable responses, but truth has a way of haunting us. Let it simmer inside of them… Good flavors take time.

    What I loved about my apology tour was that it was shifting the focus from me, my works onto God. Admitting I didn’t know stuff was so freeing for me, as well as for some on the tour.

  79. Nonnie says:

    Rueben, There isn’t a man or woman alive who cannot look back at their times of ministry and don’t have regrets. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that God is greater than my mistakes and He loves His people and will care for them.
    I appreciate your concern and care for folks. Please don’t be a stranger here, my friend.

  80. Josh Hamrick says:

    Rueben, you are greatly missed here.

    God is not mad at you. He’s proud of you. He accepts you just as you are right now. He doesn’t expect perfection, and knows you can’t go back in time. His plan for you starts right now from where you stand. You’ve done good things, brother. Dad is proud.

  81. Nonnie says:

    What Josh said. Amen!

  82. Reuben,
    Rereading, again and again, what you wrote at your December 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm post.

    Reach out to others who have discovered much of the same thing you have. Email Frank Schaeffer, David Hayward, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, share your heart. On a personal referral, send friend requests to a couple guys on my FB friends list, Chuck Smith Jr & David Brisbin. Tell those 2 guys I sent you, that I suggested that getting to know them would be a good thing and share your thoughts.

    These people are individuals who have fallen in love with God in a way that forced them to many of the same conclusions that you have had. They are fellow travelers, betters who know where to get a cool cup of water in an otherwise dry and dusty land.

    It’s a small and simple thing, to reach out, and you will discover how you are not alone, and that the damage control in the lives of those you mention is already in effect. You’re the one needing strengthening and encouragement right now, so please don’t go it alone.

  83. Ixtlan says:

    If had to choose between Bell and McLaren and going it alone, I’d go alone…….. and maybe read some naked pastor

  84. Ixtian,
    …and I’m sure they’d not be insulted

    Reuben,
    Feel free to email me privately at FB

  85. Em says:

    just came off of reading this on BBC, are they reliable? dunno:
    :…Browne is an investment banker. He moved to America and ran his own firm until the crash in 2008. His company went bust and his marriage fell apart.
    He eventually lost his home and returned to England on a flight paid for by a charity. BBC Panorama met him last summer while he was sleeping rough in a park in Croydon.”

    this fella (middle aged and portly-not a candidate for sleeping on the ground) went from a posh Kensington “flat” to camping out in the park – with a trip to America in between 🙂

    don’t know if he’s suffering – must be – but he’s sure being tested … kind of proves the point that not all tests come from the hand of God, doesn’t it? – and evidently, not all get rich coming to Amereecah (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  86. Ixtlan says:

    @85
    and that was not my intention….

  87. DMW says:

    I’m just glad the psalms exist on nights like this. I would think I was the only one who has such dark nights of the soul. this is a night when I need Him close and he feels a million miles away.

    Ps 42:9 I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me?

    Ps 10:1 Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?

    Ps 22:1 <> My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

    Ps 13:1 <> How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

    Ps 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

    Ps 88:14 LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?

    Ps 77:2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted :3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah

    Ps 77:7 Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favorable no more?:8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?:9 Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

    even my attempt at humor to try to snap out of it ends up in serious conversation and even becomes points of contention. i give up

    I think just existence will have to be enough for a while — so alone in all this mess. I have dozens of friends who would be here if I asked, but none who understand what I am facing. sometimes the circumstances are the jail and I cannot find the key to these circumstances – There just ain’t no easy way.

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