The intimacy of Suffering.

Contrary to the “American Gospel” of life, being married and having a family is an exercise in true suffering as often as it’s a joy or profound pleasure.

It’s an issue in many “Christian” lives to think that their God would allow or even “prescribe” for us seasons of suffering. We’re looking for God to “ease” our pain, to make the hurting stop and for our uncomfortable life relationships & difficult circumstances be removed. Bottom line, we’re approaching God on our terms. Looking up to Him as a divine dose of Advil for all our life aches & pains. advil

The truth strikes us hard when we take the time to really read scripture and listen to what the Apostle Paul writes…what Jesus taught.

Philippians 3:10 (NASB) “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;”

Matthew 5:10-12 (NASB) “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Source link)

Tragic, unjust and just downright painful experiences for a modern believer  can become “deal breakers” for our emerging Faith in Christ. Our Christianese has taught many of us to just assume that God wants us to be HAPPY.

We “believe” for immediate favor and blessing from God to flood our lives upon every request…. removing difficulties as if by magic and releasing us from suffering further. IF that doesn’t happen…. we have a serious problem with God, our faith and life in general.

The “reality check” that suffering offers can cause major confusion and deep doubt in a parent’s heart and mind…. especially if we’re not able to separate the “truth” of Christianity from the myth. 

The marketing of the church has spoon fed many of us with  a happy-go-lucky version of the gospel that fits our Americanized ideal of what we want Christianity to be….A personal fire insurance plan with morphine drip.

If we’re not able to separate fact from fiction, we can get dangerously close to loosing our fragile faith in the bitter aftermath of disappointment.

“Cultural” Christians are leaving the local church today in droves, in part because the God they wanted has turned out to be a myth.

He seems to remain silent to our regular requests for “more” stuff … and we get sullen & angry because we did it all like we were taught… in the name of Jesus. But we still don’t get what we want and like spoiled children we pout and run away.

As parents, we can get easily discouraged if we lose the perspective of what’s REAL vs. what is HYPE. When we start to think God simply exists to supply my needs and fix my problems… we’ve left scripture for pop – culture.

The truth is… He works in the pain and the sorrow and tragedies of our lives as much or more than he does in the triumphs and successes.

When we seek to avoid discomfort at all costs, we’re skipping a critical step in our transformation and lose out on the intimacy we can only gain in our suffering.

Parents… don’t just seek to get out of the heat, ask God if and when and how you’re to respond to your troubles. Include your kids in the process of listening, asking and seeking to find God’s will for your family. Living out our faith in the midst of suffering is ultimately the highest honor a believer in Christ can experience. It becomes the evidence of something “authentic” and believable to those who know us best. Our Kids!

that as they say… is kinda the point : )

Peace to you – Pastor B.

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One thought on “The intimacy of Suffering.

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