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I KNOW SUFFERING IS EXHAUSTING AND PAIN HURTS! That is why it is called pain and suffering. If there were an escape a person of great wisdom and insight would have done it already!

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By Mary Lindow

SUFFERING AND SORROW ARE A PART OF LIFE

Knowing this, however, doesn’t make it any easier to cope when you find yourself in the midst of the deepest, darkest trials of faith, and mentally anguish and strain.

Don’t you wish Christianity could make you exempt from suffering? That would be great, but as most of us have learned, following our faith doesn’t give us a free ride.

We catch as much trouble as unbelievers—often more.

The difference, of course, is that we can turn to Jesus when things go wrong. Unbelievers might argue that we’re only turning to our imagination, but we know better.

At some time in your life, however, suffering will hit you so hard that you won’t be able to do any of those things, and that dark time will probably visit you more than once.

“Even in darkness, light dawns for the upright,

for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.”

Psalm 112:4

 

WE ALL WANT THINGS WE DON’T GET.

Maybe it’s a person you’re sure would make a perfect spouse, and the relationship crumbles apart. Maybe it’s a better job or promotion, and you don’t make the cut. Or it might be a goal you poured your time and energy into, and it doesn’t come to pass or others sabotage it all.
All of us have prayed for the recovery of loved ones who were ill, but they died anyway.

It takes real spiritual maturity to stay faithful when things go wrong, but severing our relationship with God punishes us, not him. It’s self-destructive behavior that can put us on the path to a miserable life. The parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) teaches us that God always wants us to come back to him.

Whether your problem is discouragement, illness or aging, sometimes all you have left is Jesus.

When you’re angry and bitter, you can still cling to Jesus in the midst of your tears. You can grab onto him and refuse to let go until he brings you through it. You’ll find, to your surprise that he holds on to you even tighter than you hold on to him.

 

JESUS UNDERSTANDS SORROW

He knows about being hurt. He remembers the terrible moment on the cross when his Father was forced to abandon him, because he was filthy from taking on our sins. Jesus won’t let you go.

And as you age and start down the path from this life to the next, Jesus will take your hand to guide you. He appreciates all that you have done for him through the years, but what he has always wanted most is your love.

So there you are in the middle of one of life’s train-wrecks-dazed, wounded, wondering what shoe-or bomb-will be dropping next, and up walks Job’s comforters.

We all remember Job from the Bible. A rich, powerful man, a great father and good in every way was Job.

Then, in a series of overlapping upheavals, he lost everything and everybody except his wife-who turned out to be a whole lot less than sympathetic in her changed status.

Battered Job ends up sitting alone on a pile of dirt, scratching his boil-covered body with some broken pottery.

 

WE CAN IDENTIFY WITH POOR JOB.

Life drags us through some tough times of loss that make us feel every bit like Job. Caught in a vortex of pain, and wondering if we’ll ever make it to safety.

And, boy, do we recognize Job’s so-called friends who showed up to by all accounts offer support and comfort. As they sat with Job in his misery, they took turns playing a self-centered, self-righteous, can-you-top-this game of knowing for certain that every bit of Job ‘s disaster had to be his own fault or a lack of trust in God. They weren’t sure how or why because Job seemed so decent, but deep down, they insisted, he just couldn’t be all he pretended to be.

 

THIS IS FAMILIAR TERRITORY

You get fired, and friends smirk knowingly when you try to explain the political nature of the event. Your child gets into difficulty-well; you know the kind of comfort you’ll get from friends about that. (It probably started sometime during potty training.)

Yet others try to “help” you with what I call “prayer lecturing.” While praying “for and with you” they let you (and God) know just how lucky you should be to even have running water, had a meal that day and more! Not really comforting in any way, and very very short on compassion.

Yet, from the story, it’s clear that Job was completely innocent.

Dreadful things do happen to completely innocent people, good people.
Because of their opinion of Job’s guilt, history has bestowed his friends- (and their current replicas) – the label, “Job’s comforters.”
So-called friends who add to a suffering person’s anguish by piling on false charges of blame and guilt and harsh reprimand for daring to show sadness or agony.

You may never have met anybody like Job, but you’ve met his comforters on more than one occasion. They seem to be everywhere.

 

WE CAN CHARGE SOME OF IT OFF TO JEALOUSY

Job had everything a person could dream of wanting-and then some-so jealousy was never more than a stone’s throw away. The green-eyed monster is a little more subtle with people living everyday, typical lives, but jealousy doesn’t need much ground to take root and grow with vigor.

 

WE DON’T WANT TO ADMIT BAD THINGS MAY HAPPEN TO US!

If bad things happen to people who don’t deserve them, they could happen to anybody, including me. If I don’t want bad things to happen to me, (who does?), I have to persuade myself and everybody around me that the victim’s actions caused the problem. If blame can be assigned, then I’ll be safe as long as I’m good.

In other words, if I can claim that the cause of your problem is something you do that I don’t do, then what happened to you can’t happen to me. There is, of course, no logic to this, but it brings some shaky comfort to frightened hearts.
We see this thinking at work when people stare numbly at adversity and ask, “What did I do to deserve this?” Sometimes the answer is, “nothing.”

 

HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF "WHY ME?"

And it doesn’t have to be bad; you could be excited from something wonderful. Most often then not, I ask myself this after something I am looking forward to goes wrong.

Even at times when something goes wrong I lay awake at night and my thoughts wonder to what previously occurred. I am sure everyone does it at times, wishing for another try or chance.

You may lay awake thinking about your suffering, part of life’s suffering is misery’s shadow persisting/hanging on; not only do you suffer but you have to think about suffering.

I can’t prove this with statistics or find it any book I know of, yet I would say that more people either come to the faith or fall away because of this reason above all; the disturbance of suffering.

YOU SEE GOD USES TIMES OF SUFFERING…

...TO TEACH AND GROW US.

If you allow yourself to recount your sufferings, did you not learn more about faith while suffering then any other time?
 It has been said that; “Blessings are God’s whispers, he speaks in our conscience, but shouts to us in our suffering.”

“O my Comforter in sorrow,

My heart is faint within me.”

Jeremiah 8:18

Suffering becomes the only way to realize our hollow spiritual self. Pain is unmasked, and every person knows when something is not right when they are hurting. Pain insists upon being attended to.

So when you travel down this line of thought you come to the idea, why do I or someone else suffer when others don’t?

 

I KNOW SUFFERING IS EXHAUSTING AND PAIN HURTS

That is why it is called pain and suffering. If there were an escape a person of great wisdom and insight would have done it already. Yet Discipleship demands such trials to compel us towards renewal.

Read Hebrews 2:10

God, for whom and through whom everything was made,

chose to bring many children into glory.

And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering,

a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation.”

The real question is what to do when life has just punched us a good one, and Job’s comforters show up at our door.

Nobody says we have to let them in.

And certainly nobody says we have to entertain them.

And, most positively, nobody says we have to believe them.

“For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives,

So also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
2 Corinthians 1:5

We can sort out the who’s-to-blame-for-what after we get some solid ground under our feet and a little energy back into our lives.

But we still won’t want Job’s comforters anywhere around us…

...We will want people who care.

"Compassion"

To me not to be kind
 is evil of the mind.

No need to pray or preach,

Let us our children teach
 with every fond caress,

Pity and gentleness:

So in the end may we
God’s Kingdom cause to be.

Author - R.W. Service

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Mary Lindow

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"He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To do justly,

and to love kindness and mercy,

and to humble yourself

and walk humbly with your God."

(Micah 6:8)

ALTHOUGH I DO BELIEVE THAT THERE IS A FRESH EXPRESSION OF THE HEART OF THE FATHER STIRRING IN THE EARTH, I also see that there is a lot of "bashing" regularly occurring due to the abuse others have exhibited in their places of calling, aimed at those who have been true to what the Lord has asked them to do in His name, and this has caused not just a little sorrow.

WE MUST CLEARLY SEE THAT CORRUPTION CAN RAPIDLY OCCUR IN ANY PERSON OR ANY GROUP, ORGANIZED, RELAXED, OR OTHERWISE, when the tendency to think that they have arrived at a new or deeper revelation about something more so than others who perhaps express the Lord's voice differently.

ARROGANCE IS THE ASSUMPTION THAT I, INDIVIDUALLY, OR SOME GROUP THAT I AM A PART OF, COLLECTIVELY, IS SOMEHOW SUPERIOR TO SOMEONE ELSE OR SOME OTHER GROUP OF PEOPLE.

At the heart of arrogance is self-centeredness. And self-centeredness is the foundation of human sin. I believe any serious attempt at self-examination by an honest person will reveal that we humans are sinful and flawed beyond measure.

MARK TWAIN ONCE SAID,

“MAN IS THE ONLY ANIMAL THAT BLUSHES—

OR [FOR THAT MATTER] NEEDS TO.”

Paul writes, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand…Wretched man that I am! Who will save me from this body of death?”

Self consumes us. And every time we arrogantly place our own needs before others we are enslaved by sin.

WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

HOW SHOULD WE LIVE INSTEAD OF IN THAT ARROGANT MODE?

How about the words of Jesus?

What did he say?

"Everyone who exalts himself (for example, "Aren't I great? Aren't I right? Don't I always have the best opinion?") will be humbled.

But he who humbles himself (for example, "This is my opinion but it may not be right. I don't have a corner on the market of truth.") will be exalted."

THE LORD IS NOT SPEEDING UP THE DELIVERY OF ANY "FRESH THING" IN THE EARTH IN ORDER TO GET US TO HIS PURPOSES QUICKLY.

No. He is testing the hearts of men and women everywhere, looking for humility, selflessness, and honor, for those who although not perfect, have also served and pointed the way to salvation for many years previously.

THE LORD IS NOT GOING TO HONOR THE INDIVIDUAL WHO SHOUTS THAT "CHANGE IS NEEDED" OR THAT "CHANGE IS COMING" AND THEN SLASHES AND BURNS ANYTHING THAT DOESN'T EMBRACE THEIR VERSION OF IT.

THE LORD IS INTERESTED IN THE SOUND OF HUMILITY, THE HAND OF MERCY, AND THE VOICE OF GRACE.

These key character issues attract the pure and simple Presence of the Lord. Blessed are the PURE in heart...for they shall see God.

Until the Body of Christ that has been through many difficult and Shattering events and rids it of bitter and venomous words against one another and accepts that each one like sheep have gone astray and turned to what pleased them at the moment, there will be little evidence of much harvest.

THE LOST AND CONFUSED WORLD OUT THERE WATCHES CHRISTIANS TEAR EACH OTHER TO SHREDS DAILY AND WONDERS WHY WE ARE ASKING THEM TO JOIN US!

Remember Christ’s two great commandments—love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself.

Self-centeredness is the reversal of the great commandment.

Self-centeredness means to place ourselves first, in effect proclaiming our own form of self-government (not needing or wanting the advice or insight of others), therefore our neighbors become an afterthought, and God becomes simply a convenience to be considered only when it’s helpful to us. It is evident even in our language that self-centeredness is woven into the fabric of the human experience.

THE ONE TRUE SACRIFICIAL MODEL TOLD US THAT HE WOULD SEND THE VERY SPIRIT OF GOD IN ORDER TO CONVICT ALL PEOPLE OF SIN, TO COMFORT, TO GUIDE, AND TO SET THEM FREE.

Indeed. The very evidence of a redemptive type of life is in one who washes the feet of his/her brothers and his/her enemies in an act of cleansing the dirt from the road of life off of the pathway to the Truth.

May we truly hear the sound of the unmistakable heartbeat of a redemptive model rising up in clear resounding purity, personal

transparency, and in the covering of the multitude of sins by speaking and meditating only on those things that are noble, just, pure, and of a good report.

AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS NATIONS, THE ANTIDOTE TO ARROGANCE AND SELF-CENTEREDNESS IS A HEAVY DOSE OF HUMILITY.

That is; a profound willingness to recognize the value and respect the dignity of every human life. And, furthermore, a humble heart calls us to seek and serve Christ in ALL persons by giving of ourselves willingly for the welfare of other people.

THE LORD SAYS,

"Do not let a wise man brag about how wise he is.

Do not let a strong man boast about how strong he is.

Do not let a rich person brag about how rich he is.

But here is what the one who brags should boast about.

He should brag that he has understanding and knows me.

I want him to know that I am the Lord.

No matter what I do on earth, I am always kind, fair and right.

And I take delight in that," announces the Lord.

JEREMIAH 9:23-24 (New International Reader's Version)

Duplication and sharing of this writing is welcomed
provided that complete source and website information for Mary Lindow is included. 
Thank You
Copyright © 2013 " THE MESSENGER " ~ Mary Lindow    
www.marylindow.com

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