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Legitimate Suffering

I have been thinking about the purpose of suffering in life. There are many points of view out and about in society. All you have to do is start talking and it is sometimes surprising what comes out. Christians have a wide range of views and when one starts discussing legitimate illness like those in the brain (or mental illnesses) the range of views many times leave the suffering ones without hope or help and without dignity or respect. We are continually made aware of this as we step out and share our message with the church. Somehow we have adopted the point of view that suffering has no place within the church. And yet, this thought is inconsistent with the life of Christ and scripture. How is it that we are so comfortable with comfortable life that we forget this???? Are we really that lukewarm?

Let's face it...people who suffer make us uncomfortable. This is true with the fact that many are enemies of the cross. Jesus and his life and death are uncomfortable facts we must come to terms with. Taking up our cross daily is uncomfortable and certainly sometimes not a Joy Ride! Christ came to set us free from the law of sin and death but never promised us a bed of roses for life. He did promise to give us grace sufficient to the day. And he did promise to never leave us nor forsake us. And he did promise that there would always be deliverance in his time.

So, why do we mistreat our fellow man when they suffer? Because we are uncomfortable with this reality. Somehow we have a superior spiritual view and we believe that we deserve to live untainted from suffering or pain. But if this were true then the life of Christ and his devoted followers is illegitimate!!!

When a friend has been diagnosed with a brain disease like bipolar disorder, a large group of Christian society says they just need to trust God. After all he came to give us life and that more abundantly. Yes, he did but life more abundant in context with all scripture is not one free from pain, sorrow, suffering or disease! The abundant life is one the rises above the pain, sorrow or suffering and is not down trodden or destroyed because of it. I wish all Christians could get this point. It would make our jobs much easier.


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