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I wanted to comment on 2 paragraphs in the
chapter on Pain in the book Prayer, Faith and Healing.
Paragraph 1 from the book:
"Believers throughout the ages have found different ways to view the problem of pain, and we need to search for answers that make sense in our own heart. Dr. Richmond, for example, doesn't necessarily share Tim Doyle's view that God wills suffering as a means of drawing sinners closer to Him. " I think that we live in an unfinished creation," he says. "God seeks our willingness to participate in the completion of that creation and the humanizing of it. Pain is part of that. God is not responsible for it, but God will give us strength to help us cope." If our particular view of God is adding to our suffering rather than easing it, we may want to re-examine those beliefs, Dr. Richmond suggests."
My comments (in black):
""Believers throughout the ages have found different ways to view the problem of pain, and we need to search for answers that make sense in our own heart."
What we really need to do is understand the truth. The truth is - God is sovereign over every and all situations in our life and we need to go to Him in prayer. We will never have all the answers this side of eternity and no explanation may make sense. We just have to trust God ! Our answers may change with circumstances, but God is the only place to find comfort. Job never received an answer to his suffering, but his conclusion to his situation was, "I thought I knew you, but now I have seen you." Translated - The suffering has brought me closer to you and now I have an even better understanding of who You are - - and thats what we really need. It's really not a question of "Why" but of "Who"...... The "Who" is Jesus Christ, the sovereign king of the universe!
Dr. Richmond, for example, doesn't necessarily share Tim Doyle's view that God wills suffering as a means of drawing sinners closer to Him.
Consider the Book of Job. In addition, it may be useful to share my own story - I've been in a wheelchair for 8 years, and sick for 22 years.
I am convinced - Had it not been for the disease, I would never have given my life to Christ!
There are alot of reasons for suffering, some we know, many we don't, but until one truly experiences the position of brokenness, helplessness and at the point where one no longer wants to live - then, and only then will one see the miracle of Romans 8:28 (And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose). For the first time in my life, I realized I needed Jesus Christ. Suffering can do that and I praise God for the hidden blessing of the disease, because it brought me to Him.
I think that we live in an unfinished creation," he says. "God seeks our willingness to participate in the completion of that creation and the humanizing of it. Pain is part of that. God is not responsible for it, but God will give us strength to help us cope
God is not responsible for pain???? Help me understand your position because it sounds like the sovereignty of God is being brought into question. One cannot believe in God's sovereignty if they don't believe He has something as simple for Him as pain firmly in His grasp. Nothing happens to us without His knowledge and approval! God certainly gives us gifts, such as strength, and Scripture says,
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength. " Phil 4:13
But Paul gives credit, not to his strength, but to his weakness:
"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
God desires we respond as Paul does - not in our strength - but in His strength !
If our particular view of God is adding to our suffering rather than easing it, we may want to re-examine those beliefs, Dr. Richmond suggests.
The life of Christ is clearly, the life of suffering !(Please see path of Christ !).
As followers of Christ, the Bible says we will suffer:
"Remember the words I spoke to you: `No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also." John 15:20
"To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. " 1 Peter 2:21
"For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, " Phil 1:29
If we are truly Christians, then our view of God will always add to our suffering ! Consider Fox's Book of Martyrs.......Check out Voice of the Martyrs magazine.......
When we think of God, we must think of the life of Christ - and that life was one of unmatched suffering !
Paragraph 2 from the book:
4. Cope with one day at a time.
Suffering is easier to handle in small does, says Tull. "Don't ask how are you're going to endure this for the next 20 years," he says. "Just concentrate on how you're going to get through today."
Take the long view.
Paradoxically, Tim Doyle finds that he can get through difficult days of focusing on what he calls God's eternal perspective. He cites the Bible passage in which Paul writes, "I consider that sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18 NRSV) Another key passage for Doyle: "For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure." (2 Corinthians 4:17 NRSV) "I receive tremendous comfort in God's eternal promises, as they provide and endless source of strength to help me through the toughest days. As my body weakens, His strength, through His promises, increases," says Doyle.
Suffering is easier to handle in small does, says Tull. "Don't ask how are you're going to endure this for the next 20 years," he says. "Just concentrate on how you're going to get through today." Take the long view. Paradoxically, Tim Doyle finds that he can get through difficult days of focusing on what he calls God's eternal perspective.
I don't think paradoxically is the correct word. My theology on a proper response to suffering is (in order):
My key is that you cannot have a proper Daily Perspective without Trusting God, Developing an Eternal Perspective and Living with Joy first. So, while Dr. Tull says, "Just concentrate on how you're going to get through today", I tend to agree, BUT NOT UNTIL one has the first 3 steps down first !
My sister struggles with "getting through today" because the circumstances of life as a single parent of 2 kids, being handicapped in a wheelchair, a difficult job, divorced with limited financial resources are all realities that will probably be with her tomorrow. Now, add other problems that come up daily for all of us and her and - - - quickly she reaches her breaking point ! Who wouldnt????
How do you just "get through today" when tomorrow welcomes the same, if not more struggles? It's a miserable thought by itself!
Understand one point - - - Christians - How you live your life on earth determines your capacity to glorify God in heaven! Forever !
We need to understand what we do here, on earth, how we respond to our sufferings and difficulties, has eternal consequences - - - again, forever !!!!!!
When you couple "how am I going to get through today" with an eternal view, it gives meaning to the mundane, painful, and hopeless tasks of the day.
Consider, what heaven will be like!
Revelation chapters 4-5
Revelation chapters 21-22
Christians, heaven is our real home. We need to keep an eternal perspective daily; that's the only way "we are just going to get through today."
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