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Wednesday
Mar022011

Your Own Personal Theology of Suffering ...

Did you know that ALL of us have developed our own theology of suffering?  Does that surprise you?  Your theology of suffering might be Biblically sound or not.  Perhaps you have never thought of it – and maybe you would disagree that you have your own theology of suffering, but let me ask you a question or two …

When you or someone you love suffers through some kind of loss, what is your reaction?  Do you struggle with these thoughts – Why, God?  Why me?  I trust you…I believe in you…I don’t understand how this could happen to me …or…Your theology of suffering may look something like this – If I pray hard enough, trust hard enough, God will answer and give me the results that I am asking for…

Let me give you some ideas of other’s theology of suffering from the Bible to get us started:

Job’s theology of suffering went something like this:  Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?”  In all this, Job did not sin in what he said…“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold….I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted….Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know…..My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you…I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.”

Job’s wife; however, had a different theology of suffering – “Are you still holding on to your integrity?  Curse God and die!”

Abraham when he was tested to lay down his only son, Isaac – “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.”

Joseph – when he revealed himself to his brothers, “I am your brother, Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt.  And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.  For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping.  But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.  So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.”

Mordecai (Esther’s cousin) – “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape.  For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this?”

Suffering is inevitable – In this world we WILL suffer.  How might we not only endure those difficult things that come into our lives but grow and gain hope through them?

Romans 5 helps us gain a Biblical perspective on suffering – “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

 

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