Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In Other Words Tuesday ~ Suffering

It's In Other Words Tuesday.  This week our quote was chosen by Kathryn of Expectant Hearts.

I enjoy participating in this meme.  My mind is stimulated as I attempt to concisely share my opinion and thoughts on the chosen weekly quote.  I love how each participating blogger often has a unique take.  It may be from personal experience or just a different viewpoint.   

Here's Kathryn's chosen quote:

Suffering; what a timely quote for me in this season of my life.  From personal experience, I have to say a resounding YES in agreement with the author of this quote.

I cringe when I hear some well known preachers teach a health, wealth and prosperity message.  From my Bible reading, I read something quite different. 

As a Christian, there are many blessings I wouldn't trade for anything.  I know I am never alone.  I know I am loved.  I have joy as I abide in Christ.  He promises to provide for my needs (not all my wants).  I know the end of the story and ...I'm on the winning side.

But in the meantime, the Christian life may include ...suffering.   

1 Peter 4:12-13 says:
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

As I'm currently in the midst of a trial, I can tell you that I listen to and seek out wisdom from people who have been there too.  Although I don't broadcast personal details of my life to all, there've been a few close relationships I've formed with bloggers who have reached out to me.  How thankful I am that they are willing to share similiar trials.  Yes, we each have different particulars but they understand as they too have suffered.

Some examples that come to my mind are:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Death of a child
  • Miscarriage
  • Infertility
  • Financial problems
  • Abortion
  • Divorce
  • Unsaved loved ones
If you've ever experienced trials, the people who have also experienced that trial or a similar one will be the best people to minister to you. 

I'm not saying that being there, listening, sending a card or helping in some way isn't a good and comforting thing to do, even if you've never experienced that particular trial.

But I've found that people who seem to have an easy life without many trials, can sometimes be quicker to judge.  Think of Job's friends.  Yes, we should consider whether there's sin in our lives causing the trial.  Yes, we should know that choices have consequences.  Sometimes we may suffer for something someone esle did.  And sometimes suffering comes simply from living in a sin soaked world. 

But I also want to say that I don't want to waste my suffering and trials. 
  • There are important lessons to be learned. 
  • My character is being built during trials and suffering.
  • I learn to draw closer to the Lord as my ultimate source of comfort.
  • I want to be open and sensitive to others who are going through suffering.
  • I want to learn to focus on who God is; His attributes.
  • I want to learn to ...trust and obey even when I don't understand.
  • I want to keep my eyes on Jesus and not focused always on the problems themselves.
What about you?
What have you learned from suffering?
How do you minister to others who are suffering?

Blessings and love,

In Other Words Tuesday ~ SufferingSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

There is joy in the suffering! There is hope in the growing! There is love in the healing! There is peace as the storm rages around us! There is growth in the suffering that would NEVER come if we didn't go through it!

I praise God for the suffering I have endured and will endure because of the LOVE He gave to me and the power of His grace to get me through it!

Hugs and love,

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Oh My!! This was my prayer before God this morning. My body is starting to show some aches from the past couple of years of suffering. I marked in at 475 points out of 500 for stress...that wasn't fun to see. I also know that He is with me always and even if the world can place a number on stress levels, it is He that promises to be with us in all the events of life.

This quote is totally how I feel at this point in life. I can also see that He never allowed me to go through a trial that He hadn't prepared me for first...I am so glad He didn't tell me ahead of time what they would be. :)

Thanks this blessed me today....and is why I had to post my "Bravo, God" post yesterday...to remind myself to see Him in all things and celebrate!

Love and Hugs,

myletterstoemily said...

dear debbie,

these are wise words, but a little
discouraging. if i have not endured
cancer, can i not still comfort someone
who is in the midst of the battle?

i know this is an oversimplification.
your admonishment, really, is for us
not to judge or hand out glib words.

i do know, also, that i have a special
grace to encourage those who are
suffering through trials i have been
through, too.

grace, grace,

Debbie said...

Lea- Yes, you are so right. Maybe you did hit on a note of discouragement in me as I think I've been a bit disappointed lately. But absolutely, we can also be there for others going through suffering. Preparing a meal, holding a hand, praying for them and with them. For me that is so appreciated.

I also have the feeling you do have that special grace as you share on "my letters to emily".

Yes ...grace and love.


myletterstoemily said...

i'm sorry that people have let you down.
i hate that. when someone responds with
"less than" grace or downright judgment,
oh, i am sorely tested.

not knowing your specific trials, i will
just pray "the prayer than never fails"
as father tim always says.

"Lord, thy perfect will be done in
debbie's sweet life."


Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

This is a wonderful post, full of truth that isn't always easy to hear but we need it because of the kinds of things you mentioned that are being taught from well-known teachers (the name it, claim it teaching which I like to call blab and grab! lol).

Carol Joy said...

This is just an out of the blue comment here before I leave for Norway (in case I don't get back to you before). Debbie do you know what a darling, sweet girl/friend/Norwegian sister you are? Just wanted to say that and once more tell you how much you are loved by us, and how many times in Norway we will be saying "oh I wish Debbie were here, I wish Debbie could see this, etc.etc."....so know that even though you didn't climb in our suitcases and come with us, you will be in our hearts. And remember, let's keep praying for each other in this life process, ok? We need yours just as much as you need ours! (and LOVE that you are praying for my daughter's marriage, thanks!)

With a ton of love from your 3rd sis,

Carol Joy

Andrea said...

Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

D.J. Hughes said...

I was drawn to the same passage in II Corinthians. I appreciate this post. So heartfelt, and so true.

I am glad that you have people in your life to walk through this particular trial with. That is so important. I'll be praying for you.

Sonja said...


I'll add my 2 cents to the comments above. This post is a really important one. There are so many levels and kinds of suffering, and to share the love of Jesus is what I pray will flow out my own heart toward others. It's for sure that I have been on both sides of this one, as have most of us.

Some very wise words here Debbie, and I am just nodding my head up and down in agreement! :)

Love you my friend, will miss you, but like Carol said... we will be thinking of our pal Debbie as we view Norway with huge eyes!!

Love you sister... will be praying daily for you.



Lisa said...

We can never really understand what a person is going through unless we have walked in their shoes...but when we have the compassion for others' as Christ has our hearts will ache when others are in pain or struggling. Many blessings hugs and love to you Debbie. I have shared with you recent struggles my family is having and all I can say sister is one day we will be with Jesus and all this will be history.

Joan Davis said...

Wow Debbie - fantastic post! Your words really spoke to my heart. None of us enjoy suffering, but it is such a comfort to know we are not alone in the boat. God gives us such comfort when He brings others into our lives who understand our sorrows and hurts. And in addition as you said, we are able to truly comfort others when we have experienced comfort from God. I love 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 that you placed in the middle of your post. Yes...He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort!

Living for Him, Joan

Denise said...

Great post.

Karen Mortensen said...

I loved your words today Debbie. Very nice. I know I was prepared for some of the trials I have had.
The ones I wasn't prepared for was helped by my faith. I know things happen for a reason. We can help others who have been through what we have. Sometimes it doesn't matter if we have been through something or not because we are to bear one anothers burdens.

Saleslady371 said...

I think my suffering has made me a better listener and a better friend. I know I'm closer to Jesus because of it. Great message, Debbie!

Cathy said...

That was a great post, Debbie, and thanks for those scripture verses. I do think some things I have been through have made me more compassionate. I have even thought about a song about suffering. Love and Hugs ~

JottinMama said...

You are so wise and so strong.

I'm horrible with this whole suffering thing - just horrible. I read the scriptures that talk about suffering and trials and I hear stories about other people going through very difficult things and as I face my own issues - I whine and freak out and whine some more. I should really grow up.

I'm so thankful for you, Debbie. You and your blog are a blessing to me :)

Awesome post.


Loren said...

What true words today Debbie! Suffering when allowed/embraced can be the biggest gift ever! I have learned in my times of suffering that My Faith is deepened, I change to be more Christ-like as well!

I have learned to be compassionate to others who are suffering as well!

blessings to you my friend

Faith Imagined said...

I love the quote and especially your insights on it. I really appreciate advice on a certain trial from a person who has overcome similar trials. It does make a difference.

Tammi said...

Just as Much-Afraid (in the book Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard) was assigned two companions, Sorrow and Suffering, to join her on her journey, each of us at one point or another will find ourselves facing these "two sisters" as well. I was first introduced to these two "sisters" when I lost my 22 yr. old sister in 1997. Be convinced that God will use this time of suffering for your greater good and for His glory. Others will be blessed by what He teaches you in the "dark shadow" of Suffering. His secret messages sometimes come to us wrapped up in "the most unappealing paper" ---- Sorrow and Suffering. But hidden inside is a gift He intends for you to share.
Praying for you,

hk said...

I know your insight comes form experience. God bless you, my friend.

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