Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Christians and Suffering - Five Myths About Christians and Suffering

Christians suffer too. There is no getting around that. The healing which never comes: the relationship, which despite everyone's best efforts just fell apart; the death of a loved one: the financial crisis which seems insurmountable; the impossible job situation; the desperate prayer which seems unanswered...
It seems that a lot of Christians want answers to suffering. I'm not too sure that there are many. But sometimes in our search for a reason to that heartfelt "Why?" we can fall prey to one of these five main myths about suffering. Some of them, unfortunately, even put upon us by well-meaning Christians. Have you ever believed any of these myths?
Myth Number 1: Christians should not go through times of suffering.
Deep down inside, there is a part of us which protests, 'But I'm a Christian. I love God. He loves me... so bad things shouldn't happen to me because God protects His children.' I believe that God does love His children, and sometimes He does protect us from terrible things. But we still live in a fallen, messed up world, and sometimes Christians get the consequences of that just like everybody else! The Bible actually tells us to expect trials and difficulties.
After all, God doesn't cause suffering - and would not cause suffering for anyone, Christian or not. Life just happens, and sometimes it hurts. The only place we will ever be safe from suffering is when we get to heaven. Then, the Bible says, 'He will wipe away every tear'
Myth Number 2: If Christians suffer it is because they have done something wrong.
Not necessarily. Of course there are consequences to wrong doing and sometimes suffering can be the result. God does discipline us for things that we do wrong too. BUT we always know why it is happening. What sort of parent would shout at their child and send her sobbing to the bedroom without ever telling them what they did wrong? That would be both cruel and pointless. God is a good Father, and never disciplines us without telling us what we have done wrong and what we need to do to put it right.
So if you are suffering the consequences of a broken relationship because of your unkind words, God probably is disciplining you. But if you are ill and have been for a long time and you don't understand why, that is not discipline. That is living in a fallen, messed up world and God wants to pour out His mercy on you, not His judgment.
Myth Number 3: If I had enough faith, this would not be happening to me.
Pure condemnation. Yes, God does look for and reward faith, but suffering comes even to people who have the most enormous faith. Look back at some of the early Christian martrys: they had the faith to die for what they believed, and they suffered for it. Sometimes we just have to walk through things and our faith will actually increase, even though we don't immediately see the answers to prayer that we most want.
'Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.' (Hebrews 11:3) We must hold on to our faith through times of suffering, because God does reward faith, but sometimes the reward will com later and for now we just have to keep pressing on through.
Myth Number 4: This is pointless,
Undeserved suffering can seem pointless, difficult, painful and beyond our understanding. But the Bible says that we should 'Consider it pure joy, brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance... so you might be complete and mature.' (James 1v5) Wow! That is difficult to do sometimes.
God does not cause suffering but He will always teach us through it. C.S.Lewis once stated that 'Pain is the classroom of God' and there is always more we can learn of Him when we are hurting. We might not want the lessons at the time, but later we will value them because they came at such a cost.
Myth Number 5: God has abandoned me.
God Has never abandoned you. Not for a second. He has wept with you, felt your pain, sung His love song over you, been with you every painful, heartbreaking step of the way.
Sometimes, in the darkness, we can feel that God is distant, or uncaring. It is so important in those times to cling to what we know is the truth of who He his, rater than relying on our emotions. We cannot trust our emotions. We can always trust our God. Keep tight hold of your faith in Him. You will not always feel this alone.
He has not and never will abandon you. He loves you far too much to ever be able to do that.
For more on this subject, and to read about our journey through difficult times, please come to http://www.ThingsTooWonderful.com

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