Jump to content

Myth: God Won't Allow Us To Suffer More Than We Can Bear?


JenellYB
 Share

Recommended Posts

This is an absolutely NOT biblical idea that comnes out of snipping text out of context and twisting its meaning, but how often do we hear people say the bible tells us God won't lay more on us than we can bear?

 

The actual source of this perverse idea is:

 

12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to BEAR it.

14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

 

Now if you read and consider IN CONTEXT what this states is that there is NO TEMPTATION (to SIN) that is not common to man, AND that GOD is faithful in not suffering us TO BE TEMPTED ABOVE that we are able to bear! It says NOTHING about God not allowing us to SUFFER more than we can bear! It says God always provides us a way out OF FALLING TO THAT SIN, OF RESISITING THAT TEMPTATION TO SIN.

 

If God has promised to never lay more suffering or anything else on us to bear,then WHY would there be so many instructions to help bear one another's burdens? If none of us will have burdens more than we can bear, why would anyone need help bearing??

 

romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to BEAR the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

 

Galations ch 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

2 BEAR ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

5 For every man shall BEAR his own burden.

 

Now in this Galations passage, some try to use that "second" occurance of the word BEAR to discount, discredit the :first" use of it here.....as if to say that asused in vs 5, it is saying every man is supposed to bear his own burden and bear it alone, letting us off the hook helping others bear their burdens. But that isn;t what it says at all. Ultimately every man DOES have to bear his own burden, whether he has help with it from another or not. It is still his burden. And in vs 4, every man clearly has right to take credit for his own work, as his own work, no one else has right to take credit in it. How many times have we heard someone say of another's work or accomplishment, well, /you/he couldn't have done it without me or whatever, taking away from what they did?

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Norm, I agree. I think our 'burdens' are merely what is part of experiencing in this life...itis what we make of those experiences that most often really matters. And if you look at most of what even in some discussions here gets tossed out when someone asks "why does God allow...." it is stuff that is either simply part of the natural phenomenon of our material existence and environment, and more so a while lot what we, people, do to ourselves and others, directly or indirectly, whether we even know it or not. And that too is simply part of our human experience, we all have freedom to make choices and take actions, and the consequences simply playout. Sometimes for a long long time, to affect even people not even born yet.

I think in the texts I referenced here, there is real wisdom, whether god is/was involved in it or not, or even 'real' or not.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Suffering teaches seems to teach us lessons that causes us to resist making more mistakes. Suffering has taught me that I just need to learn how to gain knowledge from every experience, to go inward and to experience everything. When I lose the inner communion with all that there is, It seems I am thrown out to endure the pain and suffering of the external world until once again I return to inner peace. Now, the magic is to make that peace inner and physical. That is where service to humanity comes in to play.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find myself thinking that if there is any reason or purpose in our experience here in this life, that suffering may very well be one of the ways in which we are brought to experiences that best teach us, help us grow.

I cannot say I am comfortable with suffering, mine or others', that may be even suffering to the death. But I believe I have seen those that have sufferred even to death, that there was come of in them and/or others around them, signficant learning opportunity and growth, on all levels psychologically, emotionally, spiritually. That even out of unremitted physical suffering of the body, there came healing of the mind and heart and soul.

 

Is there some "purpose" toward that, or is it simply the sufferring is what it is, and the learning and growth and healing, in what we, each person, makes of that experience? Do we perhaps even call to ourselves, the kind of experiences, which might include suffering, that is needed for or conductive to opportunity for some growth or healing we crave, even if consciously unawares? I cannot say I know. But it is something I have come to, at least at some level, of recognition and acceptance in.

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think God tests us as can be made clear in dozens of scripture verse. He tests. The Enemy tempts. There is a difference between the two. Ultimately I think God and the Enemy are in cohoots for our own benefit.

 

More than we can bear? Well, what does that mean? If we are emotionally crushed by loss, and we lose our faith, should we be losing our faith? Are we really putting so much trust in God that we can bear? Aren't we supposed to then rely on others for our comfort? I firmly believe that God suffers with us and works through other people. If all we can do is be there for someone like St. Theresa, then, well that's all we can do. Life is suffering, it's clear that God isn't going to alleviate that for us if we choose to trust and believe him. Not to be flippant about suffering, but we have to bear it. And if we are not the ones suffering and we see others suffering, we damn well better do everything in our power to be there for that person. If we suffer, too, the Bible is clear in that God doesn't rebuke us if we shake our fists at him and even curse him. Better that than ignore him. Is the Bible clear about the purpose of the suffering? Are we willing to accept that he wants to conform us to his image? Are we willing to accept that we are made in God's image and aren't fully refined to BE that image?

 

I take God to be supreme. He creates good and evil and ordains horrific things to happen, for a number of reasons. All for our own good. And we can't see what that good is.

Edited by matt67
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jenell, if God is not part of our burdens, then what business does he have to call himself our cosmic parent? He shoulders our burdens as much as he ordains them.

 

So if there is no theistic God, and we're all subject to karma and reincarnation, there is no reason to feel pain and suffer. No reason to ask why. All that is part of our ignorance, our being in the cycle of samsara. We have no one to blame but ourselves. If we have compassion, we have taken a step in the right direction by seeing our suffering in others - which leads to gratitude and right action of alleviating the suffering.

 

Or, can good karma of one person be cancelled out by the bad karma of another person who is in one of our past lives? Was Hitler's bad karma so bad that it affected the good karma of people who perished in the Holocaust? is Amida right in that there is so much bad karma that it is impossible to attain enlightenment, so he will do it for us if we invoke him (raise him to a god?).

 

As a Christian I am assured by scripture that God suffers with me. That he knows what I am going through (because he laid it on me).

 

My son just had some tubes inserted in his ears to release excess fluid. I ask the doctor why he has this condition. He tells me that it could be a genetic predisposition from either my family history or my wife's. Now I had ear aches when I was a kid but not fluid. We all did I am sure. Or is a mixture of both pour genes? Was the gene there in one of us, latent, but activated when my son was created from that soup? Is it really then our fault?

 

We have to give him ear drops which are an antibiotic and it supposedly burns him to some extent. He cries "I'm sorry" as we give it to him and screams for us to stop. Now, his suffering is the only way he will get better. We hate giving it to him and hate to see him in pain. But we have no choice. He has to have it. We tell him he's not doing anything wrong to warrant being sorry for. Does he get it though? He perceived unwarranted pain and thinks he did something wrong. Is that his fault, then? Yes.

 

Why can't we cut God some slack then? Why have so much disbelief in him as is claimed to be revealed in Christian scripture? I don't see the God of the OT or NT as being a moral monster. Or, we can just suck it up and say, too bad, it's your fault. Something you did in a past life.

 

Now, granted the doctrine of sin is complex and one can argue that we're at fault which is why we are in the mess we are in. I don't find anywhere in scripture that sin is the devil's fault. He just eggs us on, the dirty S.O.B. but hey that's his job isn't it? Should I blame a plumber for smelling bad after he;s just cleaned out a septic tank?

 

A child might be disobeying his or her parent to not do something or they'll get hurt. They don't listen and guess what they get hurt. Whose fault is that? Theirs. The parents? Both? Should the parents have stopped the kid before they got hurt? Should the kid have listened and stopped messing around before he got hurt? Now the parent shouldn't say I told you so. You suck up that desire to do that which you were inclined to do. They make sure their kid is okay, that they are not hurt too badly, mend the wound and then, later on, impose discipline or punishment. You show them the consequence of their actions for disobeying you. You show them that when you do A, B will happen.

 

A Buddhist might say to a kid, well. you caused that injury because of something you did. I understand what you're going through, because I did it myself. They help their kid and make sure they're okay, then they discipline or punish them too. The only way to follow the eightfold path is to understand what it means not to follow it through experience. If we recall our past lives, then maybe we saved ourselves some "time" to come to the realization of the source of the pain.

 

The only way to obey the commandments is to break them.

Edited by matt67
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My son just had some tubes inserted in his ears to release excess fluid. We have to give him ear drops which are an antibiotic and it supposedly burns him to some extent. He cries "I'm sorry" as we give it to him and screams for us to stop. Now, his suffering is the only way he will get better. We hate giving it to him and hate to see him in pain. But we have no choice. He has to have it. We tell him he's not doing anything wrong to warrant being sorry for. Does he get it though? He perceived unwarranted pain and thinks he did something wrong. Is that his fault, then? Yes.

 

Does this analogy apply to victims of famines, floods, tornadoes, terminal cancer, etc.?

 

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I all ready answered that in the post. What do you think I'm saying? Everything is everyone's fault. No one is immune or innocent to anything in this life. A Buddhist would say they brought the suffering onto themselves from a past life. A Christian, well, I might say that I don't know why God does this? But I trust that they are ultimately safe in his hands. And perhaps he's compelling people to step up to help those who are suffering.

 

If someone dies in a famine, or a war, or of a disease, then chances are that the guilty ones are the ones who caused the famine through international policy, who voted for a political candidate who bought into what corporations tell them to do, who have ravaged the land for the last century or two before and not given the people their share of money and an adequate infrastructure, or roads, or clean water, or food, or failed to give them medicine freely instead of worrying about their own profit margin, that could have been used to heal or at least comfort them, and those guilty ones who would rather change the channel of the news to watch a sitcom.

 

So maybe God wants us to be callous and uncaring to hand us over to our sin (take your pick which one) so one day we might wake up and be confronted with some serious stuff and no one will be there for us. Or not.

Edited by matt67
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is unclear about what I wrote then? I don't think that natural disasters are God's wrath to sinners, but God wants to get our attention. That's the only thing I can come up with. In scripture heals a blind man. Everyone questions what he did, if the man was really blind and is he really the guy who was blind. The guy can only say that he doesn't know the why's, only that he was blind and now he can see. Another story goes that the Pharisees want to put Jesus on the spot and ask him if the guy he healed was crippled because he was a sinner and got what he deserves. Jesus essentially tells him that the man was made crippled and was healed for the glory of God. I'd basically like to think that I really do not know what God is up to, but I trust him in what he does no matter what I think. He wants me to trust him. Which I try and do. What I think he does expect from me is to do whatever I can to comfort or alleviate those victims of their pain. Be Jesus to them. Be Him to them. A reason why and any reason we might think then is ultimately a futile question and answer because there is nothing done to help others in it. Basically, be compassionate and give a damn about others over yourself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I take God to be supreme. He creates good and evil and ordains horrific things to happen, for a number of reasons. All for our own good. And we can't see what that good is.

 

It is declarative statements like the above that led to my dissillusionment from the Bible as a reliable source of consistant knowledge and wisdom to illumine our steps through life.

 

For, it is quite possible to justify the above using selected scripture reference. Matt is quite correct about that. I couldn't disagree more, however. I think such a deity would not be worthy of praise.

 

But, one can come up with an entirely different conclusion with a different selection of scripture - such as can be found, for example, in what has come to be known as "The Jefferson Bible" (recently restored and placed on display in the Smithsonian Museum).

 

I think that it is impossible to come to any kind of rational, wholistic worldview when you take the Bible in its entirety.

 

NORM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matt wrote: "So if there is no theistic God, and we're all subject to karma and reincarnation"

 

So how do you get this "either/or", this dichotomy that if there is no theistic God, then we are all subject to karma etc.....as if there are no other possible options to the matter? I must strongly disagree with this idea.

 

I am puzzled at how anything about a theistic god vs karma and reincarnation got brought into this. In my own references to suffering as the outplaying of consequence of our own and others' choices and actions, even when we don't know them or that are not even born yet, and often without even our knowing it, i was refering to actual natural consequences, not anything like that. Things like mismanagment of land that later results in devastating floods, droughts, land erosion...chemical/toxin pollution that affect people far away or decades later....or human actions toward/against others, that continue to ripple out to others and over time into signficant conflicts and wars.

 

 

Matt, i have not expressed disbeleif in God. I am one here that does make known my belief in God. I have rejected some common human/religious constructs, images, of God. Including the one you seem to hold.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is unclear about what I wrote then? I don't think that natural disasters are God's wrath to sinners, but God wants to get our attention.

 

Why would God want to get the attention of those who are comfortable by inflicting great pain and suffering on those who are not? First, we (the comfortable) may not be aware of the suffering in order to react. Or, we may not be able to react. Or, we may not give a damn (which, in reality, is often the case).

 

Why not inflict the suffering on those whose attention God wanted to get? It would be much more effective.

 

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find the whole "God wants to get our attention" thing so demeaning to any concept or image of God...as if God is so humanly petty and insecure as to use any means, even throwing temper tantrums and harming and killing people, just to get people's attention.

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel there must be a purpose for suffering. It must be for our good. We don’t see it that way when we are in the midst of it, but it is usually revealed in time. It seems in the pain my mind will surrender and focus on God. At that time I don't see the pure consciousness watching, guiding and giving me what I need. I don't see or feel God all around me, above, below inside and out. The pain seems to bring me back from my distractions. I can get distracted with the things in God and that attachment to those things seems to cause the suffering. If my attention is redirected to the unity and omnipresence of the engergy I call God then I see a message in the pain, sent privately to me. Enjoy the big picture, the all pervading consciousness of God in every form. Big disasters blow my mind and take me beyond it to a yearning to do something to help. They redirect my mind to service, which brings me back to love or an increase in love beyond my mind that can't figure it out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Soma

 

And service is what truly matters in this walk. It saddens me when I heard from mostly conservative Christians that since they are "justified by faith" they can give license to actions that are so contrary to what Jesus taught. That is why I have come to some of the conclusions I have come to about theodicy. I believe what Jesus says when he will draw all humanity to him. Perhaps to him that means one way or another. It doesn't mean I am flippant about suffering. If you can believe what Jesus said in that when two or more are together in his name, he is there, since he also said the kingdom of god was within us, then it seems logical (if that is possible in speaking about such a topic), to say that, as I mentioned above, God perhaps expects us to be there for one another in his name.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel there must be a purpose for suffering. It must be for our good. We don’t see it that way when we are in the midst of it, but it is usually revealed in time. It seems in the pain my mind will surrender and focus on God. At that time I don't see the pure consciousness watching, guiding and giving me what I need. I don't see or feel God all around me, above, below inside and out. The pain seems to bring me back from my distractions. I can get distracted with the things in God and that attachment to those things seems to cause the suffering. If my attention is redirected to the unity and omnipresence of the engergy I call God then I see a message in the pain, sent privately to me. Enjoy the big picture, the all pervading consciousness of God in every form. Big disasters blow my mind and take me beyond it to a yearning to do something to help. They redirect my mind to service, which brings me back to love or an increase in love beyond my mind that can't figure it out.

 

But as you describe here doesn't happen to everyone in their suffering. I've had the painful experience of watching several people suufer to their deaths, and that never happened, or at least, didn't seem to, they never seem to come to acceptance, they died with their terror. That is such a heartbreaking thing. So I must go back to our choice and decision to make something postive come out of it being crtically involved.

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel there must be a purpose for suffering. It must be for our good. We don’t see it that way when we are in the midst of it, but it is usually revealed in time. It seems in the pain my mind will surrender and focus on God.

 

Soma,

 

I fail to understand how the starvation of a Somali child leads to good. Children have been starving in Africa and elsewhere for generations and it still is going on. Further, the poor child did nothing to deserve that fate. This seems to me to be a very poor system of motivating good.

 

George

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel there must be a purpose for suffering. It must be for our good. We don’t see it that way when we are in the midst of it, but it is usually revealed in time. It seems in the pain my mind will surrender and focus on God. At that time I don't see the pure consciousness watching, guiding and giving me what I need. I don't see or feel God all around me, above, below inside and out. The pain seems to bring me back from my distractions. I can get distracted with the things in God and that attachment to those things seems to cause the suffering. If my attention is redirected to the unity and omnipresence of the engergy I call God then I see a message in the pain, sent privately to me. Enjoy the big picture, the all pervading consciousness of God in every form. Big disasters blow my mind and take me beyond it to a yearning to do something to help. They redirect my mind to service, which brings me back to love or an increase in love beyond my mind that can't figure it out.

 

Soma,

 

I don't know if you read a similiar thread we had going on suffering, but my views there were to question this 'suffering for a purpose' theory. Whilst I think it fits okay as an adult capable of making decisions to change one's situation/circumstances, I don't know what a 10 year old girl trapped in sexual bondage (perhaps one of those kept captive in a cellar in Belgium by peadophiles) would think of your statement that her pain and suffering has a purpose which is for her own good. I find it hard to imagine that anything purposeful would be revealed in time concerning her pain and suffering.

 

Cheers

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

GeorgeW

If we are going to call ourselves Christians, whether PC or not, we have to start with what the Bible says about suffering. If you don't believe that anything in the Bible is true, well, not even as the Word of God, but as the word of people whose faith in their time and place in history we have no right to question, well that's your choice, but if you don't know what it says, then what qualifies you to discuss the matter. It seems a bit silly to dismiss the past so easily because without them thinking the way they did you might be be thinking the way you are now. It seems trivial to judge and condemn them by modern standards. As flawed in their thinking they were, which we are too, they were sincere in what they BELIEVED TO BE TRUE, which is up for grabs today.

The Bible says a lot about suffering. There was nothing like the comfort we know today. Most of us might be dead if we lived back then. I think that since billions of people over the last 2000 have found GENUINE COMFORT in what the Bible says, the least we can do is examine it for ourselves.

Theodicy is a topic of interest for me because I'll be damned if I show an unjust moral monster of a God a second of my time in worship. If you are all ready familiar with the following passages, then it could be an important part of the discussion to look at them in their context, who was saying what to whom and when and what the circumstances were when it was said. There are many more verses than these. Do any of these apply to any of us?

Complaining About Suffering-

Judges 6:13

Job 5:7

Job 6:2, 3

Job 13:15

Job 14:1

Job 23:2-9

Psalms 73:1-16 (After the complaint, read the rest of the psalm.)

Ecclesiastes 7:15

Ecclesiastes 8:14

Jeremiah 12:1-4 (After Jeremiah’s complaint, God answers him directly.)

Jeremiah 15:15-18 (Read God’s reply in the following verses.)

Warning that those who serve God will suffer-

John 16:33

2 Corinthians 12:7

2 Timothy 2:3

2 Timothy 3:12

1 Peter 4:12, 13

The positive side of pain and suffering-

Psalm 119:67, 71

Isaiah 53:3-5

John 9:2, 3

2 Corinthians 12:10

Philippians 1:12-14

Hebrews 5: 8, 9

Hebrews 12:5-7, 10, 11

James 1:2-4

1 Peter 1:6, 7

1 Peter 2:21-24

Bad attitude toward pain and suffering-

Job 2:9

Job 3:3

Job 7:7

Good attitude toward pain and suffering-

Daniel 3:16-18

Matthew 26:39

Romans 12:14

Galatians 6:2

Philippians 1:19-26

Philippians 3:13, 14

Promises of help for God’s people in times of suffering-

Deuteronomy 32:10, 11

Psalms 9:9, 10

Psalms 46:1-3

Psalms 147:3

Isaiah 41:10

Lamentations 3:19-26, 33

John 16:33

Romans 6:5

Romans 8:18

Romans 8:28

1 Corinthians 10:13

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Philippians 4:13

Hebrews 4:15, 16

1 Peter 5:7

Since we liken ourselves to be tolerant bunch of people I put forth this website I came across in my studies which challenged my assumptions and prideful boasting about how great a Christian I thought I was being PC minded.

http://bible.org/ser...trine-suffering

I don't agree with everything the writer says, but it's not about agreeing with someone you disagree with. It's about showing some respect to them when they express an opinion and giving them as much time as you would expect them to give you. Like, the Golden Rule. Do to others what you expect to be done to you.

The following is a copy and paste from the website, but there are more articles on the subject.

 

Introduction

 

Why me? Why now? What is God doing? Suffering is a tool God uses to get our attention and to accomplish His purposes in our lives. It is designed to build our trust in the Almighty, but suffering requires the right response if it is to be successful in accomplishing God’s purposes. Suffering forces us to turn from trust in our own resources to living by faith in God’s resources.

Suffering is not in itself virtuous, nor is it a sign of holiness. It is also not a means of gaining points with God, nor of subduing the flesh (as in asceticism). When possible, suffering is to be avoided. Christ avoided suffering unless it meant acting in disobedience to the Father’s will.

40 It can be anything that ranges from something as small and irritating as the bite of a mosquito or the nagging of a gnat to the charge of an elephant or having to face a lion in the lions’ den as with Daniel (Gal. 6:7-9).

(3) We sometimes suffer because it is God’s discipline. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son He receives.” (2 Tim. 3:12).

Of course, all of these do not apply at the same time. All suffering is not, for instance, a product of our own foolishness, self-induced misery, or sin. It is true, however, that rarely does suffering not reveal areas of need, weaknesses, and wrong attitudes that need to be removed like dross in the gold refining process (cf. 1 Pet. 1:6--“distressed” is lupeo meaning “to cause pain, sorrow, grief”).

Suffering is Perplexing

 

Suffering is somewhat mysterious. We may know some of the theological reasons for suffering from Scripture, yet when it hits, there is still a certain mystery. Why now? What is God doing? In this, it is designed to build our trust in the Almighty.

Suffering is Purposeful

 

Suffering is not without meaning in spite of its mystery. It has as its chief purpose the formation of Christ-like character (James 1:2 is the Greek peirasmos and refers to that which examines, tests, and proves the character or integrity of something. “Testing” in this same verse is dokimion which has a similar idea. It refers to a test designed to prove or approve. Suffering is that which proves one’s character and integrity along with both the object and quality of one’s faith. Compare Rom. 5:3-4). “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect (mature) and complete, lacking in nothing” (Phil. 3:12-14).

Suffering Provides Opportunity

 

Suffering provides opportunity for God’s glory, our transformation, testimony, and ministry, etc. (See reasons for suffering given below.)

Suffering Requires Our Cooperation

 

Suffering requires the right response if it is to be successful in accomplishing God’s purposes. “We all want the product, character; but we don’t want the process, suffering.”41 Because of our make up as human beings, we can’t have one without the other.

Suffering is Predetermined and Inevitable

 

1 Peter 4:19 Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

The question we must each face is not, “if” we are going to have trials in life, but how will we respond to them.

Suffering is a Struggle

 

It’s going to be a battle all the way. That’s why they are called “trials” and “testings.” Even when we understand the purposes and principles of suffering, and we know the promises of God’s love and concern given in the Word of God for handling suffering, dealing with the trials of life is never easy because suffering hurts. Trials simply give us the capacity to cooperate with the process (Ps. 119:

 

Before affliction:

Straying and ignoring (vs. 67a)

During and in affliction:

Learning and turning (vs. 71, cf. vs. 59)

When under affliction we need to:

Determine Causes if we can (Is it because of something I have done?)

Determine Objectives (What is God wanting to do in my life or in others?)

Determine Solutions (How does God want me to handle this?)

After affliction:

Knowing and changing (vss. 67b, 97-102)

Resting and valuing (vss. 65,72)

We must understand God’s chief purpose for our lives is to be conformed to the image of Christ and He has determined in His plan to use suffering for our spiritual development. If we are going to endure suffering and the trials of life, however, we must also understand and believe in the other purposes and reasons for suffering as they are related to the chief purpose.

Purposes and Reasons for Suffering

 

(1) We suffer as a testimony, as a witness (2 Cor. 4:12-13; 1 Kings. 17:17-24; Job 1-2; 2 Cor. 12:9, 10; 2 Cor. 4:8-12; 2 Cor. 1:3-5)

(3) We suffer to keep down pride (Heb. 12:5f; Jam. 1:2-4). In this sense, suffering is designed:

  • As discipline for sin to bring us back to fellowship through genuine confession (John 15:1-7). Trials may become mirrors of reproof to reveal hidden areas of sin and weakness (Ps. 119:71, 92; Jam. 1:2-4; Psalm 62:1-8, the truth of learning to “wait on the Lord only.”
  • As a means of learning what obedience really means. It becomes a test of our loyalty (Ps. 119:67, 71).
     
    In 1 Peter 1:6-7 the key word is “proof.” “Proof” is the word dokimion which looks at both the concept of testing which purifies, and the results, the proof that is left after the test. The Lord uses trials to test our faith in the sense of purifying it, to bring it to the surface, so we are forced to put our faith to work.

(5) We suffer to bring about continued dependence on the grace and power of God. Suffering is designed to cause us to walk by God’s ability, power and provision rather than by our own (Eph. 6:10f; Phil. 1:19f). This is similar to point (4) above with more emphasis on the process and defining the objective, the production of the character of Christ. This has both a negative and a positive aspect:

  • Negative: Suffering helps to remove impurities from our lives such as indifference, self trust, false motives, self-centeredness, wrong values and priorities, and human defense and escape mechanisms by which we seek to handle our problems (man-made solutions). Suffering in itself does not remove the impurities, but is a tool God uses to cause us to exercise faith in the provisions of God’s grace. It is God’s grace in Christ (our new identity in Christ, the Word and the Holy Spirit) that changes us. This negative aspect is accomplished in two ways:
     
    (a) When out of fellowship with the Lord: Suffering becomes discipline from our heavenly Father (1 Cor. 11:28-32; 5:1-5). This involves known sin, rebellion and indifference to God.
     
    ( B)When in fellowship with the Lord: Suffering becomes the loving and skillful handy work of the Vine Dresser to make us more productive. It involves unknown sin, areas we may not be aware of, but that are nevertheless hindering our growth and fruitfulness. In this case, suffering often constitutes mirrors of reproof (2 Cor. 4:9-10; 3:18). This means trust, peace, joy, stability, biblical values, faithfulness and obedience in contrast to sinful mental attitudes, blaming, running, complaining, and reactions against God and people.

(7) We suffer to manifest the evil nature of evil men and the righteousness of the justice of God when it falls in judgment (Philippians 1:12-14 with 4:5-9). In the process of producing Christian character and enhancing our testimony to others, suffering often opens up doors for ministry we could never have imagined. Paul’s imprisonment (chained daily to Roman soldiers in his own house) resulted in the spread of the gospel within the elite imperial praetorian guard. The Apostle was undoubtedly continuing to rejoice in the Lord, but if he had been complaining, sulking, and bitter, his witness would have been zero.

40 Ron Lee Davis with James Lee Denney, Gold in the Making, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, 1983, p. 17-18.

<a name="P1719_436883" style="border-top-style: none; border-right-style: none; border-bottom-style: none; border-left-style: none; border-width: initial; border-color: initial; outline-style: none; outline-width: initial; outline-color: initial; color: rgb(0, 136, 204); ">41 Davis and Denney, pp. 19 and 32.

 

Now does this answer why innocent children are given over to atrocities? I am torn to pieces over it. If I were a Buddhist, I shouldn't blink an eye really, though I would be compassionate and say, well, it's your karma. Raging would seem to me part of my own bondage in ignorance. As a Christian, my God allows me to rage, thankfully, at horror and terror and injustice. And to go back to my position from the very start, that He is the source of it, well, I can shake my fist at him and curse him. And he's okay with that, so long as I keep sparring with him.

Edited by matt67
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matt, it would been helpful to just provide a link and your observations.

 

If I were a Buddhist, I shouldn't blink an eye really, though I would be compassionate and say, well, it's your karma

Exactly which Buddhist are you speaking for, Matt?

 

The Hebrew Bible is a conversation about why such horrible things had happened to the Israelites from the perspective of captivity. Ezra and Nehemiah had come to a conclusion. But the conversation is not over just because the church quit adding to the canon. There is more than one theodicy in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and their trajectory in this age, I think.

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

http://bible.org/ser...trine-suffering

 

Here is the link, which is on the prior post.

 

My understanding is what links all Buddhists acknowledge the laws of karma and reincarnation. I don't think one can call oneself a Buddhist without that.

Even Pure Land Buddhism focuses on it.

 

"The Hebrew Bible is a conversation about why such horrible things had happened to the Israelites from the perspective of captivity. Ezra and Nehemiah had come to a conclusion. But the conversation is not over just because the church quit adding to the canon. There is more than one theodicy in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament and their trajectory in this age, I think."

 

I don't really understand your point.

Edited by matt67
Link to comment
Share on other sites

After reading Mike's posts on the topics of Buddhism I am beginning to think that everyone is a Buddhism at heart, they just don't know it. The Dalai Lama called Buddhism the only honest religion. Makes sense. If I stay on this message board long enough I might decide to become one.

Edited by matt67
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service