Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Five kinds of suffering

As best I can tell, there are five kinds of suffering the Bible describes.

First, the kind where my consequences become my punishment.  You speed and get a ticket.  Or a million other examples.  Be careful that you don't call these consequences anything other than consequences.  They may hurt but it's not like you're innocent.

Second, the kind of suffering where because I live in a broken world I groan along with the rest of creation, longing for the redemption of the children of God (cf. Rom. 8).  Sickness.  Hurricanes.  Earthquakes.  Death.  Loss.  Grief.  All symptoms of living in a world in which we know how it's supposed to be (in the most eternal sense) but cannot change it to that kind of goodness.

Third, the kind of suffering that happens because we are believers and followers of Jesus.  Not only is the physical world broken, but so is the spiritual world.  The Enemy is exactly that:  an enemy.  He seeks to steal, kill and destroy.  He targets God's kids because he hates God.

Fourth, the kind of suffering we intentionally choose because we either want the challenge or see the benefit of it.  A quick and easy example would be a short-term mission trip to Haiti like our church is taking in December.

Lastly, the kind of suffering where God, our perfect heavenly Father, sends His children into suffering because He wants to grow them in a way or get something done that would not happen apart from suffering.  This is the hardest to trust God while in.  But Joseph did (Genesis 39-50).  Paul did (multiple examples, including Acts 16 where he shares Jesus with the jailer).  And Jesus certainly did in the Garden.

Which is hardest for you?

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

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