Tag Archives: suffering

When the Wound Reopens

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Progressive.

That’s what healing is. It’s not always overnight or immediate, not always fixed with a Band-Aid or kiss from mom, not always quick and easy or even medically treatable. Sometimes it just takes time. And sometimes, even months or years later, something can happen that tears open an old wound. You thought scar tissue was protecting it, but then even that gets severed. The new rip in the old wound causes grief to pour out like a torrent while you desperately look around for a compress and wish you’d have been prepared with a tourniquet.

But that’s the thing. One is never prepared for the scab being torn off a wound. It’s like accidentally scraping a sunburn. If you knew it was coming, you would have stopped it. But it always catches you off guard.

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Singing in the Fire

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As previously mentioned, Susannah Spurgeon is my new bff. 

Here’s a snippet from her biography Free Grace and Dying Love (which I cannot recommend more highly). It’s long but one of the most encouraging things I’ve ever read. Wherever you are and whatever season you’re in, I hope it ministers to you too.

At the close of a very dark and gloomy day I lay resting on my couch as the deeper night drew on, and though all was bright within my cosy little room, some of the external darkness seemed to have entered into my soul and obscured its spiritual vision. Vainly I tried to see the hand which I knew held mine and guided my fog-enveloped feet along a steep and slippery path of suffering. In sorrow of heart I asked, ‘Why does my Lord thus deal with His child? Why does He so often send sharp and bitter pain to visit me? Why does He permit lingering weakness to hinder the sweet service I long to render to His poor servants?’ These fretful questions were quickly answered, and though in a strange language, no interpreter was needed for the conscious whisper of my own heart.

For a while silence reigned in the little room, broken only by the crackling of an oak log burning on the hearth. Suddenly I heard a sweet, soft sound, a little, clear, musical note, like the tender trill of a robin beneath my window. ‘What can it be?’ I said to my companion, who was dozing in the firelight; ‘surely no bird can be singing out there at this time of the year and night!’ We listened, and again heard the faint plaintive notes, so sweet, so melodious, yet mysterious enough to provoke for a moment our undisguised wonder. Presently my friend exclaimed, ‘It comes from the log on the fire!!’ and we soon ascertained that her surprised assertion was correct. The fire was letting loose the imprisoned music from the old oak’s inmost heart. Perchance he had garnered up this song in the days when all went well with him, when birds twittered merrily on his branches, and the soft sunlight flecked his tender leaves with gold; but he had grown old since then and hardened; ring after ring of knotty growth had sealed up the long-forgotten melody until the fierce tongues of the flames came to consume his callousness and the vehement heat of the fire wrung from him at once a song and a sacrifice.

Oh! thought I, when the fire of affliction draws songs of praise from us, then indeed are we purified and our God is glorified! Perhaps some of us are like this old oak log–cold, hard and insensible; we should give forth no melodious sounds were it not for the fire which kindles round us, and releases tender notes of trust in Him, and cheerful compliance with His will. As I mused the fire burned and my soul found sweet comfort in the parable so strangely set before me. Singing in the fire! Yes, God helping us if that is the only way to get harmony out of these hard, apathetic hearts, let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than before.

-Susannah Spurgeon

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How to Suffer Missionally

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Broken relationships.
Cancer.
Sickness.
Death.
Loss.
Tragedy.
Grief.
Loneliness.

What if Scripture tells us God is a divine multitasker and that this hurt doesn’t only affect us? What if we aren’t suffering because God is cruel but because He’s equipping us to help others in ways we couldn’t without it?

We all suffer. What separates Christ-followers from the world is the way we respond. And with hearts and ears anchored in the Gospel, we can hear the sermon suffering preaches.

Suffering tells us we’re all groaning for full redemption and that we’re not alone because no life is untouched by difficulty. The poison of sin has slithered into the DNA of every human and with it comes suffering—the proof of our brokenness.

Perhaps God walks us down roads filled with potholes and trials and grief so we can learn the streets and one day drive others down them, helping them to navigate the curves to get to the finish line.

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When God Slays Us

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I look around me and see brokenness.

Broken relationships. Broken hearts. Broken bodies. Broken souls.

I look in me and see brokenness. I am a fractured soul in a fractured world. And I’m learning that this brokenness is preaching a sermon.

Brokenness reveals our need for a Savior and for Someone to make us whole.
Brokenness reveals we are not sufficient to make it through this life on our own.
Brokenness reveals we are not the masters of our own destiny, because we can’t even get ourselves out of suffering.
Brokenness confronts our source of identity and awakens our hearts to new ways of depending on the Great Sovereign.
Brokenness challenges our worship.

What will we do with our brokenness? What will we do when God justly afflicts us? What will we do when He pierces our hearts?

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A Time to Embrace

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The conversation is seared into my brain.

We were at the kitchen table eating breakfast with my dad, studying Scripture, and processing how we are prone to see suffering as an inconvenience rather than what it is, love from God, when one of our best friends said,

“[Suffering] actually produces gold and then you level up (1 Peter 1:6-7), like in a video game, so you almost want to go find land mines joyfully and destroy them so we get more of Christ.”

For a couple of years, my constant prayer has been that I would not resist anything that would make me look more like Christ. But Daniel’s words at breakfast opened up a completely new (and convicting) perspective.

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Is God Enough in the Wilderness?

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The last week has felt a lot like what I imagine the wilderness felt like to Moses and the children of Israel.

I’ve ached for relief from the heat and unfamiliar surroundings that are, ironically, becoming achingly familiar (“Didn’t we pass that tree a few months ago?” “Is that the same hill I tripped over last year?” “Do you recognize that brown spot? We must have seen it before. Oh right, we have.”). For forty years they wandered, making lap after lap around the barren land, complaining about their manna and quail, and wishing for what God in His mercy saw fit to withhold.

Well, hello, insight to Sophie’s heart.  

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Monday Morning Munch No. 133 – God hates suffering

Godhatessuffering

Bad things are happening all around us. 

Terrorism. Heartache. Suffering. Loss. The weight of each inscrutable.

Then we have Christmas, which seems like the opposite end of the spectrum. Christmas brings joy. Celebration. Music. Love. The weight of each delightful.

But Christmas is not the opposite of pain and these two camps aren’t competing. Rather, Christmas gives us pause and a reminder to endure this disgusting world poisoned by sin because we have One who endured for us.

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