In the split-second, when life will no longer be what it once was, suffering, in all its brutality, lodges three splinter-like truths into our minds and souls:
1. Evil and suffering usually bursts into our lives randomly.
2. Evil and suffering brings into our lives chaos.
3. Evil and suffering bludgeons into our minds other haunting questions:
• What if ? (This question tortures the sufferer — you cannot answer it.)
• Why did I survive?
• How does life go on? (It does, think about how your life went on when 9/11 happened, the Tsunami, Shuttle explosion).
• Where’s God?
• How long, Oh Lord? (Will it ever end? Will the knife ever come out?)
HOW DO I ENDURE?
If you have God, you can endure anything. We just need God’s presence when we suffer. God’s answer is Christ on the cross. Come gently to God when you suffer, tap gently on the door. We cannot hear God or receive His help when we have clinched fists. Remember, J-E-S-U-S L-O-V-E-S.
PRINCIPLES TO AFFIRM WHEN YOU SUFFER
Jesus will never abandon you. Reaffirm this, even when the door feels bolted shut. Hang on to what you know to be true, not what you feel. (Hebrews 13:5)
Every tear will be wiped away.( Psalm 56:8, Revelation 21:4)
Signs of faith are held high when we ask questions.
Unseen and unheard, but our God is trustworthy. ( Job 23:8-10)
Sorrow will turn into joy. ( Jeremiah 31:13)
PRACTICAL PRACTICES TO PERFORM WHEN YOU SUFFER
Learn to forgive. Forgiveness buys freedom for the offender and you. Os Guinness in his book“Unspeakable” defines forgiveness as follows:
1. “True forgiveness has nothing to do with sentimentality.” Forgiveness requires sacrifice.
2. “True forgiveness has nothing to do with utilitarianism or cynicism.” Forgiveness requires giving up rights, not to justice but to vengeance and retaliation.
3. “True forgiveness is not the same as condoning.” Forgiveness requires courage to call evil evil, but it also requires the courage to refuse to play evil’s game.
4. “True forgiveness is not cheap grace.” Forgiveness requires love, and love is always expensive.
5. “True forgiveness is not a matter of virtue and strength.” Forgiveness requires us to remember how much we’ve been forgiven.
6. “True forgiveness is different from reconciliation while at the same time it is an opening offer of peace.” Forgiveness requires humility, the willingness to extend an olive branch even if unasked for.
Observe and hold onto simple truths and practices. Pray, praise and claim God’s promises. (Read Psalms and Lamentations. See Psalm 13; Psalm 119:25, 28, 50, 71, 92, 107;Matthew 6:34; John 11:25. Hold onto the truth that “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”)
Vent your emotions. Cry, be angry.
Eat, dress, sleep. You must function. It affirms life. Move on, live life. (Acts 27:33-36; 2 Tim 4:13)
Share your suffering with others. Reach out and ask for help. (2 Tim 4:9, 11, 21)
How you suffer tells your story, so suffer in faith and with courage. There is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still.
(Material is Copyright © 2009 by Derrick G. Jeter. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.)