Tag: Suffering (home)

Only the very great can be very wretched. Man can suffer more than any animal. Christ can suffer more than any man.

permalink source: Peter Kreeft
tags: Suffering

A few years ago, it was my privilege to speak on the campus of Toccoa Falls Bible College in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. My host led me along a lovely walkway to the famed Toccoa Falls, some 186 feet of plunging water. Beautiful... And, on one night, deadly! Early in the morning of November 6, 1977, a dam just above the falls suddenly ruptured and in a little over 15 minutes an entire 40-acre lake poured over the falls at speeds up to 150 miles per hour, flooding the canyon below. It wiped out a college dorm, a trailer park for married students and several college personnel residences. 39 students, children and college leaders drowned in those awful moments. The tragic story became headline news across the nation. Our president at that time was Carter, whose wife rushed to the campus to help. TV kept a constant watch on the story. A visiting reporter asked Professor Gerald McGraw how he could ever vindicate God in the eyes of his students after such a disaster. The lanky McGraw replied quietly, "The question has never come up." At the memorial service, Dr. Ken Opperman, then president of the college, preached from Colossians 1:27, "Christ in you, the hope of Glory. He concluded, "For a Christian, the most important thing is a relationship with Christ, so that whether we live or die, we glorify Christ." Then the huge crowd stood to sing at the conclusion. "Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blessed; finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest." Paul wrote to Titus that Christians are peculiar people. Peculiar how? In the way we respond to outside stimuli. In the way we react to tragedy. In the way we deal with disaster and death. For us, to live is Christ Jesus! He is our constant hope.

permalink source: Dan Betzer
tags: Apologetics, Suffering

YET I WILL PRAISE Margaret Sangster Phippen wrote that in the mid 1950s her father, British minister W. E. Sangster, began to notice some uneasiness in his throat and a dragging in his leg. When he went to the doctor, he found that he had an incurable disease that caused progressive muscular atrophy. His muscles would gradually waste away, his voice would fail, his throat would soon become unable to swallow. Sangster threw himself into his work in British home missions, figuring he could still write and he would have even more time for prayer. "Let me stay in the struggle Lord," he pleaded. "I don't mind if I can no longer be a general, but give me just a regiment to lead." He wrote articles and books, and helped organize prayer cells throughout England. "I'm only in the kindergarten of suffering," he told people who pitied him. Gradually Sangster's legs became useless. His voice went completely. But he could still hold a pen, shakily. On Easter morning, just a few weeks before he died, he wrote a letter to his daughter. In it, he said, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, 'He is risen!'--but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout." CITATION: Vernon Grounds, Denver, Colorado. Leadership, Vol. 8, no. KEYWORDS: Afflictions; Adversity; Perception and reality; Optimism; Easter; Resurrection; Ministry; Health; Perseverance; Praise; Tenacity; Zeal; Eternal Perspective; Perspective SCRIPTURE: Psalms 63:4; Habakkuk 3:17-18; 2 Corinthians 4:16; 1 Peter 1:6-7

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Service, Suffering, Worship, Servanthood, Call To Worship

How God Uses Problems In Our Lives God uses problems to DIRECT you: Proverbs 20.30 God uses problems to INSPECT you: James 1.2-3 God uses problems to CORRECT you: Psalm 119.71-72 God uses problems to PROTECT you: Genesis 50.20 God uses problems to PERFECT you: Romans 5.3-4

permalink source: Rick Warren
tags: Holiness, Problems, Suffering, Evil

In an old Christian song titled "Hornets", the verses recount the stories of Jonah, Moses, and Balaam, and how God got them to say or do what he wanted them to, even though they were unwilling at first. The song gets its title from a verse that explains how hornets can make a person leave a room, not against their will, but willingly. The chorus goes: He does not compel us to go (no, no) He does not compel us to go He does not compel us to go 'gainst our will But he just makes us willing to go.

permalink source: Citation: "Hornets," copyright 1925 by Thoro Harris
tags: Suffering, Freedom, Guidance

When the army of Julian the Apostate was on the march to Persia some of the soldiers got hold of a Christian believer to torment and torture him in brutal sport. After they wearied of it, they looked into his eyes and said to their helpless victim, with infinite scorn in their voices, "Where now is your carpenter God?" The prisoner looked up through pain, blood, and agony to say, "Where now is my carpenter God? He is building a coffin for your emperor."

permalink source: R. Geoffrey Brown, "Look! A Great White Horse!" Preaching Today, Tape No. 111
tags: Suffering, Victory Of God

MOAB, Utah, May 2 (UPI) -- A Colorado rock climber pinned by an 800-pound boulder for five days in a narrow Utah canyon cut part of his right arm off and then climbed down a cliff and walked to safety, officials said Friday. Aron Ralston, 27, of Aspen, was in serious condition at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo., where he was questioned by the National Park Service about his solo trek near the Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah. Ralston, an experienced climber and outdoorsman, told rescuers that he opened his pocketknife and cut off the forearm Thursday to save his life. He said he had run out of water two days earlier. Ralston put an tourniquet on his arm, administered first aid, and then eased himself down more than 70 feet to the bottom of Blue John Canyon. He then walked out until he ran into two hikers who escorted him to a rescue helicopter searching the area. Ralston had planned a one-day trip when he embarked Saturday, but it turned into a harrowing adventure. He apparently had only begun the hike when the boulder fell on him in the rugged, narrow canyon. Ralston was flown to a hospital in nearby Moab and then transferred late Thursday to St. Mary's Hospital where he underwent surgery. Ralston is a veteran mountain climber who has scaled many of the 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. He escaped death only last February in an avalanche on Tennessee Pass in Colorado, according to the Denver Post. A National Park Service official expressed concern Friday that Ralston was climbing alone and apparently had not advised anyone of his plans. "Most truly experienced people don't break those rules, first hiking alone in that kind of situation where you know you are going to be doing technical climbing, and second, not alerting somebody, telling them I am going such and such a place," said Jim Blazik, an official at Canyonlands National Park. Blazik said the accident occurred in the park but Ralston was apparently in and out of the park boundary during his trek. A search had been started Thursday when someone reported that Ralston had not shown up for work in Aspen for four days, the Post reported. A search party returned to the canyon after Ralston's rescue to try to retrieve his arm but they could not remove it from under the boulder, Emery County Sheriff's Deputy Mitch Vetere told the Post on Thursday.

permalink source: United Press International, "Utah Rock Climber Severs Arm to Save Life"
tags: Suffering

Missionary Gracia Burnham, who was held captive by terrorists in the Philippines for more than a year and whose husband was killed during the rescue, writes: Sometimes I wonder, Why did Martin die when everyone was praying he wouldn't? Why does Scripture lead you to believe that if you pray a certain way, you'll get what you pray for? People all over the world were praying that we'd both get out alive, but we didn't. Her questions made her realize it isn't always easy to comprehend God's nature: I used to have this concept of what God is like, and how life's supposed to be because of that. But in the jungle, I learned I don't know as much about God as I thought I did. I don't have him in a theological box anymore. What I do know is that God is God—and I'm not. The world's in a mess because of sin, not God. Some awful things may happen to me, but God does what is right. And he makes good out of bad situations:

permalink source: Corrie Cutrer, "Soul Survivor," Today's Christian Woman (July/Aug 2003), p. 50
tags: Prayer, Suffering, Evil

Author Richard Exley writes: I know one minister who returned to his pulpit ten days after his son committed suicide. Under duress he read his text: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Visibly struggling, he said, "I cannot make my son's suicide fit into this passage. It's impossible for me to see how anything good can come out of it. Yet I realize that I only see in part. I only know in part. "It's like the miracle of the shipyard. Almost every part of our great oceangoing vessels are made of steel. If you take any single part—be it a steel plate out of the hull or the huge rudder—and throw it into the ocean, it will sink. Steel doesn't float! But when the shipbuilders are finished, when the last plate has been riveted in place, then that massive steel ship is virtually unsinkable. "Taken by itself, my son's suicide is senseless. Throw it into the sea of Romans 8:28, and it sinks. Still, I believe that when the Eternal Shipbuilder has finally finished, when God has worked out his perfect design, even this senseless tragedy will somehow work to our eternal good." Citation: Richard Exley, "Decent Exposure," Leadership (Fall 1992) p. 118

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Apologetics, Suffering, Evil

The January-February 2004 issue of The American Enterprise told the story "of an angry conqueror addressing an unbending priest in his overrun village. 'Don't you know I'm the one who can have you torn apart without batting an eye?' he threatened. "To which the priest replied, as a devout Christian, 'Don't you know that I'm the one who can be torn apart without batting an eye?'

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Suffering, Submission, Martyrs

[after conducting a poll on religion around the globe] I haven't said much about our poll results, because there's a certain rabbit-from-hat quality we need on the night. But something did catch my eye as we went through them. And maybe I have some rethinking to do as a result. We asked everyone the question, "Does suffering in the world make it harder for you to believe in God?" Heavens to Betsy, it is indeed a major impediment to faith - in Britain. Oh yes, we struggle terribly with all the dreadful suffering that goes on in places whose names we can't quite remember. Put the question in Lagos, whose citizens are rather better acquainted with plague and famine, or ask around Delhi, and suffering is hardly a bar to faith at all. There is something darkly comic in the way we use the tribulations of others to avoid putting our own beliefs to the test. "Oh, I saw so much it rocked my faith," sounded like a genuine obstruction when I said it. But now I worry it is as trite a slogan as the one it replaced. If suffering is such a problem, why does our poll show religion thriving in places where people are up against everything the world can throw at them?

permalink source: "Beyond Belief," Jeremy Vine, Monday Feb 23, 2004 http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,1154016,00.html
tags: Apologetics, Suffering

If architects want to strengthen a decrepit arch, they increase the load that is laid upon it, for thereby the parts are joined more firmly together.

permalink source: Victor Frankl
tags: Suffering

The great religions were first preached and long practiced in a world without chloroform.

permalink source: C. S. Lewis
tags: Apologetics, Suffering

Responding to the question, 'What does it take to make a good theologian?' Martin Luther is reported to have answered, 'Suffering.' By: Martin Luther

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Apologetics, Suffering, Theology

[As Lewis was grieving the death of his wife he said:] "What do people mean when they say 'I'm not afraid of God because I know He is good?' Have they never been to a dentist?" By: C.S. Lewis Source: Of Grief Observed, pg 50-51

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Suffering

The existence of evil and suffering in the world is a proof, not that God is either good but powerless, or all powerful and not good. On the contrary, it is proof that God is both loving and omnipotent. Only absolute love could grant unhindered freedom, and only omnipotence can endure the operation of that freedom. By: D.R. Davies Source: Catholic Digest, Dec. 1991 [Glen: this is true once one accepts God's existence--this is the only way God could exist given the universe that we inhabit]

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Apologetics, Suffering

A man said to the universe: "Sir, I exist! "However," replied the universe, "The fact has not created in me A sense of obligation."

permalink source: Stephen Crane, A Man Said To the Universe, 1894
tags: Atheism, Suffering

Perhaps we do not realize the problem, so to call it, of enabling finite free wills to co-exist with Omnipotence. It seems to involve at every moment almost a sort of "divine abdication." -- C. S. Lewis

permalink source: Anonymous
tags: Suffering, Freedom

This column was syndicated by Scripps Howard News Service on 01/12/2005 Believers often wrestle with tragedy and death on the Mukono campus of the Uganda Christian University. Families are large and disease common, affecting young and old. Terrorism and tribal conflicts in this culture often lead to violence, injury and death. "Someone will say, 'My brother died last night,' and he will say it as a simple statement of fact," said Father Stephen Noll, vice chancellor of this Anglican Church of Uganda school. "Someone may report that a particular student will not be returning to class because he was killed in an ambush by the 'Army of God.' " It took time for Noll to adjust, after leaving his post as dean of an American seminary to help support the growing churches in Africa. He watched the faithful face so much pain and loss without losing faith in a compassionate and just God. "It's not that they don't grieve," he said. "They know -- as a common fact of life -- that bad things happen to good people. They accept that in the context of their faith." Thus, Third World believers may wonder why leaders in privileged lands such as Great Britain and the United States have been so quick to point angry fingers at the heavens following the Indian Ocean tsunami. For example, Anglican leaders in Uganda were surprised by this headline in the Sunday Telegraph in London: "Archbishop of Canterbury -- this has made me question God's existence." The online version was just as blunt: "Of course this makes us doubt God's existence." Press officers for Archbishop Rowan Williams protested that these headlines radically oversimplified the truths that the theologian and poet had tried to communicate in his complex, candid tsunami essay. Critics had focused on his statement that it was wrong for Christians not to doubt the goodness, or even the existence, of the biblical God in the face of 157,000 deaths. "Every single random, accidental death is something that should upset a faith bound up with comfort and ready answers," wrote Williams. "Faced with the paralyzing magnitude of a disaster like this, we naturally feel more deeply outraged. ... The question: 'How can you believe in a God who permits suffering on this scale?' is therefore very much around at the moment, and it would be surprising if it weren't -- indeed, it would be wrong if it weren't. The traditional answers will get us only so far." Meanwhile, religious believers in violent and impoverished parts of the world often find comfort and coherence in the traditional answers of their faiths. Noll stressed that it would be wrong to oversimplify this. Nevertheless, he thought Ugandan responses to the tsunami were revealing. "For God the issue of dying is not as tragic as it is to us because whether dead or alive we are still in his presence," said Father Grace Kaiso, spokesman for the Uganda Joint Christian Council. "God whispers to us in times of peace and shouts to us in times of tragedy and unfortunately we pay more attention when he shouts. So through the tsunamis he was shouting to us and awakened us to the reality of death, which can come suddenly, of his power and of his salvation which we should take advantage of." Imam Kasozi of Uganda's Muslim Youth Assembly responded: "God does what he wants to do. If people are not responding to his call of upright living, he will punish them. ... When God sends punishment, it does not discriminate between wrongdoers and the upright ones. This incident was two-way in that the wrongdoers were punished and the upright people who were doing God's will were taken early to heaven." The key, said Noll, is that many in the West tend to question the sovereignty of God, preferring a "weakened God or a mystical God or no God at all" to an omnipotent God who permits disasters. "People in traditional societies," said Noll, "face quandaries of God's justice daily with the death of a relative from AIDS ... or a crazed insurgent and they lean in the direction of accepting disasters as God's sovereign will. They also have a more vivid belief in the afterlife. While they mourn the loss of life, they console themselves that God's justice will be vindicated in the end." Terry Mattingly (www.tmatt.net) teaches at Palm Beach Atlantic University and is senior fellow for journalism at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities. He writes this weekly column for the Scripps Howard News Service. --------------------------------------------------------------------- You are subscribed to this list as: glen@glenandpaula.com To unsubscribe, e-mail: tmattingly-weekly-unsubscribe@lists.gospelcom.net For additional commands, e-mail: tmattingly-weekly-help@lists.gospelcom.net -- No virus found in this incoming message. Checked by AVG Anti-Virus. Version: 7.0.300 / Virus Database: 265.6.13 - Release Date: 1/16/2005

permalink source: Terry Mattingly
tags: Apologetics, Suffering

Nothing really good can be accomplished without genuine suffering. The higher the achievement, the higher the price. There is no greater thing than sanctity, and therefore one must be ready to pay the highest price. To suppose that God would admit to His close friendship pleasure-loving people who want to be free from all trials is ridiculous.

permalink source: St. Teresa of Avila
tags: Suffering, God, Pleasure

Man cannot remake himself without suffering. For he is both the marble and the sculptor.

permalink source: Alexis Carrel
tags: Suffering, Personal Growth

Some days you go from bad to worse... <img src="http://glenandpaula.com/quotes/uploads/1112208072Clipboard01.gif" width="468" height="351" />

permalink source: Unknown
tags: Mistake, Suffering, Deliverance

Summary: we evaluate our memories on the basis of a "peak-end" appraisal. How intense was it (good or bad) at its peak and how did it end? For instance, (and this is the actual example used in the book) two groups of men were rectally probed. Both examinations were equally uncomfortable, but at the end of the second group the doctor left the probe in but unmoving for 20 seconds. Objectively it was worse (the probe being in was uncomfortable), yet afterwards the men in group two reported less dissastisfaction. Why? The peaks were as intense but the end wasn't as bad. This is all based on research by Daniel Kahnemann.

permalink source: The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, by Barry Schwartz, 49-50
tags: Choices, Suffering

Unanswerable Questions

When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child; you don't understand." Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask--half our great theological and metaphysical problems--are like that.

permalink source: C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, p 80-81
tags: Apologetics, Questions, Suffering

Jesus Played It Fair

The Church’s answer is categorical and uncompromising and it is this: That Jesus Bar-Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, was in fact and in truth, and in the most exact and literal sense of the words, the God “by whom all things were made.” His body and brain were those of a common man; his personality was the personality of God, so far as that personality could be expressed in human terms. He was not a kind of demon pretending to be human; he was in every respect a genuine living man. He was not merely a man so good as to be “like God”; he was God. Now, this is not just a pious commonplace; it is not commonplace at all. For what it means is this, among other things: that, for whatever reason, God chose to make man as he is—limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—he [God] had the honesty and the courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself. He has himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When he was a man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace, and thought it was worthwhile.

permalink source: Dorothy Sayers, The Greatest Drama Ever Staged, http://www.wacmm.org/Sayers.html
tags: Suffering, Jesus, Evil