If you have not done so before, please review the Background on the Program
As you start to review this episode, please know that YOU matter. Regardless of what you are struggling with, regardless of the depths of your sorrows and regardless of how lonely you feel, the Good News is that YOU matter. I hope the message below nourishes you in the most meaningful way to comfort you and strengthen you to keep climbing into the ring to face your battles.
Episode #10: Another View of Suffering
Today’s episode starts with a song from Bruce Springsteen, The Rising.
Please spend a few minutes listening to any version you can find on the internet.
I hope you enjoyed that song. Bruce Springsteen wrote The Rising in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. Bruce Springsteen’s words in the song helped the nation continue on a path of healing and strengthening after enduring these attacks. Bruce weaves in the imagery of one of the darkest tragedies of our generation, along with incredible heroism, and also the healing touch of faith and promise with the line “I see you Mary in the garden, In the garden of a thousand sighs…May I feel your arms around me, May I feel your blood mix with mine” which reinforces the ancient scriptural message of the sacrifice of Christ that can brings us healing and comfort.
On a more personal level, we all experience some very difficult sufferings. Many of us would classify some sufferings as almost too much to endure, like the untimely death of a loved one, a parent holding the hand of a terminally ill child, the heartbreaking destruction of a once close family, or the addiction that resulted in a tragic ending.
Although we all hope to avoid a great deal of pain and suffering in this world, the reality is that we all will endure our share of suffering. Most of us will find a way to carry on, some in silence and some with a loud roar. There is no escaping disappointment, discouragement, and suffering. Our typical pathway to addressing suffering is to rally our own strength, perhaps we are fortunate to gain some encouragement from others close to us, and we endure the journey with the hope that we will somehow continue to grow stronger through the experience.
In times of great suffering, it is very common for us to look for practical answers to the question of “why?” are we journeying through such a difficult moment. We find some helpful guidance to answer this most common question in the book of 2nd Corinthians Chapter 1 versus 3-4 (2 Corinthians 1:3-4) (please find a version of this scripture on the internet).
The background of this situation is that the apostle Paul is working hard to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the present-day Mediterranean region. Paul has endured some incredibly difficult moments in his journey. He has been stoned and left for dead, shipwrecked, left cold and hungry, snake bitten, jailed, beaten almost to death, and his life had been constantly threatened. Paul had every right to ask “why me, I am just trying to work hard in helping a good cause.”
Paul provides some character-building advice on the topics of the other side of our suffering when he says, “so that we can comfort those in any trouble” in 2 Corinthians 1:4.
This other side of suffering is an opportunity to grow in empathy towards the suffering of others so we can be a genuine and relevant source of comfort to those in need. When we walk through the valley of suffering, as opposed to growing bitter or spending too much precious energy on the endless wondering of “why me,” the guidance we receive from the ancient scriptures of the Jewish and Christian faiths is that we have an opportunity to deeply understand the suffering of others and proactively reach out to help them find comfort in their own troubled time.
There is often no greater connection that can be made with someone suffering through a difficult family experience than one who also has walked through that experience. Those who have endured the financial hardship of a painful bankruptcy are often the most effective in guiding others through the experience of rebuilding their credit and confidence. Who better to support and encourage someone struggling with addiction than someone who has walked down that same road?
We continually see in the ancient scriptures and in our owns lives that often God’s greatest blessings come out of the most painful events in our lives. The other side of suffering through a painful event is that we are strengthened and we can learn to be more empathetic and compassionate to others in need.
In this guidance from Paul, we find the truth there is another side to suffering and that side, which is written about consistently in the ancient scriptures that guide the Jewish and Christian faiths today, is that suffering produces strength, empathy and compassion in us so that we can be a comfort to help others in need. When we look to help others in need, the pain of our own suffering begins to lessen and we build a greater sense of peace in our own journey.
Take a moment to reflect on the following questions:
- When have I suffered through some painful events in my life?
- How can I use my journey through that pain to be helpful to others in need?
As you continue along in your journey, please remember that we all experience some suffering that feels almost too much to endure. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed in a dark valley of suffering, please remember that (1) God promises and is always faithful to help comfort us in our suffering and we should call on Him in our time of need and (2) Please reach out to a close friend to talk about your struggles and please consider me one of your friends today.
As you continue to reflect on the message, please take a moment to search the internet to find and listen to Bruce Springsteen singing, When You Need Me
How can I help you today? My mobile is 269-370-9275 and my email is email@example.com
Please download some FREE resources at www.harvesttimepartners.com I hope you will find them helpful in your journey.