Monday, August 26, 2013

The Science of Suffering

In today's devotional in "Reaching Towards the Heights" Richard Wurmbrand uses the term 'Sufferology'. If you know anything about his life he certainly has an understanding of that subject matter.

For many people I think this is a subject they would rather avoid not something to be studied or systematically understood. Some time in the classroom benefits us for our time in the field and some practical application turns theory into something beneficial.

"Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King. Within her citadels God has made himself known as a fortress." Psalms 48:1-3 ESV

Yes. God is beautiful in His elevation... even in this subject. There is a lowness that a sufferer can experience but God elevates the sufferer who suffers in Him.

"For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number" Job 5:6-9 ESV

Here is an interesting exchange God had with a man, Ananias, regarding Paul the Apostle:

"But Ananias answered, 'Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.' But the Lord said to him, 'Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.' " - Acts 9:13-16 ESV

Ananias spoke to God about the Earthy authority that had been given to Paul and God answered with the Heavenly authority grace would soon give to the man. Paul's authority was in his ability to suffer well.

Grace gives us many things in unsearchable quantities... Love... Freedom... Forgiveness... Access... It also gives this great ability to survive the un-survivable. Those who suffer with grief might rather not survive it but God elevates us.

Yes. Suffering can be seen as a science. The Bible is it's textbook. We can learn it's principles and laws and then it will not seem so scary.

"Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful - for he cannot deny himself." 2 Timothy 2:10-13 ESV

Positional salvation is assured by faith in Christ's death burial and Resurrection. It is a once and for all thing. Situational salvation is a science of faith. Learning endurance qualifies us for leadership. How can we bring someone else down a path we have not ourselves traveled before?

Christ is our Shepherd. He suffered what none of us could and will teach us this art if we are willing to be His students.

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