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Suffering


“Many believers today think that pain is the exception in the Christian life. When suffering occurs, they say, “Why me?” They feel as though God deserted them, or perhaps they accuse Him of not being as dependable as they thought He should be. In reality, the world is sinful, so even believers suffer.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Thessalonians 1:6)

“The source of afflictions is the sin of humanity. The purpose of afflictions, if we use them properly, may be our comfort and salvation, as the Father Himself preserves us through them (2 Corinthians 1:3). The means of facing our afflictions is a hope in God that allows us to enter into the afflictions of others in actual, experiential knowledge.” (Orthodox Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:3-11)

“God comforts us for our own encouragement and also to make us comforters of others. The comfort that God gives to us becomes a gift that we can give to others.” (Foundation Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 1:4)

“Only the God of Love understands the full depth of human anguish and ecstasy. Christ was able to identify with us in our confusion and longing; He was able to enter into our suffering with the utmost empathy and compassion, precisely because His heart was filled with incomprehensible Light.” (Jonathan Jackson)

“When Christ tells us to let our light shine to others so that they may see our good works (Matthew 5:16), this light is a portion of His light we gain through our suffering. It truly becomes His light and ‘good works’ when we allow our suffering to unite us to Him and reflect His love, empathy, and compassion for others.” (Sacramental Living Blog)

“In the present passage from Saint Matthew [Matthew 16:20-24], the Lord Jesus reveals three ways we sometimes skew His Gospel in order to make it more palatable to our earthly, human sensibilities. We may be tempted to minimize the supernatural, to modify the identity and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, and/or to gloss over the centrality of His suffering, death, and Resurrection.” (OCPM 7/26/2017)

“Saint Nikolai of Zicha asserts that “God’s trail in this world is well-blazed,” yet many are nevertheless filled doubt and despair as they observe humanity’s savagery and widespread suffering…We live in a delusional age. The human person has been diminished, and life has been reduced to a shallow expectation of happiness in which sadness has no real meaning. Our need for comfort comes at the expense of our spiritual maturity. Our suffering is devoid of purpose, and God gets the blame.” (OCPM 6/20/2016, Father Barnabas Powell)

“Modern social theories have majored in grand explanations for human suffering. Economics, politics, war, historical movements and the like have all been tasked with the role of justifying “things as they are.” Those justifications are frequently used as the building blocks of various modern schemes to build a better world and eliminate the suffering. We have become somewhat numbed by such concepts. More numbing still, is the simple phenomenon of first-world life. Though suffering touches everyone, the mythology of first-world consciousness tends to view itself as somehow exempt, as the fixer rather than the victim. And so, we theorize rather than empathize.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Each day the Holy Spirit seeks to use the events and relationships of our lives to sanctify our humanity. We have the opportunity to cooperate with Him and say “yes” to His therapeutic activities in our lives. But all therapy involves some level of pain or discomfort, and, too often, we fail to see the redemptive value of this pain and suffering…God didn’t will the pain, suffering, and death of humanity, but He does will a way through it.” (Kevin Scherer)

“The more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers most.” (Thomas Merton)

“I’m not naïve enough to think that just because I believe in Christ that I am immune to sickness, stress, sadness, etc. Because I have Christ, I believe that I have the strength to meet the challenges of life that come my way, because I face them with Him, I don’t face them alone.” (Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis)

“Everyone operates out of a life story that integrates the events of life into a “coherent and vitalizing” narrative. People who have never suffered are likely to have naïve stories about life’s meaning.” (Jonathan Haidt)

“We furtively entertain the idea that perhaps God doesn’t care at all. Perhaps He remains far above this petty existence, detached from human pain. And yet we cannot shake off the awareness that He does care, for we know that He took on our flesh for all eternity and suffered the shame, the spitting, the nails, the Cross, and death!” (OCPM 6/20/2016)

“Taken without the rest of the Psalm, His cry of “Why have You forsaken me?” could be misinterpreted as a cry of despair. Since He took on our nature, Jesus experiences our alienation from God in His humanity, knowing our suffering and distress, yet He does not despair. He speaks these words in the name of humanity, completely identifying with us in our condition, for in His divinity, He is never forsaken by the Father.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 27:46) “

This is the chief significance of the suffering of Christ for us, that we cast all our grief into the ocean of His suffering.” (Meister Eckhart)

“…we might find ourselves grumbling a little that there’s still so much suffering in our personal, family and professional lives. Where are you God? We might ask. To which the only sane answer we can receive is that God is just where He needs to be: there in your heart. Find him there. Watch for him there. Look for him in prayer and love him back by serving your neighbor. Sure, it may not be where you want to be in the end. That’s coming. But it’s exactly where you need to be right now.” (Hieromonk Maximus)

“Many think that pain is the exception in the Christian life. When suffering occurs, they say, “Why me?” They feel as though God deserted them, or perhaps they accuse Him of not being as dependable as they thought. In reality, however, we live in an evil world filled with suffering, even for believers. But God is still in control.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 11:35-39)

“Unquestionably, there is great loneliness in pain and affliction. A wall rears up around those held in the clutches of suffering. The Lord Himself tasted this isolation, as He asked His beloved Peter, “Could you not watch one hour?” (Mk 14:37). And Job, like the Lord, knew that whatever befell him, the hand of God was upon the events. He knew that God cared about his affairs and had not cast him aside.” (OCPM 6/7/2016)

“When we are feeling depressed, as though our contacts with God have been disrupted, or when we question the wisdom of God or wonder if God is even there, it’s time for us to look into the Scriptures which are full of instances when the people of God felt precisely this way, and when God reminded them of the perfection of His concern for their well-being. When we labor under a great deal of stress or tribulation, rather than wondering whether God has forsaken us, we should realize that God often chastens and strengthens us through suffering and pressure.” (Fr. James Meena)

“...the ultimate purpose of life is to glorify God. That means that the first—but perhaps hardest to grasp—purpose for our suffering is the glory of God. The words suffering and glory are linked in a surprising number of biblical passages…In some mysterious way, troubles and suffering refine us like gold and turn us, inwardly and spiritually, into something beautiful and great.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“…God is aware of all suffering… When we suffer Christ feels it with us …The Lord permits our sufferings in order that we might feel our weakness and strive more fervently towards the source of every good thing, our Creator, who gives everyone what is profitable." (Foundation Study Bible, Luke 6:22, Colossians 1:24, St. John Maximovitch)

“Our suffering is not pointless but can be redemptive if it is voluntarily accepted with faith in God’s never-ending providential care for us…Suffering awakens us out of our haunted sleep of spiritual self-sufficiency into a serious search for the divine.” (Archimandrite Sergius, Pastor Timothy Keller)

“Suffering is our common lot. Let us therefore receive in hope every trial that God permits, trusting Him use this opportunity to enlarge our faith.” (OCPM 11/16/2015)

“God will never abandon those who seek him. God’s promise does not mean that if we trust in Him we will escape loss or suffering; it means that God Himself will never leave us no matter what we face.” (Life Application Study Bible, Psalms 9:10)

"We don’t understand completely the mystery of suffering and why God permits it. But what we do understand is that Christ transformed suffering on the Cross. He made it new (Revelations 21:5). He transformed it into a means to draw closer to Him…when we are suffering, no matter how great or how small, it is always an opportunity to pause, reflect, and both remember and feel Jesus’s presence and know that He both understands our suffering and He is the assurance that we will be okay. Not okay in the sense that the circumstance always changes and not okay that we will escape circumstances and consequences; but okay in the sense that no matter what happens to us here, we know ultimately it will be a passing and temporary thing because of our faith in Christ.” (Sacramental Living Podcast)

“Our lives are shaped less by what actually happens to us than by the meaning we ascribe to these events." (Michele Weiner-Davis)

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance…In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.” (Viktor E. Frankl)

“...biblical and theological reasoning can and does become important to the sufferer, but only after a great deal of hard inner heart work.” (Pastor Timothy Keller)

“If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering…The meaning of our suffering comes in sharing in Christ's suffering and death, becoming like Him. Why? So that we may be with Him in glory.” (Viktor E. Frankl, Orthodox Study Bible, Philippians 3:9-11)

“God is there to steady even the worst situation—always with a promise, always with hope.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 4:19)

“Suffering can be a form of prayer. Sometimes all we can do is nod in God’s direction, wordless and emotionless. Even such a nod toward God is a call to Him, a prayer.” (Albert S. Rossi)

"The bottom line is that suffering such as terrible sickness, near death experiences of ourselves or death of our loved ones, has been transformed into something that can be a gift in the sense that it awakens or reawakens us to God who is always reaching out to each one of us. That is why after tragedy or near tragedy you may observe people going to Church or starting to ask questions about faith. For some, this becomes a permanent commitment to God while for others it only lasts until the horror of the terrible experience fades. Either way, the reaction points to the truth of our need for God whether we know it or not.” (Sacramental Living)

“…Suffering has a salvific role, for it is in suffering that we are able to take up our cross and follow Christ. Without ascetic struggle, we remain unchanged, for transformation of self is then unattainable.” (Abbot Tryphon)

"Our suffering can make us much more sensitive to the servants of God [others]. People who have known pain are able to reach out with compassion to others who hurt. If you have suffered ask God how your experience can be used to help others.” (Life Application Study Bible, Hebrews 2:10)

“Suffering is universal. However, Christian believers do have a unique perspective on the meaning of suffering. We begin with the claim that for the believer, suffering has meaning. It depends on how we perceive the suffering. How we deal with suffering makes all the difference.” (Albert S. Rossi)

“One of the hardest-to-swallow, most countercultural, counterintuitive implications of the Gospel is that bearing up under a difficult burden with patient perseverance is a good thing. The Gospel actually advocates this kind of endurance as a daily"dying” for and with Jesus.” (Wesley Hill)

“Suffering that is meaningful for the Christian believer is redemptive. Christ suffered for us to save us, to help us, to heal us. He allows His followers to suffer to participate in His Way, in the healing of those around them. Christ said the disciple is not above the Master. So, for the believer, suffering has a redemptive aspect—that is, my suffering can and does do good for others; it helps and heals. That is a mystery, and it’s an astounding Christian claim. Astounding and valid.” (Albert S. Rossi)

“He feels all our sorrows, needs, and burdens as his own. This is why it is said that the sufferings of believers are called the sufferings of Christ...the Christian belief is that if we somehow share the humility and suffering of Christ we shall also share in His conquest of death and find a new life after we have died and in it become perfect, and perfectly happy, creatures.” (John Flavel, C. S. Lewis)

“Suffering is not always senseless. On the contrary, it is often a means of discovering the will of God and coming closer to Him…Suffering produces growth in us only when we understand Christ’s suffering and work on our behalf.” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou, Pastor Timothy Keller)

“As believers we will face trials, but we must remember that God controls trials and uses them to strengthen His people. God’s glory is manifested through broken vessels, through people who endure troubles by relying on His power.” (Foundation Study Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:8)"God both permits storms and delivers us through them, so that we can see His protection more clearly.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Matthew 8:23-27)

"We dislike sorrows, although they benefit us. And we are attracted fiercely to the comfort and pleasures that destroy us spiritually and bodily.” (Fr. Confessor Ilian of Mount Athos)

“Even in our sufferings and tribulations, God is present with us and for us…our God does not try to prevent us from"coming into affliction;” rather, He"comforteth in affliction.”… God accompanies us through the many little"deaths” that befall us in the world. Having overcome death, He promises us that"you will live also” (Jn 14:19).” (Dynamis 8/6/2015)

“Faith in God does not make troubles disappear; it makes troubles appear less frightening because it puts them in the right perspective.” (Life Application Study Bible, Acts 5:17-18)

#WesleyHill #FrConfessorIlianofMountAthos #FrConfessovassrIlianofMountAthos #CSLewis #ViktorEFrankl #PastorTimothyKeller #MicheleWeinerDavis #SacramentalLivingPodcast #StJohnMaximovitch #ArchimandriteSergius #HieromonkMaximus #FrJamesCMeena #FrStavrosNAkrotirianakis #JonathanHaidt #MeisterEckhart #OCPM #FatherBarnabasPowelll #FatherStephenFreeman #KevinScherer #ThomasMerton #SacramentalLivingBlog #LifeApplicationStudyBible #OrthodoxStudyBible #FoundationStudyBible #JonathanJackson

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