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Suffering (Accepting or Avoiding It)

“We know that the Lord is anointed by the Father so that He may actualize the kingdom of life in this world through His suffering and saving Passion (Luke 9:18-27). As human beings, however, we are filled with an insidious lethargy. We sluggishly resist the Lord’s call for many reasons, including ignorance, sinful darkness, and the captivating cares and pleasures of this present existence (vs. 8:14)….Our present day “comfort culture” encourages us to flee from pain…As a result, we seek to avoid every kind of suffering and effort (vs. 9:45). Nevertheless, our Savior speaks of suffering as the way of the kingdom. When the disciples hear the Lord’s prediction of His Passion (vs. 44), their present comforts make them “afraid to ask Him about this saying” (vs. 45). The Lord, however, implores us to “let these words sink down into your ears” (vs. 44). He wishes to awaken us from the inertia in which we are immersed.” (Dynamis 10/21/2020, 1/15/2020)

“Our entitlement culture offers very little to comfort those who are unable to realize their dreams or who find themselves confronted with the fragility and brokenness that is integral to being human…Most of us would have a hard time saying, “It was good for me to be afflicted.” By definition, affliction is painful to endure. How could we ever call it good? Yet that is exactly what the psalmist said about his own suffering.” (Robin Phillips, Ray Pritchard)

“If we grew up in a difficult home or had a chaotic or traumatic childhood, we may develop unrealistic expectations for how the rest of our life should turn out. We may define success as making sure we never again experience what we did growing up. We may feel we suffered enough and expect that God will grant us a peaceful, quiet, and smooth rest of our life in this world. We develop rigid expectations that everything should always be perfect, with no untoward events, for if anything bad does happen, then we feel as if our early life is happening all over again. In essence, we can actually retraumatize ourselves with unrealistic expectations. When the inevitable trial or tribulation arises or when life does not go our way, we are unable to reframe it, and we assign the meaning that we are once again reliving the past.” (Fr. Joshua Makoul)

“I look back at my mother’s life and I see suffering deepening and strengthening it. In some people I have also seen it destroy. Pain is not always creative; received wrongly, it can lead to alcoholism and madness and suicide. Nevertheless, without it we do not grow.” (Madeleine L'Engle)

“If any one of us were to redesign reality we would not include suffering. Unfortunately, it is here to stay so what do we do with it? Most of us at one time have tried to deny it, avoid it, suppress it, and ease it through the wrong means and found this just makes it worse. We are left with the reality that we have to face it head-on and work our way through it. But we don’t have to do it alone though pride often leads us down this road first. Eventually, suffering brings many of to us to Christ and the Holy Spirit the great Comforter. Once we are broken enough, it also leads us to a deeper relationship with others and the strength and growth of shared suffering and shared comforting. That’s when real growth and movement to becoming a fuller human being begins.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“During the temptation in the wilderness, in both the Matthew and Luke accounts, Satan offers Jesus worldly power by the wrong means. His method essentially involved a detour around the cross, an inducement to take the easy way. But Christ knew the path to the fulfillment of His mission was through the cross, not around it. He says in the Gospel of John that in this world trouble will come (John 16:33). James says we will face trials as well and strangely that we should consider it joy (James 1:2-3). The bottom line message to us is that through our suffering, if we cling to God, that we will experience growth that leads to our salvation. We will experience the cross. If we try to avoid suffering at all costs, we distance ourselves from the cross and from Christ.” (Foundation Study Bible, Luke 4:5, Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Suffering has the potential to lead human beings either to despair, misery and self enclosure or to transcendence through hope and faith, trusting the benevolence of God and His covenant relationship with His people.” (Fr. Emmanuel Clapsis)

“God does not promise deliverance from persecution, but deliverance through it. Persecution is one of the means that God uses to bring about our growth and sanctification (2:12; Matt. 5:10–12; Rev. 2:10).” (Foundation Study Bible, 2 Timothy 3:12)

“Don’t seek out suffering, and don’t try to avoid it. Instead, keep on doing what is right whether or not it brings suffering…Suffering helps us be like Christ, yet people will do anything to avoid pain. Followers of Christ, however, should be willing and prepared to do God’s will and to suffer for it if necessary.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Peter 4:16, 1 Peter 4:1-2)

“God is in charge during every upheaval in our lives.” (Dynamis 10/27/2014)

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