Stephen Crosby considers the need for compassion and understanding
To many of you facing difficult, challenging, and painful circumstances:
I have been sharing lately at different venues how John the Baptist got the report from Jesus about the kingdom exploding for everyone else EXCEPT HIM! Go tell John: The blind see, the lame walk, the gospel is preached to the poor. That's great! (John, you were wondering if I am the One. Yes John, I am, and by the way, I am not going to deliver you out of your circumstance and you are going to lose your head!)
Can you imagine what John went through emotionally when his OWN COUSIN, for whom he has virtually SHUT DOWN his own ministry for, for whom he paved the way . . . Yashua, DOESN'T GRANT HIM HIS DELIVERANCE MIRACLE?
Yet, Jesus was so moved at the news of John's demise that he had to get away to be alone to process it. Sometimes the practical realities of sonship, only doing what you see your Father doing, is painful, at a deep level.
Think of how conflicted in His humanity Jesus was . . . loving John, His own cousin, delivering, healing and freeing others, and yet His Father saying NO to him in John's case? Not emotionally easy. The scripture never promises us it will be.
He promises to be with us and in us, until the end of the age. He promises that there is nothing that overtakes us that is not common to humanity. He promises to never leave us, nor forsake us. He promises to lead and guide us, even in suffering, to know whether we are to resist in faith, or accept in faith. He promises that we WILL have trials and troubles in this life, regardless of how "carefully and scrupulously we obey God's Word." We obey because it is right to obey, because it is consistent with the new nature to obey, NOT because we demand, or it guarantees an expected outcome of a "pain free life."
Sometimes, we just don't know why we experience the painful and difficult things that we do, and in those times, which we ALL will have sooner or later, the last thing we need is some jack-ass Christian spouting simplistic, naive, and WRONG quid pro quo theology about "open doors for the enemy", "sin in your life" and such other nonsense.
We need to IDENTIFY with people in their suffering, not lecture them with biblical platitudes from the physical and emotional safety pockets of our tidy little untouched lives. Jesus: a high priest TOUCHED with the feelings of our infirmities. We don't want to be touched, we want to lecture sufferers with our biblical brilliance. Since when did we get off believing that if we just have "enough faith" that we will avoid suffering?"
We simply have no practical theology of suffering in our understanding of the gospel.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
Steve is the author of two books, 'The Word, the Spirit, and Prophecy' and 'The Silent Killers of Faith: Overcoming Performance-Based Religion and Legalism'. He also serves as Chaplain for the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 903.
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