Christlife Posture: Trusting God's Wisdom

Topic: Trusting in the Midst of Pain and Suffering

 

Suggested Approach: Choose 1 thing from each of the three boxes

OR Choose 1 from Media or Reflection + 1 from Scripture 

Media Excursions      (Watch/read/listen and be ready to discuss Q's)

Still Image/Painting/Drawing/Photograph

  •  Praised  (Giancarlo Vitali) What emotions do you see on the faces of each of these persons in prayer?  Why do you think the artist calls this work “Praised”?

Video Clip

  • Testimony: Priscilla Nicoara. (I Am Second) Comment on the connection between pain/suffering and God’s love.  What surprised you about this testimony?

  • Testimony: Vitor Belfort (I Am Second) How did pain and suffering contribute to his journey with God?  Do you think the peace he feels now has replaced pain and suffering in his life? Why or why not?

  • Interviews: Why Does God Allow Pain and Suffering (Explore God) Of the many ways this video addresses suffering, which one do you find most satisfying intellectually? Emotionally?

Song

  • Not for a Moment (Vertical Church Band) Sometimes this kind of insight can only come after the pain has subsided.  Think of a time that God brought you or someone you know through a deeply painful time.

  •  Joy of the Lord (Rend Collective) What stands out to you in this song? In the lyrics, what reasons does the songwriter give for being able to say “the joy of the Lord is my strength”?

Article

  • 5 Truths about Pain and Suffering (Joseph Scheumann) Of the types of suffering listed in Truth 1, which type do you most often experience? Do you think these are truths or ideals about suffering? Why?

Video Teaching 

  • Life Questions Look at the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen.” There are 4 short videos here.  Look at Evans and Zucha’s answers .  Try to restate their answers in your own words.  How satisfied are you with how they address the presence of pain and suffering?

  • God’s Role in Pain and Suffering See the questions under the “Questions” tab. Also, see the “Related” tab for articles and videos to explore more.

  • If God Exists, Why do Bad Things Happen (The Truth Project)  This video talks about blame.  Note any ways you may have misblamed God for something.  How does the illustration of the little girl or of the last argument (the good) help you see pain and suffering differently?

Reflection Options  

Journal  (reflect on one or more of these questions)

  • Which disturbs you the most: the suffering you see in the world at large or the suffering you see in your own life/someone you care about? What do you wish could be done about that suffering?  How different is what you wish from what you understand God’s ultimate wish to be?

  • Recall a time you faced pain or suffering in your life and ended up experiencing growth or maturity from it.  What helped you to get to a place of growth and not bitterness?  If you were not able to get to a place of growth, what do you think held you back?

  • Think of as many ways as you can that Jesus suffered while on earth.  Why do you think the Father allowed the Son (Jesus) to suffer so much?  Do you think God still suffers in some way? If not, why not?

Quote Interaction (Interact by agreeing, disagreeing or otherwise engaging with the quote/quotes)

  • “Hatred is not a creative force. Love alone creates. Suffering will not prevail over us, it will only melt us down and strengthen us.”  -- St. Maximilian Kolbe

  • “Sometimes God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” ~Joni Eareckson Tada in The God I Love

  • "But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." --C.S. Lewis

  • "I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the worlds finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, of all the blood that they’ve shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened." Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov

  • "The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that 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." --Thomas Merton

  • "You may never know that JESUS is all you need, until JESUS is all you have." --Corrie Ten Boom

  • "As cold as everything looks in winter, the sun has not forsaken us. He has only drawn away for a little, for good reasons, one of which is that we may learn that we cannot do without him." --George MacDonald

Reading & Reflection from the book, Shaping The Journey of Emerging Adults

  • Read the short stories of the 7 young adults at the beginning of chapter 10 (pp. 164-166).  Each of them are suffering (or are about to) in some way.  Consider the source of the suffering each of them faces.  Possible options: as a consequence of their own choices, wounds from someone else’s choice that has affected them, suffering for Christ, a combination of those things or?  How does the source of suffering affect the way we approach our suffering?

  • Read “Wanted: Spiritual Risk-Takers” (pp. 205-206).  How have you been affected by the “promise” of an easy or soft life?   How do you make sense of the Ernest Shackleton true life example?

  • Read “A Mission Critical Urgency” (pp. 15-16).  What has been your experience of the necessity of pain, disillusionment or disappointment in growing into adulthood?

  • MENTOR:  Read “Leaning into Pain and Brokenness” (pp. 231-234).  When do you feel tempted to ignore or hide your brokenness as a mentor? How can leaning into your pain and brokenness be a positive thing for the mentor relationship?

 Explore Scripture

Meditate on one or more of the following passages. Always look them up in context.  Take some time to really explore the verse in relation to this topic.  Look for wisdom about where pain comes from or how to navigate suffering.  Make a note of what you discover to share later.  See "Learn More About Ways to Study Scripture" below for help in getting the most out of the verse.

  • Job 13:15, 19:25

  • Psalm 91:1-16

  • Psalm 119:71

  • John 9:1-3

  • John 16:33

  • Romans 5:3-5

  • Romans 8

  • 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

  • Hebrews 12:11

  • I Peter 4:12-13

  • I Peter 5:10

  • James 1:2-4

  • I John 5:19

  • Revelation 21:4