The loneliness of suffering

By Dave Henning / November 18, 2012

In his extended discussion of Abraham and Isaac on their journey to Mt. Moriah, author John Ortberg (The Life You’ve Always Wanted) notes that although Abraham and Isaac walked together to build a sacrificial altar, Abraham was very much alone.  Abraham and Isaac were separated by an unspeakable barrier, because Abraham was burdened by what he thought lay ahead for Isaac.  Pastor Ortberg then underscores this point:

“One of the most  painful aspects of suffering is the loneliness of it.  Others may offer support or empathy, but no one can walk the road to Moriah in our place.”

It certainly is difficult for someone to truly understand the devastation of a ministry downsizing or position loss without having undergone the same experience.  However, even if we do have the support and guidance of people who share our specific adversity, we have the ultimate responsibility of choosing our response- and we will make a choice, either actively or by default.  With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can move forward on our transformational journey of healing and refocused ministry.  As John Ortberg states, Abraham’s faith is a model of encouragement:

“Abraham, obedient to the end, gives up everything, yet still hopes- even when hope seems absurd- that God will deliver him.”


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Dave Henning

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