To the borders of our faith

By Dave Henning / December 7, 2018

“Suffering takes us to the borders of our faith.  It leads us to think about things we’ve never thought about before and maybe even question things we thought were settled in our hearts.”- Paul David Tripp

In Chapter 3 (“The Awareness Trap”) of Suffering, Paul David Tripp observes what happens when we share our travail.  Often, we walk away thinking other people heard just words.  Thus, our suffering represents a concept without much reality.  Furthermore, we don’t know what to do with our very real pain.  Because it seems unreal to the people around us.

Also, what people do say to you never possesses the power to rid you of one thing.  Your pain.  So, the distance between what others understand and your reality creates a painful addition to your present suffering.  Yet, Pastor Tripp offers these word of encouragement:

“Suffering is real, and it’s physical, spiritual, and relational effects are real.  We should all take comfort in the fact that the Bible never treats suffering as anything but a real, significant, and often life-changing human experience. . . .  Not only does Scripture record the history of sufferers, but a large portion of Scripture is dedicated to giving voice to their cries.”

Most noteworthy, Pastor Tripp relates, scholars classify about sixty-seven psalms as laments.  In other words, roughly 44 percent of the psalms’ content deals with suffering and sorrow.  However, the Bible does even more than that.  It presents to us a suffering Savior.  As the author explains, Jesus never had relief from travail:

“None of us would be willing to exchange our life, no matter how hard it has been, for the life of Jesus while he was here on earth.  He suffered not just in one way, but in every way, and he suffered not just for a period of time, but for his entire life.  The One to whom we cry when we cry out in pain knows our pain because suffering of some kind was his experience from the moment of his birth until his final breath.”

Today’s question: How has suffering taken you to the borders of your faith?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Never passive sufferers”

About the author

    Dave Henning