Reporting suffering or confessing the struggle

By Dave Henning / January 12, 2019

“Celebrating the gift of the body of Christ in the middle of suffering isn’t about reporting suffering but about confessing the struggle in the midst of it.  It isn’t just about communicating what you’re going through but also being honest about how you’re going through it.”- Paul David Tripp

“You must also help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted through the prayers of many.”- 2 Corinthians 1:11 (ESV)

In Chapter 13 (“The Comfort of God’s People”) of Suffering, Paul David Tripp stresses the gift of the body of Christ.  Because when you fight community or seek self-sufficiency, you deny your spiritual need.  And, you deny your humanity.

Therefore, the message of the Bible is that you haven’t been forgotten and you’re not being messed with.  Also, your suffering’s profoundly more than another round of bad luck.  In other words, it’s grace.

Furthermore, God makes His invisible grace visible.  He sends people of grace to give grace to people who truly need it.  Hence, God blesses us with an abundant community of help.  We aren’t left to ourselves.  So, Pastor Tripp asks if your suffering drives you “inward to go it alone or call you outward in humble, honest, and willing dependency.”

When we suffer, it exposes the depth of our weakness and the stark reality of our dependence.  As a result, confessing your hopelessness provides the care only God can give you through His people’s hearts and hands.  Specifically, the author notes, the confession of hopelessness frees you from:

  • attempting to do what you don’t have the power to do on your own
  • acting as if you’re something you’re not
  • shame’s paralyzing power
  • isolation

In conclusion, Pastor Tripp writes:

“When I strong, it’s easy to forget that my strength depends on God’s constant provision and protection, without which I wouldn’t be strong. . . .  travail, in the hands of the Savior, becomes an instrument of grace.”

Today’s question: Do you find yourself reporting suffering or confessing the struggle?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A warehouse of comfort, wisdom, and direction”

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Dave Henning

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