“The Power of Pictures and Pithy Paradigms”—6

Will Suffering-jpeg“The Power of Pictures and Pithy Paradigms” is a series of timeless truths—each of which will serve to reinforce the Feast of the Heart Vision, Mission, and the main motivation for my own life in Christ and love for those He places in my life.

Everyone reformed, revived, a constructive revolutionary!

Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered “reformation, revival, and constructive revolution” (Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City) so that God will be glorified and people blessed.

  • Reformation… we seek to abide by and serve up the true truth of the Bible.
  • Revival… we seek to model biblical Christians living in word and deed.
  • Constructive Revolution… we seek to spread the true gospel right where God has planted us with urgency, compassion, and radical self-abandonment.

Today’s Picture and Pithy Paradigm ranks as one of humanity’s top existential / everyday questions: “Will Suffering Make You Bitter or Better?”

In fact, if it weren’t for the “total immersion process” I experienced on the subject of suffering as I wrote my book on the same topic, I would have been even more surprised when so many folks made a special effort to comment on the very same question—that is the sub-title of my book.

“Hmmm…” people say, Will suffering make you bitter or better? You know something? I hadn’t thought about it that way. We do have a choice in the matter, don’t we? Or do we?”

That very common response to such a simple yet deeply fundamental and ubiquitous question revealed a great deal to me, but top on the list was this: Not only the general public’s proclivity to not having given much thought to their instinctual reaction to life’s unavoidable pain—E.g., it’s killer and there’s nothing I can do to mitigate it… suffering is mostly about bitternessbut the church’s as well.

The overwhelmingly large number of people who had become so accustomed to living in a culture of comfort, to avoiding discomfort of any kind, and now not only conceived suffering as one embittering experience heaped upon another, but additionally the main blotch against God’s good reputation… and even His very existence.

The Church Must Do Better… Lest God’s People Grow Bitter, Insular, and Ineffective.

Christ empowered The Church supernatural and the church institutional to biblically and pastorally steward and apply the answer to one of life’s most important questions, “How could an all-loving and all-powerful God allow such horrid and widespread suffering in the world?”

The light and salt of Western church— beginning with leadership—has failed in their duty to sufficiently answer and internalize theodicy—e.g., the vindication of divine goodness and providence in view of the existence of evil and suffering. This is a painful shame.

And, as a result, the broader culture is justifiably resistant… even downright angry and closed to the idea of a relationship… to believing in such a God. Who wouldn’t be?

A Berlitz Course on “Why?”

Before we look at the three steps included in “God’s protocol for redemptive suffering” [as coined in my book], allow me to offer a very brief answer to “WHY?!” God allows suffering to occur.

  1. “In the beginning…” (Genesis 1:1) from Day 1 to Day 5 God made all things good (Genesis 1:25); leading up to very good (Genesis 1:31) on Day 6 when His final, consummating creative act included God’s Image Bearers in the form of the first of humankind in the form of Adam and then Eve.
  2. God created Adam and the Eve purely out of His Love and Truth. But in order to satisfy the most basic definition and relationship within the logic and “contract” of love, God had to include the existence of free will in mankind—and, therefore, the option of UN-love to exist as well. Otherwise humankind would have been mere robots and the purity of God’s love nothing more than a pure yawner as God acted as The Master Puppet Master and Man a marionette manipulated from above by strings attached to each wooden-jointed, and lifeless limb.
  3. The only strings attached to Adam and Eve’s relationship with God was to obey His command(s)—the “proto-command” of God’s love and truth and mankind’s appropriate response of gratitude-filled obedience—NOT to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil planted as the centerpiece in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17).
  4. You know how it went down… Eve then Adam willfully disobeyed God (Genesis 3); sin, separation, evil, darkness, tears, bitterness, decay, suffering, and a stench so pervasive the entire universe was blighted with the scent of disobedience, the putridness of pride, the sludge of egotism, and the start-up of a whole new industry of “idols manufactured in the hearts of humankind” (Augustine, Jeremiah 17:9; Ephesians 2:1-3).
  5. “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness…” (Romans 3:10-18; 5: 1:18-32)
  6. “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through the one man Adam, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…” (Romans 5:12).
  7. “But… [HUGE BUT!] in the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law [people born into sin and sinning at every turn], so that we might receive adoption as sons and daughters. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7, parenthesis added)
  8. The centerpiece of God’s Plan of Redemption is based upon how God was faced with the biggest dilemma ever: How to Love humankind in Truth; how to be BOTH utterly LOVING and completely JUST at the same time; how to deal with Humankind’s transgression while continuing to be true to Himself. God could NOT simply turn a blind eye to Mankind’s Sin [inherited] and sinning [habitual]—and be utterly holy and righteous unto Himself.
  9. Here’s how: God flipped Original Sin [the spiritual DNA of all humankind inherited from Adam and Eve] and Habitual Sin [the outflow of pride, pretense, egotism, and selfishness run wild] on its head by the substitutionary, atoning death of His one and only, perfect Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ became “The Second Adam” in order to make things right. Jesus Christ—perfect in every way—when He died upon the cross became the atoning sacrifice for the Sin and sins of the world—E.g., for those who believe (John 3:16).
  10. SO THAT any/all of the unavoidable suffering and pain borne out of The Fall [when suffering originated and ALL things went bad] would have either of two effects: a) to help bring people to their knees to repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord for the first time, or, b) to sanctify, make holy, purify… to conform people more and more to the likeness of Jesus Christ—who have suffered [and we all will…] and have been saved.
  11. God flipped the fact, consequences, and unavoidable nature of sin and suffering on its head and made a way that might sound insignificant but it makes ALL the difference in the universe AND in each every heart that chooses to repent and have faith in Jesus Christ: God’s Plan of Redemption. God didn’t simply put in place a plan to heal the world by sending His only Son to die and be resurrected for the sins of the world—for those who believe—but God included a plan to redeem all of the suffering as well—if we will embrace the fact that WE have a role in God’s plan to redeem suffering of any and all kinds… little or big.
  12. The GAP between suffering for no apparent reason AND redemptive suffering in Christ is as wide and deep as any question and answer humankind can consider. It’s The Church [universal] and the church [institutional] responsibility to identity and help the adherents of the faith to close this GAP.
  13. If The Church or folks in the church do not understand and embrace this fact then they are essentially saying, “We have chosen avoid one of God’s main instruments for conforming us to the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.” This is a very bad decision for any church to explicitly or implicitly make.
  14. “Why does an all-powerful and all-loving God allow such horrid and widespread suffering in the world?” Because He loves us. Can you see this better now? God loves humanity so much He turned the most God-awful depravity THAT MAN CREATED into a redemptive force to, a) bring us to Himself, and then b) transform us into the likeness of His Son Jesus Christ (Romans 5:3-5; 1 Peter 5:10) after we have repented and been saved.
  15. You see, God didn’t have to allow suffering—let alone REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING—to exist at all: He could have wiped mankind off the face of the earth and be completely sufficient and justified within the Trinity.
  16. Can you see how much MERCY is contained in the Godhead, Beloved of God? The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all working together and separately to USE the suffering mankind began to redeem the universe. If this doesn’t bring us to our knees in worship, and to the streets in winsome and urgent evangelism, it’s a very big problem.
  17. We have to fully embrace God’s most merciful and wise ways to redeem the suffering that WILL absolutely and unavoidably come our way (John 16:33).
  18. There are many complicated reasons why fallen/pagan AND redeemed/saved people will avoid all of the DIS-comforting measures involved in working through suffering in a Christ-centered, community-based, and world-changing ways: In the first group, a) Pride rules and in the second b) the remnants of Pride still remain. Please don’t let pride stand in your way.
  19. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name” (1 Peter 4:12-19).
  20. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
  21. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing [proving, refining, tempering, maturing] of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-3, parenthesis added).
  22. “Lastly”, because it’s of first importance, in order to benefit from God’s Plan of Redemption in the context of suffering we have to be first REDEEMED. We need to have BEGUN the spiritual journey God offers us in Christ in order to BENEFIT from how the Spirit uses trials for tempering, maturity, perseverance, Christ-likeness, and ever-increasing effectiveness.

Please, never forget, God’s Mercy includes BOTH Salvation for time and eternity AND the mercy of His Justice in the Condemnation of those who refuse to repent and cry out to God: The Mercy of Hell [that God uses as the balm of ALL injustice] is reserved for those who refuse to bow a knee to Jesus (Mark 3:29; John 3:18; Romans 6:23). The Mercy of Heaven is reserved for those who repent and bow a knee to Jesus (John 3:16; Acts 16:31). It’s as simple, important, and urgent as that: God will forgive ANY sin if we run to Him, but God cannot forgive ANY sin if we do not. (Mark 3:22-30; Matthew 12:31-32)

As quoted in the preface of my book on suffering, few, if any, have said it more clearly and better than this:

There are only two kinds of people in the world. Both are sufferers. There are the people who build their trust on things beside God so that when suffering comes it takes away the sources of their joy so they become sadder and sadder, and madder and madder, and worse. And then there are the people who suffer, but who seek to build their trust on God, on the basis of his infinite suffering for us on the cross, so that God becomes the source of their joy. When suffering comes in their lives, it drives them into deeper joy. It drives them more into God. And so suffering makes them better and better, and more like Jesus.

There are only two kinds of people in the world! They’re both going to suffer. There’s the kind of person that suffering makes worse, because the source of their joy being taken away. And there’s the kind of person who suffering makes better because the suffering is pushing them towards the one source of joy that is not subject to circumstances. Jesus Christ suffered not so that we might not suffer, but rather when we suffer, we could become more like him! (The Sufferer, Sermon by Pastor Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NY, March 7, 2004)

God’s Protocol for Redemptive Suffering: “The Weeping, the Window and the Way”

Following are the three phases for redemptive suffering—based upon the Bible verses I heard from God the Spirit on Christmas night while with my father after he shot himself and I cried out to God on three separate yet intertwined occasions.

The book I wrote on this subject is a 384-page book. Please know that there are lots of details that won’t be included below, but more than enough to help anyone who’s tired of getting bitterer rather then being made better by the unavoidable trials of living in a broken yet [partially] redeemed world.

1) The WeepingFree-falls and Foundations, (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1; Deuteronomy 31:6)

Creation: In the beginning . . . God said, . . . (Genesis 1:1)

Christ: In the beginning was the Word . . . (John 1:1)

Covenant: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread… for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will never leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6)

When I first found my dad lying in the snow on Christmas night and dying from a gunshot wound, I fell to my knees next to him. And I fell, and fell, and fell… as if I would never stop the terrifying free-fall into a nauseating vertigo and darkness. I cried out to God to help me and stop the free-fall, and He answered by by the Spirit and the Bible verses above.

All weeping, all tears, all trials, and all tiny and tumultuous freefalls in life are God’s offer for revealing and firming up the foundations of our faith.

ln a horribly broken and drastically dark world, little and big freefalls occur every day. Without exception, every one, we come into contact with is in some sort of freefall of life. It’s not a matter of if but when the brokenness of this world will nick us—with a paper cut of losing a parking space or missing out on an invite to the party of the year—or crush us—with news ranging from the loss of dearly beloved friend or family member to planes flying into buildings.

Human beings were not designed by God to experience “temporal or existential freefalling.” It’s not how we were made by God; we cannot live in a state of freefalling very long; and, in desperation, we will flail and grasp at anything to halt the freefalling whenever it occurs: Will we reach out for The Only God or the little gods of our own making? The difference makes all the difference.

Every human being has faith in something. Freefalls, trials test the nature and worthiness of everyone’s faith foundations. If the foundations of any human being’s faith are not based upon the Bible’s doctrine and application of God’s Creation, Christ, and Covenant it will prove unworthy, insubstantial, and like standing on thin ice in the middle of a big lake: Horrifying! Embittering! Hardening! Fear-filled! And anxiety-producing on every level—spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical.

Human beings cannot live—let alone flourish—while existing on the faulty foundations of life: Such as our looks, our wealth, our grades, our fitness, our relationships, our in-crowd, our club memberships, our trophies, our intellect, our victimhood, our ANYTHING other than a repentant, bona fide, born-again, newly created faith in God, through Christ, and by means of the Spirit.

Please spend some quality time with God and a community of Bible-loving people to make some humble yet courageous inquires about the foundations of your faith “Today…” (Psalm 95:7-8).

“Freefalls and Foundations” is the first step.

The answer must be some-one, not just something. For the problem suffering is about someone (“God—why does he . . . why doesn’t he . . .?) rather than just some-thing. To question God’s goodness is not just an intellectual experiment. It is either rebellion or weeping. It is a little child with tears in its eyes looking up at Daddy and weeping, “Why?” This is not merely the philosophers’ “why?” Not only does it add the emotion of tears but also it is asked in the context of relationship. It is a question put to the Father, not a question asked in a vacuum.

The hurt child needs not so much explanations as reassurances. And that is what we get: the reassurance of the Father in the person of Jesus Christ, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

The answer is not just a word… but The Word; not an idea but a person. (Peter Kreeft, What is God’s Answer to Human Suffering?)

BOTH theologically– and practically-speaking, when suffering occurs remembering and going deeper into the foundations of Creation, Christ, and Covenant is vitally important. Each one of the foundations of the faith could be plumbed for a lifetime! Put a brake to all of life’s fast-paced craziness and plumb the depths for a while. Remember, shore-up, deepen, and witness the foundations of your faith.

2) The Window—The Truths and Falsehoods within the Heart, (Romans 1:18; Romans 8:1)

More Sinful: The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth (Romans 1:18).

And More Loved: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

At this stage of my time with dad and God I saw my sin more clearly than ever before. I was pounded by wave after wave of “The Would-a, Could-a, Should-a’s”. The crushing I was under was unbearable; I cried out to God to stop it; and the perfect passages above came to me: The plain truth of the Gospel was laid out: I was more sinful than I could imagine while being more loved than I could hope for!

This is the opening for redemptive change.

Once resting on an indestructible and absolutely rock-solid foundation of Creation, Christ, and Covenant, we are assured there is no punishment is involved in our suffering, only purification: This is a time [no matter how long it takes] of searching our heart, discerning between the falsehoods and truths of our faith, and using the time to, a) vanquish and defang falsehoods while, b) embracing, revitalizing the truths.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this: When suffering used of God helps us get a clearer, more detailed, real, and Spirit-rooted perspective of the complexities of our heart… It’s HUGE!!! And it’s also not easy, is it? But worth every once of our time, talent, and treasure to take advantage of the window of our heart blown open by a trial of any kind.

We cannot manufacture this state of open-heartedness caused by our heart being shattered into so many pieces: “We can ignore even pleasure. 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, The Problem of Pain)

In the case of our heart—and the transformative nature that God’s plan for redemptive suffering has upon it—just as being born-again has this effect: “And I [God] will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20, parenthesis added)

SO ALSO does God’s promoting a change of heart via redemptive suffering, sanctification, maturity, holiness, and conformity to the likeness of Jesus Christ, in the exact same way: “I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh…” The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart!

Please slow down and take to heart the importance of taking care of your heart—talk to someone grounded in the faith—when any trial blows open the window into your heart: The inevitable trials of life vary in the duration and depth of pain associated with each experience.

EACH trial, and the potential treasures of transformation, should be understood before we try and “move on”, “get back to life”, or somehow mitigate the pain by avoiding a deeper understanding of it in any number of ways. We need to talk about our suffering and faith so that wise counselors can help us make the necessary and redemptive distinctions between exactly what we embrace as true or as false.

Allowing the truths and falsehoods about our faith to simply live on and co-exist within our heart creates a form of emotional ambivalence that can easily stunt our faith and decrease its effectiveness—in word and deed.

Purification, sanctification, growing up, and softening of the heart is all about replacing falsehoods with God’s True Truth—and gaining God-, self-, and other-awareness. Please take however long you need to—and more… because we tend to be such poor mourners and shallow searchers of the heart—when the window into your heart is opened by a trial of any kind.

Please do not unwittingly, hurriedly, fearfully, or pride-fully pass by or compartmentalize the effects of your trials and the open window of and into your heart.

3) The Way—Turning Back into the Chaos as a Co-Redeemer, (Ezekiel 11:19; Romans 8:28, 12:2; Job 19:25)

Mark the Change of Heart: Less Stone, More Flesh: I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19).

Moan the Purpose of the Spirit: Less Me, More Christ: We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

Marvel the Mercy of God: Less Whining, More Worship: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).

Move the Mountain with Faith: Less Ruminating, More Redeeming: For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth (Job 19:25).

On Christmas night, while with my mortally wounded father, there came a time when I had to turn to face a hoard of emergency personnel. The miraculous bubble of my time with The Spirit and dad was popped by reality. I had to stand up from being on my knees, turn 180 degrees, and walk towards the cold and cruel chaos of this broken world. As hellish and heavenly as being with dad was, the thought of leaving the miraculous space and stepping into a mass of shock, tears, denial, avoidance, and unfettered love… was absolutely petrifying to me!

But the Christ-enlivened, intentional, daily walk into the chaos is exactly what Christians are called to do.

This is an especially important, power-packed, and complicated phase of God’s protocol for redemptive suffering: It’s an accumulation of the previous two phases being done WELL or POORLY; it’s a very rich, deep, and profoundly consequential part of the protocol in and of itself [just look at the four parts above];  it’s the fruit of God’s plan of redemption by means of God’s people being more and more LIGHT and SALTnot less; it’s a direct and unmitigated reflection of God’s promise [via the Holy Spirit] to “make little Christ’s of each of us”… or not;  it’s the perfect example of why “the Spirit-led conformation of a Christian into the likeness of Christ” is just as real and consequential as the Spirit fluttering over the void before Creation—and it leapt into existence!

The Spirit is The Supernatural Heart-Changer and he changes hearts, aligns emotions, and makes straight the path towards redeeming the world in word and in deed. REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING is a very big part of this heart- and world-changing reality.

By far and away one of the most dreadful impacts of not realizing or refusing to allow God to more fully redeem the unavoidable trials of life is the decreased, minimized, scant, or missing redemptive impact on this dark and fast-decaying world: If redemptive suffering makes us more and more like Jesus Christ, what would the impact be if we willfully chose to avoid the journey and its benefits?

The anticipation of moving back into the chaos of a broken world as a stronger-still co-redeemer in Christ can paralyze or rush us. We should try like hell to avoid both temptations.

For the “co-redeemer in Christ”, the way back into the chaos of a fallen and broken world requires supernatural and human will power, purpose, and preparation. Don’t waste your tears!

Before we turn from the trial God has allowed for the purpose of sanctifying us, we must, must, must take time to Mark, Moan, Marvel, and then Move.

Mark the Change of Heart: Less Stone, More Flesh

  • The supernatural person and power of the Holy Spirit re-creates our heart so that we will less hardened towards God and more “fleshy”, loving, and obedient.
  • This is not a metaphor; spiritually-speaking the Spirit transforms our heart—and we need to take the time to MARK IT and see how it has changed and talk to others about the changes.
  • When walking back into the chaos of life, prepare yourself, and shout from the rooftops about God has changed your heart!

Moan the Purpose of the Spirit: Less Me, More Christ

  • Pain is oftentimes so deep and hurtful that all we can do is moan—like the Spirit does to intercede to Christ on our behalf (Romans 8:26).
  • In preparation for moving out into the chaos as and for Christ, we need to remind ourselves of what The Spirit’s main role is: Helping us die to self. Pointing us to Christ. And encouraging us to be conformed into Christ-likeness—wherever God would plant us.
  • From the time we repent and come to saving faith in Christ, the Person of the Spirit within us is counseling, pointing, conforming, persevering, and mortifying sin… ALL for the purpose of making less of us and more of Christ.

Marvel the Mercy of God: Less Whining, More Worship

  • If any person ever born were given the chance to see the total depravity of their own heart, they would likely die of a heart attack at that very minute.
  • No human being could stand to see every atrocity ever committed by FallenMan—contained in the potential for, and actually fulfilled, SIN and SINNING in his or her own heart.
  • If this is true—which it is—then we should be marveling at the manifold mercies of God in Christ and by the Spirit with every fiber of our being each and every day.
  • So before we move out into the chaos we must do a reality check on our many and deep propensities for grumbling, whining, complaining, and begrudging God… and replace such foolishness with worship, worship, and more worship!

Move the Mountain with Faith: Less Ruminating, More Redeeming

  • As I stood, turned, and walked towards the chaos of the world on Christmas night, the final Bible passage the Spirit said to me was, For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25). BUT the final words from the Spirit were just as amazing… nearly more so… “You have been redeemed to redeem… redeemed to redeem…”
  • In the most powerful and transforming way imaginable, I was reminded—as all of God’s people desperately need to be—that my redemption was ultimately for the purposes of helping redeem others. The healing and hope doesn’t END when we’re saved; it’s just the beginning.
  • As you process you’re suffering, take however much time you need to be reminded of why you have been counted worthy of God’s saving grace in Christ: In order to tell others of God’s amazing grace!

Let’s Review

  • The Weeping: When God allows any sort of FREE-FALL to occur in your life, please take a close look at what FOUNDATIONS you’ve built your life upon. If it’s anything but, a) God’s creative and sustaining work (Genesis 1:1), b) Christ’s atoning sacrifice for your sins and His Lordship for your life (John 1:1), and c)  God’s covenant, unbreakable promise to never leave or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6), then you have unknowingly or knowingly decided to rest your unspeakably worthy and eternally valuable life on faulty foundations that WILL [not if but when] forsake you and guarantee you a life-worth of free-falls, bitterness, loneliness, and despair.
  •  The Window: Once you are resting on God’s three-pillared and unshakable foundations of Creation, Christ, and Covenant, you have the assurance of, a) having been adopted into a brand new spiritual family and b) no more shame! THEN and only then can you listen to the Spirit and a counselor’s words NOT of punishment, but purification: It’s heart-cleansing, transforming, sanctifying, and conforming time!
  • The Way: Now it’s time to re-enter the hurricane of chaos and brokenness in this dark and decaying world—MORE LIKE CHRIST! Please remember to take your time to Mark, Moan, Marvel, and Move.
  • The cycle of the WEEPING, the WINDOW and the WAY repeats itself over and over until Christ returns, Beloved. Each turn through the cycle should result in a more and more mature, fruitful, and effective Christian. Each cycle is offered for God-like holiness, Christ-like service, and Spirit-led revival and change in the world. Each “loop around the horn” is meant to NOT JUST transform hearts and the world for TIME, but will also be an obvious and remarkable part of each of our ETERNITY in heaven as well!!

Why does God allow such horrible and widespread suffering to occur in the world? To reflect His Glory and transform our bitterness into betterness, for the betterment of the world.

“And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God…” (Ezekiel 11:19-21).

Can’t wait to see you at The Training Table next week when we’ll chew on Fellowship: A Feast of the Heart.



Walking with God through Pain and Suffering, by Pastor Timothy Keller

Why Suffering? by Ravi Zacharias

Suffering–By Category, via Ligonier Ministries

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