Friday, January 12, 2007

Theology of Suffering

I'm reading C. J. Mahaney's Humility as part of my personal study times, and I read the following today:
"(D. A.) Carson goes on to say, 'We do not give the subject of evil and suffering the thought it deserves until we ourselves are confronted with tragedy.' Indeed, we should strive to develop a theology of suffering ahead of time so we're prepared for suffering and sustained throughout our experience of it."

To be honest, I've not faced much suffering. I've been through a few dance recitals and voice recitals and I've been rock climbing, but I don't think that's the suffering we're talking about here. Obviously, I've faced some rough times walking through the suffering and deaths of loved ones. But so far, I've lived a life fairly insulated from pain and suffering, and my theology of suffering has been something along the lines of "God is in control."

God is in control. However, as a person charged with pastoral care for leaders, I think I need to heed Mahaney's advice and develop a more comprehensive theology of suffering. How do we view suffering Biblically and help people (and ourselves) walk through it? He suggested a study of the book of Habakkuk. Obviously, Job is another place to study and meditate. If anyone has any other thoughts, let me know!


At 11:38 PM, Blogger Paul Neel said...

The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are excellent studies in how leaders respond and rebuild after suffering/ tragedy.

At 7:28 PM, Blogger Elaine said...

Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer is a good overall book that contains many gems regarding the journey through depression. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion is an illuminating account of the first year after a loved one's death. Both of these may help you get into the head of those who suffer. Let Your Life Speak also gives great advice about how to NOT be one of Job's friends. :)

At 10:08 AM, Anonymous bryan riley said...

Looking at the history of the early church and at some of the books written by missionaries about their work in the field are also good.

I also literally just thought of the woman who was bleeding for all those years, until she touched Jesus. She suffered so long, but it was all for God's glory for all eternity. That must have been so amazing for her to begin to realize.


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