Notes on Suffering

I try to continually integrate my classes with my personal spiritual growth, the ongoing conversation that is my Christianity. Sometimes I’m successful, and sometimes not.

In class today we were considering the theological answers to the “why me, God?” question, and in doing so I had an awesome awareness of the presence of the Holy Spirit. The non-answer according to Dr. Bridger lies first and foremost in the cross, and it was here, reflecting on what happened on Calvary, that that which is wholly other, the Holy Spirit, manifested himself in a beautiful way.

I said "non-answer" above because for the person that is suffering, there is no good answer to the "why me?" question that you or I can provide. All our theology, valid as it may (or may not) be, will only melt at best, and may cause great harm for the person who is at the preverbal end of their rope. (though this is not to say that the counselor should not have a theology of suffering)

Only the Holy Spirit can speak into horendous circumstances, and though He may use you or I to do so, the "peace that passes all understanding" comes only from Him.

Side note: What is the one who perpetually suffers to do with the praise songs that tend to dominate many church services? I believe that worship leaders need to reengage the laments found in the Psalms. We are supposed to both cry with those that are suffering and laugh with those that laugh, but it seems that we usually have a lot more of the latter, at the expense of the former.


Kyle said...

side note: I'm with you on this

David Baxley said...

Reminder: Much of Psalms are prayers offered to God but not meant for public purposes when they were written. The Psalms are cries of prayer and worship to God each with it’s own purpose. To tell a worship leader to lead worship with cries of pain doesn’t seem to fit any biblical approach to worship, at least not in the context of public worship or a worship gathering. Maybe the Christian artists need to feel the freedom to not just write about the happiness of life but also become more real in their artistic creation to help others express their prayers of sorrow and pain to God through their songs. But to bring that into a corporate worship environment under the Biblical examples that we have and of the definitions of worship and places of worship we see in scripture does not seem to fit. Prayer is our language to God about whatever but worship is our offering/blessing/gift to God, our love language to God, to just praise and worship him for who he is regardless of ourselves. To worship when one does not feel like it inside is truly bringing a sacrifice of praise and worship to their God.
However in everything else that was said I say "Amen" and add this verse, which has helped guide me through helping others. Jesus said first we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. A great theological answer won't help but the truth of Jesus Christ and his love for us and everything else he says to us will if as a helper we live his truth to the hurting and not just say it.

David Best said...

david baxley

I think in some sense your technically right about our worship cervices as they are currently constructed; though in other ways I would want to see everything, including laments, as having the potential for worship.

Though you may be right about lament technically not being worship, that dosen’t mean we cant cry with those that our suffering in our church services, or that the person who was formerly leading the worship can’t lead the lament. Isn’t honesty a central part of preparing for worship?

I guess what I’m really critiquing is our non-liturgical liturgies, the way we do church. Can’t we make some space for those that are hurting, and can’t this be done through music?

David Baxley said...

David, couldn't agree with you more. I think we need more room for that and that we would be a better church for it. I just don't want us to water down worship for what God created it to be.. I agree with your thoughts on what we need to be doing for those hurting. That is what Jesus did to.