4.26.2007

My Friend In a Wheal Chair

Here is a e-mail I sent to Brandon, friend of mine who is in a wheal chair. We were talking about how I (and you) can identify with people who suffer and do something about it. (sometimes)

It's just a peak into what the Bible says about suffering and some of the things I'm thinking about.

In the next post I'll share some of the things Brandon said in response.

Brandon,

Here are some of those Bible passages I mentioned in our conversation this past Sunday.

On the matter of suffering.

Paul's call to ministry explicitly mentions suffering


Acts 9:15
15
But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."


Here Paul teaches the church in Philipi that they are called to suffer.

Philippians 1:29
29For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him

Here Paul says that we should expect to suffer because we are Christians. Specifically look at vs 13, wow!

1 Peter 1:12-19
12
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" 19So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

And the most amazing/disconcerting passage of all

Philipians 3:7-10
7But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.


Now if you set these side by side with the Bibles teachings on sharing each others burdens, and helping one another, and the fact that we all make up one church, one body, what are the implications for daily living?

Romans 12:14-16
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

How low do the positions need to be that i need to associate with? Is there any valid excuse not to?

Romans 12:3-5
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

1 Cor 12:24-26
But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

In what respect do I suffer with you Brandon? Honestly, I don't think that I do.

And if we put all of this in a global information society, one in which I am keenly aware of the suffering of others on a global scale, how should I respond?

What is my obligation, when Pastor Dan teaches that we should throw off everything that so easily entangles? More specifically, what is stopping me from sharing in and/or alleviating the suffering of others to a much much greater extent?!

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