Tag Archives: Suffering

A Thought on Sin, Bad Habits, and Addictions

Here’s a quote from the book “Authentic Faith” by Gary Thomas. “I must learn to accept some suffering as an inevitable part of living in a fallen world. These changes hurt. They are not easy. Suffering and change go hand in hand. If I refuse to suffer and refuse to suffer the discomfort of change, I will experience even more severe consequences as the idol increases it’s hold on my heart. I will be forever a stranger to experiential holiness.”

Idols are anything we give more of ourselves to than God. All sin is akin to addiction, and addictions enslave us. Some people have developed habits of sin over years. Breaking addictions is often a long and painful process, and I can tell you that even after you break the habit you still have to deal with what made you become an addict in the first place.

In this world we’re so used to immediate results, that when something doesn’t happen instantly we assume we’ve failed. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re doing all you can and you’re getting nowhere. We must remember habits are built over time, sometimes years, breaking them may take as long.

There is an initial period of suffering that has to take place as one breaks an addiction, but then the further you get beyond it the more freedom you experience. Having patience with yourself and others as you struggle to break free of those sins or addictions can make this process easier.

God sees us in the midst of our struggles, and He measures our successes as we should…minute by minute, day by day. We break sin and addiction by breaking it over and over again, until eventually it’s broken for good.

We can be holy, but “holiness may make your life more miserable in the short run, though far more joyful in the long run. If you insist on avoiding suffering at all costs, you will never be free of your addictions. If someone is truly serious about spiritual growth or overcoming a long-term bad habit, he or she had better be prepared to go to war.”

I’ve been through this, and for anyone who is facing these challenges I want to tell you that you can be free of them. God doesn’t stop loving you and He doesn’t give up on you, and with our amazing God all things are possible. There’s nothing no sin, no habit, no addiction that is bigger than God’s ability to take care of it.

In Our Rush to Help…

Sometimes I wish we, as human beings, had the capacity to hear our words through the ears of those who are in the midst of terrible suffering. No matter how well intended, how true, how comforting they may be to some, there are those who will be hurt even more by what we say. Are the words we use directed toward those who are suffering, or toward ourselves? I know and sympathize with those who want so badly to say something, anything, that might bring some solace if even for a moment, but how many times have I seen in the last few days well-meaning comments and references to a loving God in connection with people who just aren’t able to see this truth in the mist of such heart-rending sorrow. There is a time for truth, for acceptance, for talk about solutions, and whys and wherefores, but I can’t help thinking that maybe some of our attempts to put words to our thoughts and feelings, and our desires to help might be better echoed in our prayer closets rather than in public. Sometimes in our rush to help, to comfort, to make better, the intended benefactors of our desire are often the ones trampled in the process.

Letter to New Town, Connecticut Residents

Dear New Town Connecticut residents,

I have no words to express how sorry I am for what you are having to go through during this time. I know that words during this time are of very little comfort, and I wish that I could offer something more. I’m saddened and heartbroken that I have nothing to give that can make or change even for a brief moment the reality of what you’re suffering. I can only tell you that I am willing to share your burden with you. As you mourn, as you cry, as you rail against the injustice of what has happened, I want you to know that I hold each of you in my heart, and that I’m willing to share whatever you feel like sharing with me for as long as you need in whatever way you need me to share it with you. Please know that you are not alone in your grief. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Love,
Wayne

Can We Take a Moment

In the days and weeks ahead much of what happened in New Town, Connecticut is going to be analyzed and debated. People in the form of pundits, doctors, politicians, and preachers are going to be trying to use this as a platform to herald their views in an attempt to sway opinion.

Before we do that, before we jump on our bandwagons, take our positions, and make our cases can we take some time, a little time, to just think about the people involved in this horrific tragedy. Can we take some time to extend a loving thought toward those who are just now beginning to come to grips with unspeakable grief.

Can we take a moment to remember that there are many, many people who are suffering, who are experiencing pain on many different levels, and that all people no matter color or creed could benefit from the knowledge that someone cares.

So before we address the issues of evil, suffering, guns, mental illness, and all the rest of it, can we just take a moment to remember that the kindest most loving thing we can do for our fellow Americans and people everywhere is simply to love those we meet, work with, and live among with a love shown through our actions.

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

“Leaning upon her Beloved.” Solomon’s Song, 8:5

WHAT more appropriate, what more soothing truth could we bring before you, suffering Christian, than this? You are sick-lean upon Jesus. His sick ones are peculiarly dear to His heart. You are dear to Him. In all your pains and languishings, faintings and lassitude, Jesus is with you; for He created that frame, He remembers that it is but dust, and He bids you lean upon Him, and leave your sickness and its issue entirely in His hands. You are oppressed-lean upon Jesus. He will undertake your cause, and committing it thus into His hands, He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. You are lonely-lean upon Jesus. Sweet will be the communion and close the fellowship which you may thus hold with Him, your heart burning within you while He talks with you by the way. Is the ascent steep and difficult? lean upon your Beloved. Is the path strait and narrow? lean upon your Beloved. Do intricacies and perplexities and trials weave their network around your feet? lean upon your Beloved. Has death smitten down the strong arm and chilled the tender heart upon which you were used to recline? lean upon your Beloved. Oh! lean upon Jesus in every strait, in every want, in every sorrow, in every temptation. Nothing is too insignificant, nothing too mean, to take to Christ. It is enough that you want Christ, to warrant you in coming to Christ. No excuse need you make for repairing to Him; no apology will He require for the frequency of your approach; He loves to have you quite near to Him, to hear your voice, and to feel the confidence of your faith and the pressure of your love. Ever remember that there is a place in the heart of Christ sacred to you, and which no one can fill but yourself, and from which none may dare exclude you. And when you are dying, oh! lay your languishing head upon the bosom of your Beloved, and fear not the foe, and dread not the passage; for His rod and His staff, they will comfort you. On that bosom the beloved disciple leaned at supper; on that bosom the martyr Stephen laid his bleeding brow in death; and on that bosom you, too, beloved, may repose, living or dying, soothed, supported, and sheltered by your Savior and your Lord.

 

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luk_9:23-24

The life of our adorable Lord was a life of continuous trial. From the moment He entered our world He became leagued with suffering; He identified Himself with it in its almost endless forms. He seemed to have been born with a tear in His eye, with a shade of sadness on His brow. He was prophesied as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” And, from the moment He touched the horizon of our earth, from that moment His sufferings commenced. Not a smile lighted up His benign countenance from the time of His advent to His departure. He came not to indulge in a life of tranquility and repose; He came not to quaff the cup of earthly or of Divine sweets-for even this last was denied Him in the hour of His lingering agony on the cross. He came to suffer-He came to bear the curse-He came to drain the deep cup of wrath, to weep, to bleed, to die. Our Savior was a cross-bearing Savior: our Lord was a suffering Lord. And was it to be expected that they who had linked their destinies with His, who had avowed themselves His disciples and followers, should walk in a path diverse from their Lord’s? He Himself speaks of the incongruity of such a division of interests: “The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord.” There can be no true following of Christ as our example, if we lose sight of Him as a suffering Christ-a cross-bearing Savior. There must be fellowship with Him in His sufferings. In order to enter fully and sympathetically into the afflictions of His people, He stooped to a body of suffering: in like manner, in order to have sympathy with Christ in His sorrows, we must, in some degree tread the path He trod. Here is one reason why He ordained, that along this rugged path His saints should all journey. They must be like their Lord; they are one with Him: and this oneness can only exist where there is mutual sympathy. The church must be a cross- bearing church; it must be an afflicted church. Its great and glorious Head sought not, and found not, repose here: this was not His rest. He turned His back upon the pleasures, the riches, the luxuries, and even the common comforts of this world, preferring a life of obscurity, penury, and suffering. His very submission seemed to impart dignity to suffering, elevation to poverty, and to invest with an air of holy sanctity a life of obscurity, need, and trial.

We have seen, then, that our blessed Lord sanctified, by His own submission, a life of suffering; and that all His followers, if they would resemble Him, must have fellowship with Him in His sufferings. The apostle Paul seems to regard this in the light of a privilege. “For unto you,” he says, “it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” It seems, too, to be regarded as a part of their calling. “For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” Happy will be that afflicted child of God, who is led to view his Father’s discipline in the light of a privilege. To drink of the cup that Christ drank of-to bear any part of the cross that He bore-to tread in any measure the path that He trod, is a privilege indeed. This is a distinction which angels have never attained. They know not the honor of suffering with Christ, of being made conformable to His death. It is peculiar to the believer in Jesus-it is his privilege, his calling.

Prayer for Auguest 29, 2012

Heavenly Father, I come to You, humbly with praise in my heart.  Father, I praise You for being the one True God, the Eternal God of Glory and Holiness forever and ever.  I praise You for being the Creator and Sustainer of all things.  I know You are from Everlasting to everlasting.  I know, too, Heavenly Father, that Your, Son, my Lord and Savior was there in the beginning with You.  And, He, is worthy of all Praise, and Honor, and Worship, and Love, for He is Your beloved.  Heavenly Father, how can I or anyone ever praise You and not Him.  He is and will forever be what You have proclaimed Him, King of kings, and Lord of Lords.  He is God and man, a perfect man, made sin in the flesh for us, that we who believe might have eternal life through Him.  Help me, help us all to remember that He who has Your Son has life, and that without Him, we do not know nor have You.

Heavenly Father, I come to You tonight, Father, and I wonder why it is that my prayers always feel so dry and empty.  Sometimes, I don’t feel like I know You, and it grieves my heart.  I know what Your Holy Word says, and I believe…I know that Your Son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, and not for mine only, so why do I feel so inept, so unable to fall on my knees and give You that which I can’t seem to find a way to say other then when I’m writing?  Lord, God, what is it about me that I can’t give You what I want to give You.  Words spoken from my mouth…they don’t come.  Heavenly Father, if there’s anything in me that isn’t right in your sight, I ask You to please show me what it is, and remove it from me.  Don’t let me continue to live another day, another moment, in which I feel like I’m of no use to You.  Oh, why, Father, can’t I just pray, can’t I just kneel before You in the dark and talk to You?

Sometimes, I get so scared, Father.  I want to love You so that You know how much I love You.  I want to give You worship.  I want to praise You.  I want to give You my all, and yet when I’m alone I can’t seem to give You anything that’s of any value.  Why?  Sometimes, I feel like I’m that person You talk about in Your Word who does everything in public for their own ends, but I don’t want to be that person.  Oh, Father, You know my heart, please show me that You know my heart, and let me know that You know I’m not for myself.

Heavenly Father, I’m sorry…so sorry.  How I long to be free of this body.  Sometimes I feel like I sin all the time.  I want to be pleasing in Your sight, and I want to do those things that please You and make You happy with me, and yet I know that in and of myself I can do nothing that pleases You.  That’s why I love my Jesus so… Isn’t that why He came, to die for me, so that I wouldn’t have to please You, so that it wouldn’t be me You see when You look at me?  Why must I be this way?  Please Father, just once, let me pray to You, and for You alone.  Let me be thankful, for my Lord and Savior, Jesus…alone.  Is it so wrong to just want to be able to be with You, to talk with You, and not to have it known by others?  It’s not that I don’t want other people to know You, or to know Your Son, but why must I write to You, and pray to You in this way?

Heavenly Father, I don’t know what to say.  I’m at a loss as to what to do…  I know what I deserve, and I know what I have coming, and yet, Lord God, I don’t want to live apart from You in hell.  Why Father, do I have such doubt at times such as this?  I know Father that You sent Your Son to die for me, for my sins, and not for mine only, but for all Your elect’s sin.  I know that Jesus is real, and that He loves me.  Why do I have to go through times like this.  I don’t understand.

Please Heavenly Father, forgive me.  Forgive me for my doubt.  For my not trusting You with all I have and am.  I’m trying.  I’m trying so hard to give You what You want from me.  Make me Yours in every way.  Please take from me everything that doesn’t shine for You, that doesn’t make You appear in all Your glory and honor, and that doesn’t bring witness to Your Son, Jesus.  Forgive me, please, for everything that I’ve done in my life that didn’t bring You all that You’re so worthy of, and for the shame I’ve caused my Lord.  Help me to not be a speaker of words, but a doer of them.  Let me live my life in giving You my all, and doing all that You would have me do…

Heavenly Father, please, please, I ask You according to all that You are, be with those who are suffering this night.  Father, for all those who are struggling…For all those who are fighting for their faith…For all those who are in mourning…For all those who are trying to deal with adversity, and strife, and sorrow, and illness and pain, and every single cursed thing that keeps Your people from being all that You have called them to be.  Father, I pray that You would shower Your every child with Your Love and goodness.  That You would give them the strength, the courage, the desire, to keep going when all around them seems so bleak.  Give them a love that wills to do in the face of the impossible, and most of all, Father, help them to look toward Your Son, Jesus.  Help us all to look to the cross, Father, when we doubt, when we struggle, when we come to You with our questions of why, and then help us to know that You do know us, and that You know our hearts, and that’s why Your Son came…In His precious name, I pray, Amen.

My Prayer to the Father, August 18, 2012

Heavenly Father
I come to You, Father in all that I am.
My eyes are heavy, and tired,
My body numb with pain.
My body aches, and cries for relief.
I feel that I cannot
Stand another minute
And I long for rest,
For respite.

Heavenly Father
I’m sorry. I’m sorry
To come to You this way
In my weakness,
And despair;
Crying, moaning in my distress;
Desperate with longing
For relief
And an end to this terrible
Suffering I endure.

Heavenly Father
Lift me from this pit I am in.
Father, look down upon me
With Your compassion and mercy
And pull me
Out of the grasp of this
Monster that is
Trying to consume me.
Rescue me, Father.
Pull me into Your embrace.
Shield me from
My enemy.

Heavenly Father
I look to You.
I lift up my arms and reach
Out to You with all I am.
Father, You
Who are the great and eternal God
Will not fail me.
I trust in You.
I lift up my voice to You
And I shout above
The voice of my enemy
You are the eternal God, and
You are victorious!

Heavenly Father
You have vanquished my enemies.
Though they yet try
To come against me;
You have given me the Victory
Through Your Son
My Lord and Savior, Jesus,
And they shall not prevail!
Though I am pressed
And assailed
I will give praise unto You.
I will worship You
In the presence
Of He who is trying
To destroy me.

Heavenly Father
I will trust in You.
You are faithful and true, and
I know that You
Will not let my
enemy overcome me.
You, will keep
Your promises, Father,
For You cannot
Not lie.
You have placed me
Upon the rock.
You have hidden me
Within Your heart.
You have given me my position
Behind He who
Wears the Crown of thorns;
And, because of
Who and what
My Lord Jesus has done,
I, too,
Have won the
Victory…

In Jesus name, I pray,
Amen.

My Prayer to the Father, August 7, 2012

Heavenly Father
I come to You tonight Father
Knowing that You are
The Only One who can help me
And so many others.
You, who are all-powerful,
Who knows all things;
Who can see all things;
Who can do whatever
That is within Your
Desire and will to do.

Heavenly Father
You are the eternal God.
You know pain.
I know You know pain and
You understand it’s impact
For You showed us
so clearly
In the person of
Your beloved Son,
Jesus
Who endured such agony
In spirit
And such immense
And unimaginable pain
In His suffering
Upon the cross.

Heavenly Father
It breaks my heart, and I grieve,
And I feel such compassion
And such love for those
Who are suffering.
I know Father that even
As I ask
They are asking to
Why must I suffer,
And why must I
Endure this pain.
Is it so wrong
To ask this question?
You, who are the eternal God,
Who knows and allows
All things that touch us
Must know.

Heavenly Father
I mean no disrespect;
I do not mean, Father
To insult, to belittle,
To insinuate, or imply
That You in all Your glory
And in Your absolute
Holiness, Justice and Perfection
Have done anything
Other than love us.
I just seek understanding.
If I could understand
It would be easier
To bear.

Heavenly Father
You who sent Your Son
To the cross
You who stood by
And watched
And heard Your Son’s plea.
You who raised Him
Form the dead,
And have given Him a name;
A name that is above
Every other name,
Lord of lords;
King of kings.
You know and You
Have us all proclaim
Your truth;
Yet, we don’t.
How can we when we
Don’t know it.
When we haven’t taken
The time,
When we haven’t laid
Aside the cares of this world,
Nor the desires of
Of our selfish hearts
To seek and understand
That which You have
Made plain.

Heavenly Father
I come to You, and I beg forgiveness.
I fall before You
In sackcloth and ashes
With tears filling my eyes,
And a groan upon my lips
For I see it so clearly now.
I have sinned greatly Father
Against You.
How could I not have known;
And understood
When the why
Of my question is right there;
Right in front of me
Hanging upon that cross
With nails driven into his flesh
And a crown of thorns
Piercing His head.

Heavenly Father
O God, Almighty
I come before You,
And I beg forgiveness for myself
And those who
Have questioned You
As I have.
Father, please forgive me
For not knowing why,
For not seeing
When You have shown
In the word made flesh
All that we in our selfishness
Want to know
Who
What
When
Where
And How, and why?

Heavenly Father
You who are eternal goodness
And light,
Who has provided all we need
Of love and care
Are ever faithful and true
And never hold back
Any good thing from us.
You, Father,
Who does see all,
Who can see with infinite eyes,
And perfect knowledge
Knows our all
And gives us all
According
To Your divine knowledge
And perfect will.
You, who have declared
Our days,
And have lit our path,
And who has
Provided a future home
Where there will be
No more pain,
No more sorrow,
No more death.

Heavenly Father
If I may ask one thing
Let it be this:
Father, I pray for all those who are
Suffering and in such pain.
Father, I lift them up to You
And I pray that You being
our All in All
Will embrace them tenderly
Will hold them safely
In arms that shall never tire.
Father, I pray You will renew
Their strength, that You will grant
To them the knowledge of
Perfect peace,
A peace found and delivered
Through Your Son
When our minds and hearts
Are stayed on thee.
Father, touch them.
Touch them with Your
Love, mercy and truth,
And show them
Your compassion.
Father, I pray that You will
Send unto them
Those who carry Your Spirit
Within, to comfort them,
To love them
To prepare them
And to heal them.

Heavenly Father
I pray You will remove
That which afflicts them,
That You dig deep into their hurt,
And that You heal
Them through the inside out
For that is what You do
For us all.
I pray Father that You
Being the author of truth
Will help all to know
That healing has
Already come, and
Is already on the way.

In Jesus name, I pray.
Amen.