I recently was asked to speak on this subject. I’m expecting this article to receive the most
hits on my website! Humans will do anything to protect ourselves, set up the right precautions, execute certain protection plans just to avoid suffering. So I’m giving you my three top secrets to avoiding suffering:
- You cannot avoid suffering. Did you see this coming? Or is this first point a surprise just like you’re shocked each time you suffer? It’s not hard to prove this first point… I was born! I was born with Cerebral Palsy, so I roll around in a wheelchair with a speech impediment. There is nothing I can do to avoid this! A lot of you have heard the powerful outcome of my story as I have spoken about it all over the world. I spent most of my life attempting to avoid the elephant in the room and pretended like my Cerebral Palsy did not exist. Pretending like your suffering does not exist ALWAYS worsens your suffering. We always go to something to cope with suffering, don’t we? What do you escape to with your suffering? Humans escape to gambling, relationships, alcohol, junk food, sex, and the list goes on. We see proof in the revenue made in these industries capitalizing on human suffering. Suffering is inevitable! The Bible states: “You have to suffer various kinds of trials for a little while (1 Peter 1:6).”
- Go through the suffering with Jesus. True freedom is found when we stop dealing with suffering in our own ways and start suffering with Jesus. The Apostle Paul beautifully illustrates this through these words while in prison: “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him (Philippians 1:29 NLT).” For a long time, with friends all around me, I had deep loneliness. I preferred talking with them about my suffering rather than talking and experiencing my suffering with the all powerful creator of the universe. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses. Instead, we have one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).” When I truly started being with Jesus who sympathizes more than any other and talking with Him intimately about my suffering and being transparent and vulnerable with Him with my suffering, Jesus, the Wounded Healer, coined by Henri Nouwen, began to free me and heal me. “He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed (1 Peter 2:24).”
- Experience the victory of the resurrection. Suffering with Jesus allows us to experience true hope and victory. This is one of my theme verses: “Although he was crucified in weakness, he now lives by the power of God. We, too, are weak, just as Christ was made weak, but when we deal with you we will be alive with him and will have God’s power (2 Corinthians 13:4).” Seeking Jesus deeply about my Cerebral Palsy led me to this life-changing truth: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians12:9).” I read this in a special daily quiet time, then I immediately praised Jesus and thanked Him for the opportunity to experience suffering. Because now, what the world views as suffering, is now my victory and strength through the power of the resurrection. My life is a victory and a blessing, not “despite” my Cerebral Palsy but because of God’s power through the disability! I’m blessed I’ve been able to speak on this around the world!
Please take some time and reflect on your suffering. What or who do you go to in your pain? What are some practical ways you can suffer with Jesus? Now that you’ve put your trust into Jesus, been baptized and resurrected with Jesus and live in that victory, what are some tangible ways your daily life is different? I’d love to continue the conversation with you! Comment below. If this helped you, will you share this blog with your friends and family network now?
Originally posted 2016-10-12 07:00:55.