As of recently I have spent some time being engaged by the Re:Lit group that is a part of the Crossway Publishing Company. Begin by Pastor Mark Driscoll, this program was built to collect a group of writers that are committed to speaking the truth about spiritual, biblical, and societal issues in a text format. Many of you may recognize this from the popular book Doctrine by Mark Driscoll. Although this book is on my list to read/purchase it is not the book I found myself reading recently. Instead, I got my hands on Redemption by Mike Wilkerson. Mike is a pastor at Seattle's Mars Hill Church (which Mark Driscoll calls home as well) and he lead their counseling program. With this in mind, I felt the author would bring a fresh perspective to the problem of pain that so many authors have tried to tackle over the years.
The format being some what interesting began with the author diving into the story of the the Israelites and their problem with suffering, idol worship, and death. Intermixed with this biblical story from the Old Testament are real life stories of christians and non-christians alike who are struggling with a God that not only allows suffering in this world, but has allowed suffering to take over their lives. The pages are covered in the tears and blood of those who are suffering because of the sins and destruction of this world. But what this book doesn't do is point the finger at each individual person's sin, instead, it focuses on the hope and redemption that can be found through a relationship with Christ and his church. It calls those who are suffering fall on their knees in prayer and call on the hope of a savior that died for their sins. It also calls the church to have arms open wide for those who are suffering to come running. The author's writers calls the church to get out of the judgement seat and instead kneel down with those who are suffering and love them.
I could not agree more with this idea. I have dealt with problems of suffering myself, as well as been involved with people who are suffering through personal sin, addictions, and other "idols" that seem to steal their worship. I have been encouraged to not only kneel down with these people, but to allow them to share the burdens they feel on the shoulders of the church. For the church is supposed to be a place of redemption and hope. Right now the church is a place of judgement and condemnation and I do not want to be that type of Christian. I am constantly in prayer that God will change me and allow the redemption of the cross to flow through me.
If you are struggling with suffering, the problem of pain, or any other afflictions please speak with someone you trust or speak with me through twitter: @normallyINDIE or Facebook: Alec Tod.
till another day,