Seeking Immunization Against Suffering
I have met thousands of cynical Christians who are mad at God because of the suffering they have been permitted to experience. Many of these cynics lived with a delusional goal of immunizing themselves against pain and suffering. Such delusional thinking was based on the assumption that being deep spiritually means you’re immune to real suffering. Christians are stunned when they find out that there is no ‘Supernatural CDC’ office where one can receive a vaccination against suffering—that is not a promise contained in John 10:10. Being close to Jesus does not grant anyone immunity from disappointment and suffering.
Consider one who was very close to Him, John the Baptist. Was he protected from disappointment and suffering? Here’s someone who was linked with Jesus from before birth, one about whom Jesus said, “none greater than John the Baptist has appeared” (see Matthew 11:11), and yet he suffered imprisonment, disappointment, and, in the end, beheading. No, far from being immune from suffering, it’s part of the life of one who follows the Son of God: “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12, nlt).
I have witnessed many Christians become disappointed with God when they are facing unimaginable circumstances. Circumstances beyond one’s control are the ultimate suffering especially for a controlling woman. A controlling person breaks a sweat and becomes terrified when staring down circumstances that he or she can do absolutely nothing about. And at the crux of that terror is the assumption that a strong Christian is immune to disappointment with God—assuming one’s faith and wisdom and depth and strength can keep one from such a fragile state. I have witnessed so many controlling women actually fall apart when God doesn’t do what she expects Him to do. How do I know that is true? Because it has happened so many times to me and those other controlling women I know and love. Just like John the Baptist, a controlling person becomes disappointed with God when God doesn’t do what one expects Him to do. I used to think that John the Baptist was doubting Messiah in prison because he was imprisoned in a dark place physically and emotionally. But Jesus’ warning in Matthew 11:6 clarified why John was doubting. John the Baptist was doubting and offended because Jesus had not done what the Scriptures had declared the Messiah would do:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners” (Isa. 61:1-2).
Are you as a follower of Jesus inclined to assume that your spiritual competency not only fortifies you against suffering but also protects you from the vulnerability of doubt and disappointment with God? The key to facing difficult circumstances is not rushing to get a vaccination against disappointment and pain; it is rushing to the throne of God’s grace (Heb. 4:15,16) and counting on Him to sustain you. This is true whether you are in a prison cell facing death or a hospital hallway waiting for the doctor or in a court room waiting for a judge.
(Adapted from Surrender Your Junior God Badge and Free Yourself to Love)