Episode 031 – COVID, Suffering & Jesus
How are you doing with this COVID-19 thing? Are you afraid? Are you angry? Are you confused by all the different information about what to do? Are you just ready for it to be over? I get it. I’ve been all those things, and my feelings change from day today. Part of that is because this is a big deal, but part of it is because you and I—we’re just not that good at dealing with suffering.
- COVID-19 should not have been a surprise. It’s a direct result of the way we have structured our lives and our world.
- The real surprise is how taking reasonable safety measures has become controversial, especially for churches.
- The absurd levels of reactivity speak directly to this: We don’t handle suffering well.
- When we face suffering, our knee-jerk reaction is to deny it, try to explain it away or try to figure out who to blame. These are all ways to avoid facing suffering.
- Christians practice the same kind of denial, but with religious and spiritual tools.
- Perspectives that can help us in suffering:
- #1 – Suffering is Normal. (1st Peter 4:12). This is in contrast with our embedded American view that progress and prosperity is the norm.
- #2 – Suffering is an opportunity to experience Jesus (1st Peter 4:13) This is in contrast with our Modern American Christian view that prosperity and comfort is a sign of God’s blessings.
- Many in the early church believed that our suffering was done in fellowship with Jesus, a sharing (koinoneo) in Jesus’ experience.
- If suffering is normal, then it doesn’t reflect on our faith or on God’s presence.
- If our suffering is sharing in Jesus’ suffering, then we can find God in the middle of our suffering.
Scriptures & References in this episode
- 1st Peter 4:12
- 1st Peter 4:13
- If you were intrigued by the idea that the Bible itself can contain multiple theological perspectives about the same issue, check out How the Bible Actually Works, by Pete Enns. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
About 8 months ago, the Untangled Heart Workshop came into existence. I collaborated with a good friend, Byron Kehler, who is a trauma therapist, and together we created a one-day training focused on helping people understand and navigate their emotions. We did the event live and it was a fantastic experience.
We planned to start doing it live regularly, but circumstances have changed, haven’t they? So, instead, we’ve taken all the teaching and created an online course.
So, if you’re feeling a lot of big emotions, or are surprised at how our Stay-At-Home circumstances have brought up grief or anger for you, or if you’ve been thinking that you’d like to improve your ability to be present to the people you love, The Untangled Heart Worshipshop Online, may be perfect for you.
You can learn more of what’s included in the course and see the lesson topics for your self over at the link above.
In this new Zoom world, it’s so easy to bring in a guest speaker. Would your group benefit from learning about emotions, how we process emotions, and how emotions are a vital part of faith? Are you a pastor who could really use a week off? Hit the link above and let’s talk.
Find My Stuff
- The Wisdom of Your Heart: Discovering the God-Given Purpose and Power of Your Emotions.
- Discovering your Authentic Core Values: A Step-by-step Guide
- Untangle Workbook: A guided journaling process for untangling emotions and finding wisdom.