The Secret To Why We Suffer (What I Learned When I Was Beaten To A Bloody Pulp)

February 26, 2015 in Bro. Heath's Blogs, The Holy Bride

whywesuffer

I have suffered a little in my life. From before I was even born, when my mother tried to abort me through taking a bunch of pain pills and then when I was born with multiple birth defects and then in my childhood, growing up in very abusive and dysfunctional family situations and even as an adult in many ways…but I can’t say that my suffering has been so great that I’ve become an expert on the subject. We all suffer greatly in some way, even those born with a silver spoon in their mouths.

But grasping why we suffer and the great sufferings of humanity is always an intriguing subject especially in light of the fact that there is a God of love who is behind all of creation and sometimes it’s hard to marry those two ideas. Bu something happened to me that forced me to confront God on the subject and I want to share it with you briefly.

Some years ago, I was working as a missionary with a ministry down in Houston Texas that had a home for drug addicts and homosexuals who had contracted the HIV virus and expressed a desire to change their lifestyles to serve God. The ministry had been given a multimillion-dollar home that happened to be in a neighborhood that had declined rapidly into poverty and decadence. The home was very nice and accommodating and really was a wonderful fit for the ministry.

However, it was smack dab in the center of this drug and gang infested neighborhood. And I have always loved the quote by Charles Thomas Studd, “Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell.” So I came on board this ministry because I saw that it truly was a rescue shop within a yard of hell.

I lived there at the home ministering to these sad, totally mixed up and broken men who desperately needed Jesus. Some of them where spiritually attuned to this fact and others were just using the ministry as a place to crash between their sin filled partying and riotous living. I was really there just to be a light to show them the love of Jesus.

I was much younger and much more naïve (which is a nice diplomatic term for stupid), naïve in my understanding of my own faith in the Lord, the world, the devil and the principles of spiritual light versus spiritual darkness. So I had this false concept in my understanding that since I was in ministry, working for God and trying to be a light to the darkness that I had an invincible shield around me. I presumed that I had two giant guardian angels at my right and my left at all times. God was my body guard and being a King’s kid, I could walk fearlessly and boldly about this very dangerous neighborhood with no problem.

Well, to make a long story shorter, I was mugged one night by two young men, pistol whipped until they fractured my skull and left me in a bloody pulp out in the middle of the street. I think they had intended to kill me but a few cars had gone by and one lady actually rolled down her window and reasoned with them to leave me alone.

Two many witnesses had made them stop, I think. Or it could be that the Holy Spirit convicted any conscience they had, because as they were beating me, I remember telling them over and over “Please don’t do this, Jesus loves you.” At any rate, I started to blackout and only vaguely remember bits of pieces of wandering the street and knocking on someone’s house door covered in my blood, asking for help. I then vaguely recall paramedics tearing off my pants and shirt and putting me in an ambulance.

There is a lot more to this story and much more incredible testimony to this test that I won’t go into since it kind of deviates from my message here. But I did learn a very valuable spiritual lesson from this ordeal…. A secret to why we suffer. I am not so proud to assume I have a complete revelation but I would like to share with you what I do know.

When I came back to the ministry home from the hospital, for quite a few days during my physical healing, I had an intense spiritual battle going on in my soul. I basically became very depressed and disillusioned in my faith in the Lord. I couldn’t understand why God had put a giant hole in my invincible bubble and why my guardian angels seemed to be away on vacation while I was beaten to a bloody pulp.

Yes, I admit, I did all the things many of us do when we go through trials and tribulations, I stuck my fist in the air and raged against Heaven, cursed and told God he wasn’t fair and just and a good father. I am ashamed of it now, but I was pretty ticked off that I was seemingly so neglected by the Sovereign Lord God Almighty… especially since I was one of His “special children”, you know, one of those special children who God the Father doesn’t ever let bad things happen to them.

I was doing God’s will, I thought. I mean, isn’t there some scripture somewhere in the Bible that plainly says that if you’re in the will of God, no bad or traumatic thing will ever happen to you?

I searched long and hard for those scriptures but even to this day I have yet to find one. But even if it’s not in Bible, isn’t there some unseen spiritual law that clearly says that if you’re a child of God, and doing some real, one on one intense ministry stuff that God’s protection is guaranteed… that no evil will befall us who are most pious and devoted to the Kingdom of God?

So I was confused and disillusioned until I finally simmered down and could hear God’s voice above the clamor of my religious pride and self centered piety. And the conversation between God and I went something like this-

“God, I can’t abandon my faith altogether because I know your real through all the experiences of you in my life… besides the butterfly tells me so and the rest of the totally genius and cleverly designed creation screaming at the top of it’s lungs of your existence but I am depressed and disillusioned right now about my faith, about you and about doing ministry. I don’t know where I am, Lord?”
And God said, “I know my son, you are exactly where I want you to be, though.

“So you want me to be disillusioned and down and out like this?
“Yes, my son I do. Many find jewels of precious truth and the secrets of my Kingdom through their disillusionments. And you will to.”
“Okay… So Father, what might I learn from this course “Suffering 101”?

Well Heath, what does My Word say about suffering in this present time?
Well, it’s not worth comparing to the glory that will one day be revealed, I guess.
And what else?
Um, well it’s supposed to be a light, momentary affliction… but Lord being beaten and pistol whipped didn’t feel too light to me.

Son, you can’t see the forest because of the giant trees just in front you… you can’t see the splendor of the panoramic view of my perfect will and divine plan looking through the pinhole of a finite, mortal life. Your vision is limited to what’s in your face right now. And you reason and react like any man who can’t see beyond the here and now. But I behold eternity… And as my child, I want you to begin thinking long term… like as in forever. I want you to have always before you an eternal perspective.

Yes, Lord I know I can’t see even one tenth of one degree in the circumference of the 360 degrees of your eternal view… but Lord why did you abandon me? Why didn’t my guardian angels kick some butt? Did I really have to go through all that to learn something?

Well Heath, you are pretty thick headed. And besides you only gave me a token insincere thanks that you weren’t killed in that ordeal. If I had abandoned you, you’d be talking to me right now before the Great White Throne Of My Judgment Seat. And by the way, your angels did kick butt and that’s why you’re still alive. And yes, just as you can’t truly learn how to swim on dry land or even by reading an illustrated swimming for Dummies book, you can’t learn some of the deep eternal truths of my Kingdom without some real experiences to get you there, Heath.

Have you not prayed to me many times, God give me revelation and deep understanding of your Kingdom? Do you think that you can just coast along on a flowery path of roses, of comfort and convenience to enter into my Kingdom? When my Word says clearly that it is through much tribulation that my children enter the Kingdom of God.

And then I hung my head in shame and told God- Oh. Okay, I’m sorry Father. Even now, I’m starting to see the forest. I shouldn’t have charged you with neglect and abandonment. That’s just the spoiled kid inside of me. I know you love me and this mugging/beating didn’t take you by surprise. If anything I probably deserve what I got.

And God interrupted by pretentious humility and said, No Heath, you didn’t deserve what you got…. You deserved a lot, lot more… but fortunately my Son stepped in and took your punishment by hanging on a cross for you. And the suffering you received through this ordeal was not your suffering but it was my Son’s, you just happened to be the one they took it out on. But you should understand that to live for Christ is to fellowship in His sufferings… that the true Christian experience is not a nice neat little package of going to church on Sundays and some token religious exercises you do to feel good about yourself.

My Word says, “Yea all who desire to live a godly life shall suffer…”

This is what I meant when I said take up your cross and follow me. Your cross is more than a cliché or religious metaphor… it is a life surrendered to dying… to dying daily on the cross where all self righteousness, self centeredness, self worth, self indulgences, self importance, self esteem is crucified so that my Spirit, my resurrected life can shine through you.

The truth is Heath, how can I use you to show the world my kingdom if you react like worldly people do who have no faith, when trials and tribulations, and offenses come? You act as if you are more special or more privileged than the rest of humanity who suffer in the same like manner. Your ordeal is just one common to all mankind. Being a believer, being My child does not exempt you from this life’s ordeals. Christians get flat tires, their houses burn down. Their loved ones die, sometimes even in horrific manner. Anything and everything you can think of, may befall one of My children… in this world… in this life. It rains on the just and the unjust.

It also floods and destroys on the just and unjust. However, the just can many times pray away the evil… and miracles can happen… but not always. Sometimes, no matter what, if it is your time to go, there is no way to circumvent it. But as My child, if you are looking past the here and now, with an eternal perspective, death, no matter how it comes, is no grim reaper but a glad angel to whisk you to your blessed eternal habitations with me, your Lord and Savior. Do you really believe in me, a just and holy God who is pure love?

Do you not think that I will make every wrong, right, every injustice, I will bring justice. Every moment of suffering in your temporal life, no matter how morbid, horrifying, or painful, it might be, will I not apply a beautiful healing on that day that will leave you completely cured without a single scar to remember your trauma and suffering?

Yes, the only scars that will remain in the everlasting kingdom are the scars upon the lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. I will dry your tears and there will be no more sorrow or death, only my beautiful children will be filled with innocence and laughter for all of eternity. I promised you this and I will fulfill my Word.

Yet you doubt me in your trial, in your tribulation. And even many unbelievers and sinners are not so presumptuous to blame me for when they suffer. But you shake your fist and rage against all Heaven because deep down, you truly believe you’re a better person who doesn’t deserve to experience the human conditions that is common to man in this fallen world.

You think you’re innocent… but no is truly innocent. Only My son was innocent. But you think that because you are My child that common calamities should never ever befall you… and when they do… you practically want to give up your faith in me…Heath, you sound more like a “fair weather friend” rather than one of my true friends. If you’re going to follow me, follow me to the cross and not to some glamorous unrealistic Christian life, free from pain and sorrow. Because in this world, you will suffer tribulation, persecution and evil men and demons will plot to take your life… but be of good cheer… look past the here and now….

Look upon eternity… for I have overcome the world! Whatever happens to you in this life, be it small or great, be it trivial or traumatic, be it suffering or even sudden horrific death, settle it now in your heart that I am on your side and everything that happens to you will ultimately fit within my plan to give you an eternal future and hope.

Well, after being sliced and diced and fried up as a fritter by the spirit of God, it was hard for to me to open mouth… believe it or not… and the only thing left in me was the question that burns in so many of us, I said, Well Lord, when evil befalls us like in my situation, or when some Christian dies in a horrific manner, or even an unbeliever, is it always your will or something you planned as the Sovereign Lord God Almighty?

And the Lord I believe spoke this, “No. It hasn’t been my will since the fall Adam and Eve that my children should suffer, that mankind should experience the evils of this fallen world. It’s not my will that men should murder or that accidents should maim. My will is for a perfect world, a world with no pain, no sorrow, no evil, no sin.

But all of mankind’s sorrows and sufferings, your own, are due to the choices you make either directly by sin and rebellion against my ways and the consequences thereof, or by the curse of sin itself, from the fall of Adam to the gradual disintegration of the elements. Most suffering comes by wrong choices from a fallen humanity and the rest is due to a fallen, cursed world in decay. Both are the consequences of sin though- it’s the judgment of love against unloving choices.

Even my children who truly love me, no matter how holy or disciplined in my ways will never know complete perfection in their flesh, in this world. They are still subject to the elements of this world, to the indiscretions of a fallen nature. They may be 99 percent of the time walking in my Spirit but in a brief moment of weakness… that 1 percent moment, they turn to the beggarly elements and do a fleshly thing… perhaps as silly as road rage in traffic, the stress of the day, they lose patience and swerve into a lane that ultimately takes their lives or the life of someone else. Could I have prevented that?

Many times I do intervene with a miracle. But sometimes not. Did I plan it? Did I want it? Was that a judgment on them? A consequence of choice? Yes, perhaps. But No, as a loving Father, the God who is love, I never desired men to suffer, ever. The first paradise, the Garden of Eden revealed that… but free will and free choice is part of my character, my image which man was created in the likeness of. And it is not my desire to have robots that choose love because they were made to choose it. Love by it’s very nature, is given and received as a choice not out of manipulation and control but out of an expression of free will.

Ultimately through suffering, mankind redeemed is going to learn that the way of love is the only way to exist. It is my kingdom. My son was the ultimate example of love. No man can enter my kingdom without learning this way of love… It is the only way that mankind can exist in eternity. That is why all suffering is temporal and I make use of it as teacher, as a trainer to men’s hearts and souls… to bring the greatest revelation to the soul and that will eventually make all of redeemed humanity both one with the Father, and one with the Son… All the laws and the prophets can be summed up in the choice to love.

As a loving Father, I am committed to this perfection, to this paradise to come and those who ultimately choose the way of love, a repentance from unloving and sinful choices will reign with me in my kingdom of love and light.

Even with this revelation from the Lord, as a child of God, living in a world full of temptation, trial and tribulation, making a choice to love others as God would have us love them and be a witness of His love is a sacrifice of self, and ironically a suffering of our own soul. To crucify our self love is the beginning of loving others as Jesus loves us. Because human nature without God’s love is to be selfish. It is the love of self that wants to be the center of attention, that wants to gratify it’s fleshly desires even if it hurts or debases another human being or God.

So most of the world and even within the so called Christian mainstream is truly focused only on self love, self pleasure, self comfort, self convenience and gratifying the desires of the temporal flesh in the here and now… with no eternal perspective. Look around you, how many people truly walk in God’s love? Not many. Most of us like to talk about ourselves and crave others to focus on us… or if we’re professing Christians, we might spiritually manipulate people into thinking about how great a person that we are, what a fine Christian, what a great spiritual leader or pastor, etc.

Many people, including pastors and mega church leaders in Christianity do not actually walk in love for Jesus and others… it is clearly seen. You see that their faces and names are plastered on billboards, on television screens and gobs of so called “Christian marketing material” that clearly show that they are really not trying to remain a humble servant dedicated to lifting up Jesus alone but more wanting the praise of men or worse, the money of men.

Self-love has deceived their religious souls and they really think they are the hottest thing since John the Baptist. Full of religiosity and spiritual ego, they live in sprawling mansions, drive expensive cars, have leer jets to take them to their next spiritual conference to milk the naïve and gullible church folks out of their tithes and offerings. And all the while, they truly believe they represent, this meek, humble, non-materialistic Lord Jesus of the Bible.

Self-love is man’s greatest downfall. Most of the self help, self esteem and self love books and teachings on the market if thrown into the ocean would do all the church and mankind a huge favor. The problem isn’t that we need to focus more on ourselves… no, that is the problem from the beginning of the fall of Adam. This is the problem with this last day generation of a complete narcissistic society and culture. As the scripture says, “In the last days, perilous times will come and men will be lovers of themselves…” No time in history has self love and sociopathic narcissism been so rampant and problematic.

Unbelievable murder and mayhem and debauchery and decadence fills the news these days. It’s unheard of. Most everyone is living in their own little comfort zone and pleasure bubble and yet the world is more full of pain and suffering than ever before. Only a handful of humble people, churches and ministries are actually making a difference in their little communities.

The world is not only going to hell in a hand basket but spiraling in free fall towards the flames. Suffering and sorrow in this world is not to be blamed therefore on the God of love but on the godless love of self. If we all would truly begin to love as Christ loved us, we would begin to find the joy and lasting happiness and peace we all so desire. The reason why the happiest people in the world are the most generous and kind, who have developed a habit of esteeming others better than themselves and are constantly sacrificing their own needs to meet the needs of others is because they are knowingly or unknowingly tapping into the very core of God’s divine nature and His expressed image.

We were created to be like God in the image of His likeness so when we fulfill the law of selfless love, we actually are rewarded with a divine joy that is directly connected to God’s character. I have met the poorest people who were very rich and I have met the richest people who were very poor. There are countless folks in third world countries who walk barefooted and sleep on a dirt floor but to meet them you would think they were kings living in castles.

Their faces glow with an unworldly joy and they have not a materialistic bone in their body. Should you try to give them something of worth, they do not greedily grasp it as their own with a feeling of “this belongs to me” but they will turn around and share it with everyone until the thing is dispersed and consumed by all in need. Amazing selfless love!

I have been challenged and convicted many times by people of this caliber that I have personally come to the conclusion that to be born in America, with our emphasis on materialism and wealth to bring us happiness, is not as blessed as we think it is. Like the Word teaches in the book of Revelation, “we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing… but truly we are poor, blind, wretched and naked.”

I share about the love of self versus selfless love because this is key, this is the secret to understanding why we suffer, why suffering and sorrow is so common to our human condition, why war, murder, mayhem, crime, turmoil and distress of nations is what we read in the headlines everyday. God speaks to his people and says that it is through God’s love alone, this selfless love that we begin to break the cycle of sin and evil around us.

When we choose to forgive and to have mercy rather to despise and take revenge upon someone, we choose to look at people around us not with the intent to manipulate them for our own agendas and selfish motives, to use people to get what we want, but we look at every opportunity to try to help people in their need and be an example that they too can live with a heart of selfless love. We choose to respect all men and women, boys and girls with decency and true spirituality rather than with debasement, degrading them, with sensuality and the lust of the flesh. When we can dialog with one another without a spirit of pride and self importance, self religiosity.

We can be humble, patient and kind. These are the things which bring healing rather than hurt, good pleasure rather than pain, sweet song rather than suffering.

So why do we suffer? It is because of our own sins against God’s spiritual laws that we suffer through the consequences of such disobedience and rebellion. We cannot get around the consequences of our sins… we will reap what we sow… this is one of God’s main spiritual laws fixed in eternity.

Like Billy Graham used to say, We can’t sow our wild oats and then pray to God for a crop failure… God will allow us to suffer the sting and evil of our sins and wrong choices so that we might learn the way of righteousness, the way of selfless love. It’s only then can we enter the Kingdom of God… and the good news is, we don’t have to wait until we die to enter His kingdom… we can be His kingdom on earth… we can bring His kingdom to others.

We can stop the vicious cycle of evil and suffering. This is why Jesus wants to be the Lord and Saviour of our lives… This is why He commands us to repent and change our ways.

So there you have it, in a nutshell. And I must confess that it’s harder to walk out selfless love on a daily basis than to explain it academically to you as I have now. I fail miserably many times as my self, my ego, my flesh is that fly in the ointment. But it is my desire to live like my Lord. It is my greatest desire to one day be completely free of the love of self and to walk as Jesus walked.

I think this is the litmus test to those who have been born again by the Spirit of God. It is not that our natures have completely transformed into perfect selfless characters in this world… I truly wish that were possible…but we do press on to that goal, to be holy, to be pure of evil, to love selflessly, to forgive readily… The Bible says “Those who have this hope of Christ in them purifies themselves even as He is pure.”

We may not be perfect but we are striving with all our hearts to walk this walk of faith and holiness that was once delivered up to the saints. And if we sin, if we fail, we do not wallow in the sewers of self pity and self justification for our sins, we immediately repent, get back up, beg for God’s mercy and once again strive to enter the kingdom of God, to be the sanctified vessels of honor, fit for the Master’s use.

It is those who wallow in their sins and even splash around in amusement of them, that I have a very hard time believing they have ever been touched by God’s love or experienced the true joys of His holy kingdom. I think they are deceiving themselves.

One quick story that illustrates entering into the kingdom of God by choosing to love… It actually had to do with precious my mother who was still alive when I was beaten to a bloody pulp. After a few weeks of God healing me both physically and spiritually from the ordeal, I went to see my mother. And she was somewhat of a new Christian then and even before she was a Christian she was a very loving and forgiving person.

She actually was one of the best examples I knew, of someone who forgives quickly and forgave quite thoroughly. She forgave a lot of great injustices in her life that most people would be embittered about to their very grave. But not mama, she was a forgiver. Except when I visited her after being beat up. She told me, almost in tears “Heathy, I can’t forgive those boys for doing that to you. I just can’t!” She was my mama and I was her baby boy.

I think I chuckled at her and told her “Mama, you have to forgive them… I already have… and we must never allow a root of bitterness to spring up in us because the world is always going to be there to try to put a splinter between us and God and we can’t allow it. God will take of those boys but we must pray for mercy.” My mama just shook her head no and we got on to some other subject. Every so often, during the next few years, she would remind me that she hadn’t forgiven those boys. And I would encourage her to let it go and let God in. Then one day she called me on the phone and she was crying.

I said “What’s wrong mama?” And she said, “Today, I forgave those boys… I forgave them Heathy from my heart and I pray for them to be saved!” I rejoiced with her for that breakthrough. She had learned the law of love and in that moment she again entered the kingdom of God. What was a stumbling block to her faith became a stepping stone to victory. The suffering that could have made her a bitter person, through Christ made her a better person.

So in conclusion, I want to challenge all of us, to not try to answer as a chalk board answer, or academically, the question If God is good, why is there suffering in this world? But to instead, answer that question by living according to the God of love and His holy Word, by being the answer to that question, to live without the love of self… to do as Jesus called all His true disciples to do in Matthew chapter 16 verse 24 “If any man wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

The way of Christ is the way of the cross… it’s the way of death to self and crucifixion of self love so that we can be resurrected to a new life of God’s love and holiness. May this truth go deep into the inward parts of all who hear what the Spirit of God is speaking. The secret to why we suffer is that God, our Father in His wisdom and love, always will choose the best path to bring us to a revelation of why love is the only choice we should always make… He uses our sins and the consequences of them to discipline us until the light bulb finally turns on in our awareness… that if we obey just this single law of love then we do not need to be governed by or forced to obey any other law in the universe. We will have arrived. This is the revelation and the truth that God so desire men to truly comprehend and live by.

This is brother Heath… and I am committed loving you with the love of Jesus, not to tell things that just tickle your ears and feed your flesh but to tell you life transforming truths that will set your soul free forever in God’s love! Amen.

*We make no apologies for the many scriptures and references in this article because it is necessary that you know that it is not our opinion but God’s Word that really matters in the end.


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