Chapter 3: Suffering
Jesus shows, both in his teachings and in his life, that true joy often is hidden in the midst of our sorrow, and that the dance of life finds its beginnings in grief.
Nouwen, Henri Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (p. 42). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.
Sweet and sour sauces dance on our taste buds. It’s the hard acid base that makes the sweet so, well… sweet. On the other hand, as the sweetness hits our taste buds, the sour makes us want to pucker up! It’s the contrast of the two sensations, at the same time, that magnify these opposites. Sweet and sour clarify and contrast one another.
Dear Lord, we often feel fragile when we realize how much being loved and accepted is at our core. Help us to enjoy a calm assurance as we acknowledge that we are truly cherished as Your creation. Amen.
Here is a quick review of the questions to keep rolling around in our minds as we study…
Is there any one idea that really reached me?
What is God revealing about Himself in this reading?
What is God revealing about me in this reading?
Where was the “bottle neck” in my past that kept me from realizing God to His fullest?
Was it a person, or maybe an event? Could it have even been me?
Upon realization, ask God for healing and an example of His perfect love.
Where am I “bottle necked” now in my relationship with God?
What can I recognize, or handle differently to increase “flow” in my Spiritual life?
This whole idea of “embracing pain” is counter-intuitive!
Does pain serve a purpose?
How can pain be an indicator of tender areas that need God’s special healing touch?
The cross has become the most powerful symbol of this new vision. The cross is a symbol of death and of life, of suffering and of joy, of defeat and of victory. It’s the cross that shows us the way.
If you wrote the paragraph following Henri Nouwen’s statement above… what would you write?
When a person feels betrayed or like a trust is broken… is there a way to look at and deal with the pain?
Finally we must find the freedom to step over our wounds and the courage to forgive those who have wounded us. The real danger is to get stuck in anger and resentment.
While we acknowledge this advice from Henri Nouwen, how was Christ during His time on the cross an example of this?
Finally, what is the danger in “getting stuck in anger and resentment”?
As we move forward in experiencing these insights from Chapter 3, I pray you feel safe sharing your thoughts and feelings with this group of people who are each learning through a school of hard knocks through life! Knowing we are not alone, that we are loved and we share in this gift of life may be inspiring and encouraging!