Between Pain & Grace

Between Pain & Grace

Between Pain & Grace A Biblical Theology of Suffering Andrew Schmutzer Gerald Peterman Maranatha Moody Week 2019 Mon 1 July am First: What We Mean by Sufferin g

Gerald Peterman Pain: --an event; something that happens to us Suffering: --an experience; what we take the pain to mean Exampl es --two young women --a marathoner The Most

Importa nt Issue The most important issue in suffering is the meaning that we assign to our pain. Second: Strengt h in Weakne ss 2 Cor 12:9: Therefore I will boast all the more

gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (ESV). Our Problem with Weakness -- We hate weakness! -- What makes us feel worthy? Do we long to be known as competent, strong, intelligent, goodlooking, charismatic, funny, in control, or likeable? -- From my life: Do I always

have to be right? What Are Weakness es? -- Its not about sin.its about people thinking Paul is: incompetent foolish unimpressive poor speaker wishy-washy embarrassing --How do we feel when people think that way of

us? Why Boast in Weaknes s? The answer is the life and death of Jesus. From the standards of the world, he was weak: And yet the life and death of Christ is the solution to the worlds greatest problem. Monday

1 July pm Groaning Together Andrew Schmutzer Unraveling Relationships from The Fall The Relational Ecosystem Five Core Bindings of Creation (Gen 1:26-28) God w/ Humankind of royalty (Ps 8:5)

Humankind w/ the ground of origin (2:7) Humankind w/ animals of domain (1:28) Man w/ woman of mission (2:23) Image Bearers in Relationsh ip (Genesis 1:26-28) Some Serious Implications: God gives dignity and glory to his underkings God does not force matters, he allows people to choose and people still

experience great pain Our image and likeness fixes our point of reference in God, not him or herself Gen 1 portrays holistic personhoodGod speaks to them as persons, not isolated genders Beware of the danger of disembodied personhood (e.g., symphony of parts) The Creator Partners w/ and Tasks His Creation

Role of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding: Humankind mimics the MasterWorkman Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind (Pro 8:30-31) The ingredients of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge that God used to create the cosmos (Pro 3:19-20) are precisely the same tools that we use when we build (Pro 24:3-4) We live in a web of Gods designs, achieving by His Spirit (Gen 1:2; Ex The Sacramen

t of Celebratio n The Building of The Woman (Gen 2:23) This one is finally bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh; This one shall be called woman [isha] for from man [ish] was taken this one. God does not create by withdrawing, hiring out, or dominating. Instead, He allows himself to be affected and touched by the need of his creatures. He adopts the community of creation as his own milieu. The mans poetry is his sacrament of

Loss, Shame, and Exploitati on The Core Bindings Break Face-intimacy brokenthe face is a relational concept that referred to the entire person. Let me see your face, let me hear your voice (Song 2:14). Male-female design shunnedwhen Jesus cites Gen 1:27 and 2:24 in Mark 10:6-9 he elevates His blessed design above all protests, exceptions, and redefinitions. He placed the Creators ideal will above

Gods concessionary will, in order to curb further domestic abuses. God can make allowances to reduce consequences, but Jesus looks forward to restoring all relational bonds. Loss, Shame, and Exploitati on (Genesis 3) The relational ecosystem breaks apart Deceptive words and deadly silencethe deceiver raised doubt about: (1) Gods

goodness (vv. 1b, 5) and (2) sins repercussions (vv. 4). Shattered community in grammar twenty pl. words (vv. 1-7) go sg. in vv. 819. Relational antagonismthe judgment for each party (1) affects what is of primary concern, and (2) regulates an external relationship Both pursue fertility amid rel. antagonism Conclusio n: Truths Worth Taking with You God created humankind because God loves us

and chose to reach forth, as it were, out of himself, to create things other than himself, to commune with them and enjoy fellowship with them. Anthony Thiselton Having no evening and morning, the Sabbath day is special, opening into the eschatological future, highlighting Gods willingness to enter into ongoing fellowship with humankind. Humankind daily endorses Adams attitude of sin, and so shares in his liability. Humankind became dying creaturesvictims of a self-inflicted wound. But it is the resurrection of Christ that guarantees our resurrection. Those who follow the last Adam are re-created in Christs image. In Revelation, God is praised for His majestic control of His world. The 24 elders sing: You are worthy,

our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will Tuesday 2 July am When God Suffers, Too Andrew Schmutzer Gods Compassion in Vulnerability Vital Points to Consider

(Pt. 1) There is continuity in the life of God between the testaments (I and the Father are one, John 10:30). The touchstones in the life of Jesus incarnation, mission, and sufferingare neither foreign to, nor a departure from the portrait of God in the older testament the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). Gods identity should never be divided. While suffering is usually viewed from the human plane, there is also suffering in the life of God. A sober reading of canonical Scripture not only reveals a pained relational portrait of God, but it

describes a kind of participation in what Vital Points to Consider (Pt. 2) Gods emotion is plainly evident throughout Scripture, even in divine tears (Jer 9:1; 14:17-18; John 11:35). Not surprisingly, God also laments (Num 14:11, 27; Jer 12:7-13; Matt 27:46). Gods emotions can be acute (Hosea 11), but God, unlike humans, is not undone by his emotions. God always uses agents, risking and sharing power to do so (e.g., Moses

protest; the overreach of Babylon against Israel). In so doing, Gods reputation often suffers because of the despicable mismanagement, violence, and association with selfish human agents. God can even apologize for certain outcomes (I am sorry about the disaster Gods Suffering In Willing Vulnerabil ity Key Biblical Passages

he was grieved in his heart (Gen 6:5-6) --suffers the disappointment and pain of a parent I have seenheardknowcome (Ex 3:7-10) --fresh level of knowing that prompts radical action How long will they refuse to believe in meI have forgiven them as you asked (Nu 14:11, 20) --Gods lament and anguish still invite participation often they rebelledand grieved him (Ps 78:40) --Gods grief is as current as the nations Conclusio

n: Truths Worth Taking With You Throughout OT and NT Scripture, God has always chosen to relate in willing vulnerability. The living God is ever on the move with his pilgrim people. Both practical and doctrinal, God cannot be outdated, obsolete, or overwhelmed. God is both sovereign and personal. More than mere relating, God partners with us. This is a personal availability that stoops in self-limitation (Ps 113:6, divine kenosis).

God has always used an incarnational relating (Gen 18). God has a price to pay for partnership with sinful humans. The Conclusio n: For Reflection The era of the marked-church desperately needs a God who suffers with the broken, not majestically aloof. Mechanical solutions to suffering have seduced the contemporary church to shun the rawness of pain and minimize the gift of communal grief-sharing and our basic need for human community. Embracing the

suffering of God can revive a practice of bearing others pain that we might rather deny as unspiritual or unproductive. Following the First Wounded is no pill, program, or marketing ploy. It is all about embracing the wounds of our risen Lord in a time when suffering is increasingly viewed as something of an Tue 2 July pm A Man of Sorrow s Gerald

Peterman Emotions and the Suffering of Jesus Exploring Jesuss Emotions -- Jesus is fully human (John 1:14, 4.6, 19:28; Philippians 2:7). -- Jesus is sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). -- Jesus is continuously

virtuous (John 14:9, 5:19, 6:38, 8:29; Luke 3:22). The Compass ion of Jesus - -- Compassion: The pain one feels for anothers pain. - -- Jesuss compassion: he both feels and acts (Matthew 9:36, 15:32; Luke 7:13).

The Grieving Anger of Jesus -- Jesuss anger is mixed with pain and it is redemptive. -- Hardness of heart causes Jesus to be angry and grieve (Mark 3:5). -- Other instances where Jesus was angry: Mark 10:13-14 and probably John 2:13-16. The

Dread of Jesus And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:41-44, especially 44). The Dread of Jesus --Is all fear sinful? Is it the opposite of faith? -- Jesuss dread and agony

must be godly - Jesus dreads the wrath of God - Jesus prayed being in agony - Jesus experienced godly fear The Disconten t of Jesus Signs of Jesuss Discontentment: -- Jesus groans in Mark 7:34, grieving to see a world full of sickness and pain. -- This reflects godly discontent with the current situation.

-- Matthew 17:17 reveals Jesuss painful disappointment in the disciples. Wed 3 July am Be Angry and Do ot Sin (Eph 4:26) Gerald Suffering and Redemptive

Anger What? Anger as Suffering? -- Anger is always secondary. -- First we are: hurt or afraid or encountering loss or ashamed or embarrassed -- And those things are suffering Redempti

ve Anger -- Anger may be motivated by love and its goal can be redemptive: to rescue, vindicate, or protect. -- The opposite of love is not anger, it is indifference. -- Redemptive anger in scripture: Nehemiah: Nehemiah 5:1-10 Jesus: Mark 3:5 Paul: 2 Corinthians 11:29 Righteous Anger and the

Command to be Angry -- Ephesians 4:26-27 Be angry -- The devil gains an opportunity if we fail to be angry and take appropriate action. -- However, anger must be shown in a proper way and dealt with promptly. The Trouble with

Anger -- Our anger often arises from our pride or sinful desire for control. -- We can direct our anger toward the wrong objects. -- The anger of leaders can be especially dangerous. Conclusio n -- Anger is a natural response for those who have been wronged -- Angerwhen used rightlycan motivate us toward redemptive

action -- Let anger be an invitation to communicate with God -- Anger can be a window into ones own heart (Jonah 4:1-4) Wednesda y 3 July pm The Gift of Lament Andrew Schmutzer Longing to Lament Facing

Our Faades Faade of Power: All my necessary power comes through joyful worship. Faade of Happiness: The Christian life is essentially about victory, which Jesus won on the cross for me. Faade of Identity: I must show myself to be perfect, to show God that I really love Him. Faade of Sincerity: Obedience comes through my sincere desire and passion for God. Faade of Relevance: God is fundamentally the Great-Need-Meeter. God is most real to me when my faith

What is Lament? At its heart, lament is giving voice to the suffering that accompanies deep loss and grief. Lament is not concerning sufferingit does not count the stages of grief. Rather, lament is the language of suffering, the voicing of our pain. Nicholas Wolterstorff While the contemporary Christian is largely interested in what prayer produces, the biblical life of prayer is more concerned with the tenacity of relationship that is capable of summoning Gods aid. EXPECTATIONS [ * ] EXPERIENCE

*What do we do with the breach? Rediscover ing Lament Praise We proclaim: You are great (8:1) Thanks We tell God: Thank you (30:1) Lament We cry out to God: Help me! (61:1) Trust We admit to God: I trust you. (23:4) *Because suffering can be speechshattering, lament functions as crisis- The Stations

of Lament Invocation: The initial cry (O LORD, how 3:1) Plea for Help: imperative request (Give ear considerobserve 5:1, 2) Complaint: motivation (e.g., an adversary, ones sin, God unfairness; the wicked pursue the poor 10:2) Confession of Sin or Assertion of Innocence: (I acknowledge my sin; If there is any wrong 32:5; 7:3) Curse of Enemies: seeking vindication from their warrior God (Repay them for their deeds 28:4; 137:8-9) Stations

of Lament (Pt. 2) Expression of Confidence in Gods Response: often a recital of Gods proven record (Look, God is my helper 54:4) Hymn of Trust or Blessing: assurance of praise that will follow Gods rescue (I trust in the steadfast love; I will thank you forever 52:8-9) *So what? This highly structured performance of lament actually DOES something profound: It restores a modicum of structure in times of disorientation. Lament begins to restore some sense of order and form in the midst of our chaos and formlessness.

Striking Features of Lament 1) Lament comprises the largest kind of psalm in the Psalterabout one-third! 2) Lament language is vivid, using a wide spectrum of raw emotion. 3) Laments do not capture the when of distress, rather, the what of personal suffering. 4) Laments always move from expressions of pain to statements of trustthe arc of the Psalter. 5) Lament restores the suffering person from mutism, the harsh empty chasm of

wordlessness. 6) Lament has a social audience that functions as a listening community, then, Conclusio n: Truths Worth Taking With You If the expression of praise exalts and affirms, the expression of lament names and transforms. Lament is Gods standing invitation to worship IN pain, AMONG the pained, not IN SPITE of our pain. While confession is offender-oriented,

lament is also victim-oriented, calling believers to share in the pain of others (Heb 13:3). For victims, lament is the only sound that misery can make. Lament is a speech tool for siding with God and victims of evil, against their perpetrators. In truth, there is no lament outside the Conclusio n: For Reflection The mounting stories of Christian-becomeatheist: Its very common today for Christians to fixate on painful circumstancesparticularly

innocent suffering and social inequities then abandon the faith as no longer tenable. They claim it is better to discard the faith and embrace disillusioned honesty rather than hang on to pious self-deception. In the face of suffering our ancestors of faith risked standing side by side with the atheist, and discovered that they did not become atheists. Their questions were the same, but their rebellion was different. The revolt of the believer is not that of the renegadethe two do not speak in the name of the same Thursday 4 July am The Journey

That is Sexual Abuse Andrew Schmutzer Suffering from a Host of Betrayals Some Sober Statistics Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) 1:4 girls and 1:6 boys are abused One-fifth of all children are abused by 18 Between 75-95% of male inmates in

prison Delayed disclosure leaves survivors, on average, (esp. men) talking twenty years after their abuse Incest accounts for 70% of all abuse Abusers can be winsome, betraying ones trust In 93% of cases, the victim knows their abuser Abuse victims can suffer profound and Barriers in the Church that Thwart Healing

The barrier of sacred silence > must be exchanged for timely honesty minimization > must become a practice of empathy forgiveness > must prioritize the needs of the victim victory theologies > must be exchanged for a theology of brokenness isolated suffering > must be repaired with collective grief

The Privilege of Shepherdi ng Survivors 1. We cannot cure what time must heal. 2. We cannot heal what we will not name. 3. We will not name what we are unwilling to grieve. 4. We will not grieve what we are unprepared to redeem. 5. We cannot redeem what we prefer to redefine.

Facing the Stench of Spiritual Hypocrisy We look at the seen and learn about the unseenThis method of instruction is used throughout Scripture, including for our understanding of the character of God himself when God appears in the flesh (John 1:14). God explains himself to us through the temporal, the material, and the human. What then are the lessons about the unseen when sexual abuse occurs? Think about hearing that God is a refuge or God is our stronghold (Ps. 46:1)What does a child

who is a victim of incest do with the idea of God as father (Gal. 4:6)? How does a traumatized and finite human mind reconcile the God of the Scriptures, whom we worship and adore, with the experience of sexual violence? Diane Langberg Conclusio n: Some Practical Steps to Help Survivors THOUGH their ability to trust people is

fractured, YOU can earn it by patient listening. THOUGH theyre drawn to false attachments, YOU can help bring theological healing to them. THOUGH your church has few support groups, YOU can find one for your friend or spouse. THOUGH its hard to resist pat answers, YOU must read up and avoid promises and time-tables. THOUGH someone else may have abused you, YOU can do the hard work to break the cycle. THOUGH happy worship sells better, YOU can help build a healing service,

Thu 4 July pm A Time to Weep Gerald Peterman Leadership and Tears Ecclesias tes 3:1, 4 For everything there is a season, and a time

for every matter under heaven: . a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; (ESV) Biblical Examples of Such Sadness -- Jeremiah in Jer 13:1519: -- Jesus in Luke 19:37-44: -- Paul in Acts 20:17-35: A

Leaders Weeping --- Godly leaders weep. --- A leader may weep because of rejection, empathy, sin, exploitation, hard hearts. --- Or selfishness, manipulation (1 Samuel 24:16-17). Conclusio ns and Reflection s, Part One

-- A public display of emotional pain is not necessarily sinful. -- Such weakness is not necessarily shameful. -- Godly tears can be Jesus weeping through us. Conclusio ns and Reflectio ns, Part Two -- However, we do not grieve or empathize

unwisely or without limits. -- Even Jesus took time alone (Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:16). --And, at times, it is right to weep in secret. Fri 5 July am Inner Darkne ss Gerald Peterman The Unique Suffering

of Mental Illness Uniquenes s -- Mental illness affects the sufferer and family, friends. -- Feelings of shame, loneliness, rejection, hopelessness, depression, and fear are often associated with mental illness. -- Some in the church say that mental illness is actually a sin problem. False

Steps in Thinking About Mental Illness -- Calling weakness sin. -- Adopting a strict dualism. -- Poor definitions and disjunctive thinking. Mental Illness in Scripture -- Both physical illness and

mental illness can come as judgment from God (Deuteronomy 28:27-28). -- War trauma can cause mental illness (Jeremiah 25:16). -- Ancient world: caused by demonic activity (John 10:20) or too much study (Acts 26:24). Other Illness in Scripture -- There can be divine components (Acts 12:23). -- There can be satanic/demonic components (Job 2:7).

-- There can be personal choice or sin components (Psalm 38:3). --There can be impersonal or environmental components (Acts 9:36-37). Conclusio n -- The best assumption: there are probably a variety of factors that contribute to mental illness -- It is unwise for one to think that mental illness only has one cause -- Some of these factors can be genetic, prenatal, psychological,

trauma, spiritual, and past choices Friday 5 July pm Tough Lessons from Josephs Life Andrew Schmutzer Trials and Triumphs of Joseph The Backdrop

of Josephs Family Joseph is immersed in conflict with his ten half-brothers God never speaks to Joseph, like Abraham or Jacob knew Fourteen (14) chapters slow way down to explore ninety-three (93) years in Josephs life Using the Revealed Truth of Scripture and the Observed Truth of family patterns, we can study Josephs life with binocular vision. No brother interacts directly with God. Through relational brokenness and

spiritual crisis, they confront God through God Works in MessedUp Families God works with each person, revealing his divine tenacity and creativity that overwhelms human scheming. We are not sterile copies of prior family members. God intimately relates with us based on individual needsbut others do shape us! So it is stunning to observe how God can incorporate layers of human suffering and relational strife into his redemptive

plan. Toxic Families, Like Josephs Toxic families fight any loss of control by actually increasing the chaos. All parents have broken places, but most dont adequately grieve their brokenness. Nothing has a stronger influence on children than their parents uninspected pain. While healthy families practice mutual respect, humility, honesty, listening, forgiveness, and value the thriving of

each person, dysfunctional families use self-promotion, shaming, favoritism, scapegoating, deceit, and recrimination. As long as every family member plays by the rules, the illusion of love and Josephs Bio Death of his mother, Rachel (35:18-19) Object of his fathers favoritism (37:3-4, 11) Scorn of his brothers hatred (4, 8) Threatened with death by his brothers (18, 20) Sold into Egypt as a slave (27, 28) Loss of home, family, culture, and land

(28, 36) Ongoing sexual offers by masters wife (39:10) Trauma Stacks Up! Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life. Judith Herman It would be traumatic enough for Joseph just to realize that he survived! Joseph would use his twenty-two year separation from his family to make some

profound theological conclusions about his own story, Gods activity, and the best way to reconnect with the gang of ten. Clearly, the presence of God does not mean the absence of trials or temptation Transgene ra-tional Pain Toxic family experiences are in fact transgenerational problems. Families recycle the toxic pains they are too embarrassed to name, too disoriented to understand, and too wounded to stop.

This system is not something that any parents invent: it is the result of accumulated feelings, rules, interactions, and beliefs that have been handed down for generations. Abraham lies about Sarah (Gen 12, 21). Isaac lies about Rebekah (Gen 26) and uses favoritism for Esau (Gen 27). Jacob deceives Isaac (Gen 27) and Laban (30), then uses favoritism toward Joseph (37). Loss of Agency in Suffering I was forcibly carried off ( --Joseph 40:1415)

The toxic relater is frightened by tenderness and weakness because both have become associated with vulnerability and pain. (--Clinton McLemore) Where there is no free agency in love, there is no intentional closure in conflict. As individuals are wounded over time; it similarly takes time to heal. Joseph had over two decades to gather his head and heart. Joseph and Forgivene ss

Genesis (45:1-8) forgiveness Genesis (50:15-21) pained closure Forgiveness relinquishes the right to personal vengeance, not the right to offense, outrage, or even legal action. Sometimes forgiveness is about halting evil, and that is called winning. Some forms of evil are never understood; they are only absorbed through a vision and grace not our own. In forgiveness, there is both a freedom from (bitterness, hatred, destruction), and an access to (peace, affirmation, reconciliation). FORGIVENESS [bridge] Conclusio

n: Some Truths Worth Taking The sovereignty of God is not seen in what God prevents, but in his majestic ability to take the broken pieces of our lives and make something beautiful from them. What is not transformed risk being transferred. What are your family toxins that started long before you (in the headstream), but could now become a recycled reality (in the downstream)?

Forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation. One can be given, and yet the other never occur, for a number of reasons. Remember that God remains active in our relationships. The body of Christ

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