Thursday, August 8, 2013

Steve Saint's Definition of Suffering

I quoted Steve Saint's definition of suffering this past Sunday as we looked at Job chapter 2 in our Suffering Series. Here it is, along with the link to the message in which it is found (which I highly recommend):
"Suffering is our expectation divided by our experience."
And then he said,
"As I was thinking about that, I thought, that's exactly the same definition for blessing. Both suffering and blessing are relative to what we expect."

There is profundity bound up in the simplicity of those definitions. I think they are worth pondering. In case you have trouble wrapping your mind around those definitions, I gave a little primer for the thought pump on Sunday in the form of four simple questions. 
  • Why are there extremely poor people who are extremely content and happy?
  • Why are there extremely rich people who are extremely discontent and unhappy?
  • Why are there people who suffer extreme physical pain or limitation who are extremely joyful?
  • Why are there people who are the picture of healthy and vitality who are mad at the world?
Why are these things the case? Because suffering is our expectation divided by our experience. And so is blessing. May the Word of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ continue to inform and shape our expectations.

Philippians 4:12-13 
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

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