Like many of you, our family has had its share of suffering so far, and there’s probably more to come. One of our sons was jogging and suddenly found himself on the ground writhing in pain. He had demolished much of his knee and torn the nerve that allows you to lift your foot. He had two surgeries, even one at John Hopkins, but he still has drop foot and always will. The school our daughter with Downs attended took us to court because we disagreed with them about her going to the next grade instead of the disabilities class. They won in court all three times, including federal court, and we spent all our kid’s college money on lawyer fees. However, she surprised everyone when she attended the University of South Carolina! Then during Christmas of her senior year, she developed autoimmune encephalitis (the immune system was attacking her brain.) She almost died until we got her to Duke University Neurology. Their treatment and electroconvulsive therapy brought her back from nearly dying, and she regained her personality and ability to speak and feed herself. Yet, she has to have an infusion every six months. Over 20 years ago, long before Covid-19, I lost most of my ability to smell for no reason, and experimental treatments in Washington, D.C., didn’t heal me. I’ve regained some of it, but most is still gone. Our ability to smell is how we can taste the flavor of food. So, you who have lost your smell due to Covid-19, I understand. It’s very depressing. My wife has severe back pain that keeps her awake each night, and we don’t have a diagnosis yet. In all of this, we’ve learned that Christ is still our life. God is good and trustworthy. He is using this to conform us to the image of Christ. His comfort helps us comfort other people with the same comfort He gave us.
I don’t write this to elicit your pity but to let you know that I understand you who are or have suffered, and so does your Heavenly Father. I also want you to see that suffering has been and is our teacher though we often don’t like the suffering!
In our Advanced Discipleship Training courses, we offer two classes that deal with suffering. One of those is Romans 8. The title of the teaching is: LIVING VICTORIOUSLY DURING TEMPTATION AND SUFFERING. Let me share a little of what the Holy Spirit tells us there. 1. We suffer with Christ. In other words, we are not on our own when we suffer. He is in us to walk with us. 2. Our suffering causes us to groan within, longing to leave this planet to be with our Father in heaven. 3. The Holy Spirit prays for you when you suffer, and our Father answers those prayers for us. 4. Jesus is interceding for us, too, and His prayers are answered for us. 5. We are not suffering because God is angry at us or doesn’t love us. The Spirit spends a lot of space assuring us at the end of the chapter, encouraging us to believe that our Father loves us. He’s reminding us that He is good, and we can trust Him still in our suffering.
I hope this encourages you today in whatever you are going through. I also hope it inspires you to consider attending our upcoming Advanced Discipleship Training Course. We teach much more about suffering and over 20 other topics like “God is Better Than You Think.” Over 600 people have done so; everyone has told us they will never be the same! Please take a look at this link for more info.
Mark Maulding, President, and Founder