Series on Suffering: An Introduction

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Suffering impacts everything. It reaches beyond our circumstances and grabs our hearts, influencing how we interact with others, how we view ourselves, and even how we view the gospel. If you’ve engaged with Repurposed for any length of time (or if you’ve watched from afar), you’ve read numerous posts about wrestling and surrender. The stamp of suffering has imprinted almost all we hold dear.

But I absolutely love that I was born into my generation. And I’m even more grateful my kids were born into theirs. Let me explain…

I live amongst a generation encouraged by the Church to live authentically… to share our secrets… to reveal the brokenness in our lives. And in all of it, while the impact of sin seems so vast, the cross, well, it towers over the brokenness. It’s big enough to cover all the shame and mistakes and regrets.

And I believe God is glorified when we admit our desperation for Him.

I look forward to meeting King David someday – warrior, national leader, and… um, poetry writer. I wonder if he planned for his words to be “wisdom literature” as many theologians categorize the Psalms. But nonetheless, the man after God’s own heart, the man given over to his lust, the schemer — he knew how to be real. And I do mean real.  He wasn’t afraid to tell God like it was. He wasn’t scared to “go there”. He identified his pain, he processed it over and over, and he finally surrendered. Over and over. Healthy guy, that King David was.

During the month of February, you’ll be invited into the pain of others’ lives. It’s sort of fitting, don’t you think? It’s Black History Month, and while we celebrate accomplishments and success, we can’t ignore that all that redemption rose out of pain. All that beauty was resurrected out of oppression. It’s the Valentines month, too, and suffering, no doubt, repurposes our hearts through and through, whether we’re ready for the transformation or not.

Back in 2012, I sat down with men and women and crafted a Series on Suffering for my original blog out of those conversations. We examined events, reactions, coping… and of course, redemption, too.

Because Repurposed is about surrendering, begging God to transform us, and then impacting those around us, I thought it was fitting to touch base with those original men and women and see how they’re doing — four years later.

Miscarriage and infertility, a marriage ended by cancer, parenting a physically disabled child, an eating disorder. We’re hitting some hard ones. These people have stories that are common — but are often behind closed doors.

Many of us–even in our increasingly open and authentic generation–don’t pursue these topics with our friends who are living them. We don’t know what to say.

And when the pain is our own, we also stare at the terrifying chapters of our stories in silence. Alone. Waiting to be pursued. Waiting for insight to help sort out the mess. And with the passing of days, we detach ourselves more from the pain, from others, and even from our own hearts. It’s really confusing to be the victim.

So for the next month, I’ll be posting different interviews that were held a few years ago followed by an update (in the person’s own words) the next day. I’m grateful these incredible, ordinary people are willing to talk again. They’re inviting us back into their private pain. And I’m confident the hope of redemption is still there.

I ask two things of you. First, please dare to “go there”. Allow yourself to identify with certain aspects of their stories and boldly study your own suffering. Your own reactions.  Your own coping mechanisms. The healing starts there.

And secondly, invite others over to RepurposedShare the interviews and updates with people in your own communities facing similar issues. Allow my friends’ boldness to speak into their suffering. Let’s join God in healing the world, one person at a time.

So, come be a part of this. It’s fitting, don’t you think, that our series will overlap with the start of Lent? While reflecting on suffering, we’ll walk right into the season of preparing our hearts for reflecting on the most vivid representation of suffering and self-sacrifice. May the Rescuer, the Redeemer, be glorified in all of it.

This week’s first conversation will be with a dad who is parenting a severely disabled child. That girl is a teenager now.

See you tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Series on Suffering: An Introduction

    1. Thanks. I think it’s helpful for us to peek into others’ suffering… for so many reasons… on so many levels. I’m amazed at how suffering seems to give us more opportunities to engage in community. It forces us to take the mask off.



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