Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15: Blessing or Curse?

At church at the moment we are doing a 3 week series on the topic of suffering.  I LOVE listening to sermons on suffering (having listened to something like 17 sermons on Job* over the last few months).  I am always curious to know what other people think about suffering and particularly what other Christians have to say on the topic.

It feels a bit conspicuous to be at church listening to these sermons when everybody there knows what we've been through!  One of the (obvious) areas covered in today's sermon was that suffering is not necessarily a direct consequence of sin.  It got me thinking though about why we all think suffering is so bad.  Why do we automatically wonder if we are receiving punishment or a curse from God when things go wrong?

What if suffering isn't a curse?

What if it is a blessing???

I would never want anyone to think of Ashlea as a curse or a burden.  She is undoubtedly a blessing from God.  We never think of her as a burden or a curse and I would be horrified if other people thought of her that way.  I would go so far as to say that everything that we have had to deal with through having Ashlea in our lives still falls on the blessing side rather than the curse side.  Although maybe check with me again about that when I am stuck in eye clinic with her on Tuesday.  But generally speaking I do not view any part of having Ashlea - even the difficult parts - as a curse.  Although maybe its easy for me to say that.  I'm not the one who has to live with cerebral palsy and kidney failure.  Maybe Ashlea wouldn't say that for herself?

For us having her in our lives has profoundly changed the way we view everything.  She helps clarify what is important in life - not material possessions or academic success.  Not money.  Not even living independently.  What is important is knowing God.  It doesn't matter that Ashea won't ever be successful in the world's eyes - one day she will be in heaven with God!  That is what matters the most!  Not just for Ashlea either - but for all of us.

It's weird though, because even though I would say that our Ashlea 'suffering' has really been a blessing, I don't know if I would say the same for Murray's brain injury.  It certainly doesn't feel like a blessing at the moment.  Hopefully one day (soon?) I will be able to look back and see how God has used it for His good purposes in our lives.  I'm sure from the vantage point of heaven we - everyone - will be able to see God's greatness in all of this.  It would just be nice to have a little glimpse of that now!

* For anyone else with a love of Job the best sermons I've listened to have been:
 - these 2 by Rob Smith (free)
 - these 6 by Tim Keller
 - these 5 by John Piper (free)


Sarah said...

Thank you for putting this in words Alison, it is a blessing to all of us who will read it. Will continue to pray that God will use all the circumstances He has planned for you all, for your blessing and for those around you, and that He will give you all strength to persevere each day.

Deb said...

Your words about blessings reminded me of Laura Story's song "Blessings". You may already know her story - the song was written after her husband Martin was diagnosed with a brain tumour and then contracted meninigtis during the surgery to remove the tumour. I find her song so compelling.

ferfischer said...

Love this post! I am not christian or religious and I absolutely feel like cici is a blessing. It wOuld kill me to know that people think of her as a curse or burden. I am also fascinated by the stOry of Job. Like you, I do wonder what SHE thinks of all this though.

Anonymous said...

Rob Smith used to teach me Christian Religious Education at High School when I was a kid. I'll aim to listen to the free ones.
Love from Fay.

Ronda said...

Though Job is not my favourite, I have downloaded and listened to heaps of sermons. I find the Gospel Coalition a good one stop shop for sermons. They have 7 pages of sermons on Job.