Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hurt Versus Suffering

Has God ever asked us to hurt? Has He asked us to suffer? I've never really thought of this before prayer time with a friend yesterday, but there is not a scripture where God tells us to hurt. There are plenty of scriptures where he warns us that we will suffer. What's the difference?

I started a word study this morning on "hurt" versus "suffer." The Hebrew and Greek words for hurt are tied to evil, distress, calamity and adversity. Most of the verses that have "hurt" are actually God telling us that He will protect us against hurt. Luke 10:19 says, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” In the Old Testament when the three Hebrew boys in exile would not bow their knee to the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone to worship, he had them thrown into a fiery furnace. It was then reported to the king in Daniel 3:25, "I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (emphasis mine)

Scriptures that warn us that we will have to suffer have a more eternal perspective. There are actually quite a few Greek words for "suffer," but the one used the most often is "pascho" which means - to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a sensible experience, to undergo. Jesus tried to tell the disciples before his crucifixion that he would have to suffer. He had to feel pain for us. He asks us if we are willing to share in that suffering so we can be more sensitive to the pain of others. “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;” (Phil. 1:29) Our problem is that our finite minds get stuck on the suffering instead of the end result. When God asks us if we are willing to suffer for Him, the destination is not the pain. The destination is that JOY of eternity with Him on the other side of suffering!
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:16-18

I challenge you to do your own word study on hurt and suffering. There are so many more scriptures on this subject. Next time you experience some pain, ask God for His perspective. When you learn to "dwell in the secret place of the Most High" during a time of pain, the enemy will not be able to hurt you. (Ps. 91) You will start experiencing a deeper level of intimacy with God that you would not have had without the time of suffering. God will prove Himself Faithful and True!

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