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DEFENDING  THE  BRIDE

 

  

 

 

Bible Quotations Concerning Suffering

 

Christ is honored on account of His Sufferings. 

Hebrews 2:9-10
 “... but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.  For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering.”

 Hebrews 5:8
“Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered”

 1 Peter 2:21-24
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.  ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’  When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.  He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”

 

Christ's purpose was  *NOT*  primarily to end suffering here on earth through miraculous cures, but rather to preach the Good News that would lead us to Salvation in Heaven where every wound will be healed when we are united into God’s love.

See  The Mission of Jesus Christ

Mark 1:32-38
“When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him (Jesus)   all who were ill or possessed by demons.  The whole town was gathered at the door.  He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.  Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed.  Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’  He told them,  ‘Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.’ ” 

 

Suffering does not separate us from God and His Love. 
Sin separates us from God.

Romans 8:35-39
“What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?  As it is written:  ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’  No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Christ's suffering overflow to us, and to you  .. .. . Be encouraged

2 Corinthians 1:5-7
“For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow.  If we are afflicted, it is for your encouragement and salvation; if we are encouraged, it is for your encouragement, which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.  Our hope for you is firm, for we know that as you share in the sufferings, you also share in the encouragement.”

 Sirach 2:1
“My son, when you come to serve the LORD, prepare yourself for trials.” 

Psalm 34:20
“Many are the troubles of the just, but the LORD delivers from them all.”

  

Suffering is real.  Christ despised its shame.

 Hebrews 12:1-13
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising its shame, and has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.  Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart.  In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood.  You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons:   ‘My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.’  Endure your trials as ‘discipline’; God treats you as sons. For what ‘son’ is there whom his father does not discipline?  If you are without discipline, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards.  Besides this, we have had our earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them. Should we not (then) submit all the more to the Father of spirits and live?  They disciplined us for a short time as seemed right to them, but he does so for our benefit, in order that we may share his holiness.  At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.  So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.  Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.” 

 

Some people wish to deny that we need to accept some sufferings.

Philippians 3:18-19
“For many, as I have often told you and now tell you even in tears, conduct themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Their end is destruction. Their God is their stomach; their glory is in their  ‘shame.’  Their minds are occupied with earthly things.”

  

We are called to accept suffering

 Luke 9:23-24
“Then he said to all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.’ ” 

Romans 8:17
“... and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” 

2 Timothy 3:12
“In fact, all who want to live religiously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 

Philippians 3:10
“... to know him and the power of his resurrection and (the) sharing of his sufferings by being conformed to his death”

2 Timothy 2:11-12
“This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him. 
But if we deny him
he will deny us.”

  

St. Paul was denied an immediate healing in this life.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10
“Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated.  Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me,  ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’  I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.  Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

St. Paul accepts suffering. 

Galatians 6:12-14
“It is those who want to make a good appearance in the flesh who are trying to compel you to have yourselves circumcised, only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. .. .. But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

 

Special privilege to Suffer 

Acts 5:41
“So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.” 

Philippians 1:29
“For to you has been granted, for the sake of Christ, not only to believe in him but also to suffer for him.”

 

Crucified with Christ 

Galatians 2:19-20
“For through the law I died to the law, that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ;  yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me; insofar as I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.” 

Galatians 5:24
“Now those who belong to Christ (Jesus) have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires.” 

2 Corinthians 4:7-15
“But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.  For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  So death is at work in us, but life in you.  Since, then, we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we too believe and therefore speak, knowing that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and place us with you in his presence.  Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God.” 

 

Rejoice in suffering 

1 Peter 4:13
“But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.”

 

Suffering embraced to fill up what is lacking 

Colossians 1:24
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church …”

 

Cup of Suffering 

Mark 10:35-40
“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ 
He replied, ‘What do you wish (me) to do for you?’ 
They answered him, ‘Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left.’ 
Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?’ 
They said to him, ‘We can.’
Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared.’ ”
 

John 18:11
“Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?’ ”

 

Suffering producing Glory 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“Therefore, we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to what is seen but to what is unseen; for what is seen is transitory, but what is unseen is eternal.” 

1 Peter 4:1
“Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same attitude (for whoever suffers in the flesh has broken with sin) …”

 

Affliction produces endurance.  

Romans 5:3-5
“Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

 

Trails produce perseverance.  

James 1:2-3
“Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

 

Offer bodies as a living sacrifice 

Romans 12:1-2
“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.  Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
 

 

Suffering in order to bring restoration.  

Psalm 141:5
“Let the just strike me; that is kindness; let them rebuke me; that is oil for my head.  All this I shall not refuse, but will pray despite these trials.”
 

Nehemiah 9:26-31
 “But they were contemptuous and rebellious: they cast your law behind their backs, they slew your prophets who bore witness against them in order to bring them back to you, and they were guilty of great effronteries.  Therefore you delivered them into the power of their enemies, who oppressed them. But in the time of their oppression they would cry out to you, and you would hear them from heaven, and according to your great mercy give them saviors to deliver them from the power of their enemies.  ‘As soon as they had relief, they would go back to doing evil in your sight. Then again you abandoned them to the power of their enemies, who crushed them. Then they cried out to you, and you heard them from heaven and delivered them according to your mercy, many times over.  You bore witness against them, in order to bring them back to your law. But they were insolent and would not obey your commandments; they sinned against your ordinances, from which men draw life when they practice them. They turned stubborn backs, stiffened their necks, and would not obey.  You were patient with them for many years, bearing witness against them through your spirit, by means of your prophets; still they would not listen. Thus you delivered them over into the power of the peoples of the lands.  Yet in your great mercy you did not completely destroy them and you did not forsake them, for you are a kind and merciful God.’ ”

 

The Wisdom of the Cross 

1 Corinthians 1:17-23
“For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning.  The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written:
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the learning of the learned I will set aside.’
Where is the wise one? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made the wisdom of the world foolish?  For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles …”

 

Advice on dealing with suffering 

1 Peter 4:12-19
“Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.  If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  But let no one among you be made to suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.  But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed but glorify God because of the name.  For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God?  ‘And if the righteous one is barely saved, where will the godless and the sinner appear?’
As a result, those who suffer in accord with God’s will hand their souls over to a faithful creator as they do good.” 

1 Peter 3:14-17
“But even if you should suffer because of righteousness, blessed are you. Do not be afraid or terrified with fear of them, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame.  For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that be the will of God, than for doing evil.” 

 

Suffering is not necessarily the result of that individuals sins. 

John 9:2-3
“His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’   Jesus answered, ‘Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him.’”

 

Sufferings are occasions of growing closer to God.  A person who has wounds that are healed by Jesus Christ is better off in the latter state than he was before he ever suffered. 

Matthew 5:3-12
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

 Philippians 3:7-9
“(But) whatever gains I had, these I have come to consider a loss because of Christ.   More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him …”

 

 

Job is a commentary of the problem of suffering.  The answer to this problem is resolved in chapters 38- 42 when God finally answers.

In the Old Testament Job suffers tremendously.  He insists that he is innocent.  However, his “friends” insist that Job admit that his sins led to his suffering.  God addresses Job at the end of the book.  He rebukes Job's false friends for blaming Job.  They were wrong to claim that it was his sin that caused his suffering.  God is happy that Job was seeking an answer, but he invites Job to grow in humility before God.  God says that some things are beyond are ability to understand.  We can know some things about suffering, yet it is still a mystery in that we cannot understand it completely. 

Job 38:1-4
“Then the LORD addressed Job out of the storm and said:
Who1 is this that obscures divine plans with words of ignorance?
Gird up your loins now, like a man;
I will question you, and you tell me the answers!
Where were you when I founded the earth?”

1. “Who”  is a reference to Elihu ( or Eliud )  who had just finished speaking in the previous two chapters. See Aquinas

Job 42:7-9
“...  the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite,  ' I am angry with you and with your two friends; for you have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job.  Now, therefore, take seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up a holocaust for yourselves; and let my servant Job pray for you; for his prayer I will accept, not to punish you severely. For you have not spoken rightly concerning me, as has my servant Job.’ 
Then Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, went and did as the LORD had commanded them. And the LORD accepted the intercession of Job.  Also, the LORD restored the prosperity of Job, after he had prayed for his friends; the LORD even gave to Job twice as much as he had before.”

For more context of the Book of Job see Dave Armstrong’s comments below in regard to how the “faith movement” gets it wrong.  The truth is that sometimes good people suffer through no fault of their own.

The Case Of Job  see section 21

 

We are often tempted to choose to commit sin in order to satisfy our desires and to avoid any suffering that would come with doing God’s will, but God says not to fear the suffering that comes with living a virtuous life, rather we are to fear the suffering that comes with eternal damnation. 

Matthew 10:22-32
“You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.  When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. … No disciple is above his teacher, no slave above his master.  It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, for the slave that he become like his master.   Therefore do not be afraid of them. … And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.  Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge.  Even all the hairs of your head are counted.  So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father.”

 

The suffering that ensues in dying to ourselves when we follow the commandments of Christ may seem to make them humanely impossible to follow, however with the help of God’s grace through faith that His will is best makes them not that hard.

 1 John 5:1-6
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is begotten by God, and everyone who loves the father loves (also) the one begotten by him.  In this way we know that we love the children of God when we love God and obey his commandments.  For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.  Who (indeed) is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  This is the one who came through water and blood,
1  Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and blood.”   
                                                                                                  NAB

1 Water and blood (1 John 5:6) refers to Christ's baptism (Matthew 3:16-17) and to the shedding of his blood on the cross (John 19:34) ... The gist of the divine witness or testimony is that eternal life (1 John 5:11-12) is given in Christ and nowhere else. To possess the Son is not acceptance of a doctrine but of a person who lives now and provides life.

 

We need to be thankful to God even in the midst of suffering for the graces that He makes available to those who seek Him. 

Matthew 5:11-12
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 

Philippians 4:6
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. 

1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good (both) for each other and for all.
Rejoice always.
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.
 

1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly.

1 Peter 3:15-16 
“ … sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence …”
 

 

Don't Give Up!

Galatians 6:9
“And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.”


 

The  Mission  of  Jesus  Christ

 

The mission of Jesus Christ has three dimensions.  He is Priest, Prophet, and King. 

He is a King and we owe Him our allegiance as He shows us the way to Heaven. 

He is a Prophet and He teaches us the Truth about God and ourselves and our relationship with Him. 

He is the High Priest and He offers us an opportunity to become sanctified or holy so that we might have eternal life with Him. 

John 14:6 
“I am the way and the truth and the life.”

 

His Church fulfills this threefold mission.

King - To Govern - Way - by giving us the Moral Law to guide us in the path of holiness.

Prophet - To Teach - Truth - by defining exactly who Christ is and what it means to follow Him and by infallibly proclaiming Christian doctrines by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Priest - To Sanctify - Life - by means of the Sacraments we gain eternal life.

Read More

 


 

For more on how to deal with suffering see:

1. Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer: 10 Life-Changing Stories of Hope and Healing.  Edited by Jeff Cavins and Matthew Pinto.
This book is also available on cassette tape at Saint Joseph Communications Ph: 1-800-526-2151

2.  Pope John Paul II's book,  CROSSING  THE  THRESHOLD  OF  HOPE.

3.   Father Pablo Strauss series on EWTN, titled:  I Believe.  It is broadcast at about 9:45pm EST.  His love for the Crucifix is very obvious. 

4.  Ecclesiastes- which seems to be a pastoral letter written to someone going through a crisis.

 

 

 

 


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