Monday, October 18, 2010

Thank God For Suffering?

In my last post, I shared a little bit about Mary Beth Chapman, wife of Steven Curtis Chapman, and the death of their five-year-old daughter, Maria.The Chapmans' suffering was (and I presume still is) deep.
Her website has this tagline right under her name: 

"Love of God is pure when joy and suffering inspire an equal degree of gratitude."

I had to read that a few times to
begin to digest it.

I'm sure we're all fine with what is implied here regarding joy; that is, the things that bring us joy can (and should) inspire gratitude to God. But that second word, suffering? We're supposed to feel gratitude for our suffering? Is Mary Beth crazy? What does she mean by this? How can her suffering at losing her 5 year old daughter inspire gratitude to God? This is either totally nuts or deeply profound, right?

What do you think?


  1. This is where the rubber meets the road, isn't it?

  2. Yes it is Vickey. And here's the thing. I don't think Mary Beth is nuts. Therefore I think what she said is profound.

    Here's Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:

    "16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

    And though it's a different application, we see also see Paul teaching a principle of rejoicing in suffering in 1 Peter 4: 12-19.

    "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And,
    'If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?'

    19So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." 1 Peter 4 12-19