Destacado: El joven Jesucristo: su mundo familiar-social-secular-religioso desde los doce hasta los treinta años de edad.
Le puede interesar: Beyond your suffering, be it physical, material, emotional, mental and/or spiritual.
Reciente: Evangelistic work by Dewayne, Rita and Antonio Shappley, mostly in the Spanish-speaking world
Beloved precious soul, I am pleased to present you this subject, hoping you will find it practical and valuable for your life on the surface of planet Earth, and even afterwards.
Beyond Your Suffering…
As I am a fellow sufferer with you, may I please share some thoughts and observations with you?
It may be that relief for your physical suffering will come for you through the natural processes of healing that your own flesh and blood body is programed to activate. Or, by means of medical treatment. Or, through prayer1. May it be even so! As long as your recovery is also for the well-being and improvement of your mind and spirit, as much, or more, than for that of your earthly body. And not only for your personal good but also for that of your loved ones and other people who know you2. Yes, for many people are healed only to continue doing damage to themselves, their family members, other people around them and the human race in general.
It may be that your healing takes place quickly, within a matter of minutes or hours. Or, it may take a long time, even years, for it to happen. In such a case, patience and resignation must be called upon to manifest themselves continuously in the fullness of their power, lest it should occur that the heart, mind and spirit become sick themselves as a consequence of too much pain and anguish. A situation which would be exponentially worse.3
Now then, in these times of the 21st century, no believer is superior to the apostles and other ministers of Christ of the first century, no matter his or her religious affiliation, level of spiritual maturity or index of holiness. This is so despite pretentions to the contrary by not a few professed followers of Christ today. God did not heal the apostle Paul of his “thorn in the flesh.” 4 Period! Not instantly, nor later, nor, by inference, ever! The evangelist Timothy, so highly praised by Paul for his very fine attributes as a consecrated Christian and competent minister of the Kingdom of God5, suffered from “frequent infirmities.” 6 He worked closely with Paul during some twenty years, both of these tireless servants of the Lord carrying out great works of evangelization, edification and benevolence. But, Timothy was not healed by Paul! Obviously, God the Father decided not to heal him, leaving Timothy in the same category with Paul: Two out-standing Christians, tremendously effective, whose mortal bodies were not healed of infirmities that persisted year after year, without healing or being healed! To affirm or insinuate that Paul and Timothy were not healed because they did not have sufficient faith, or because they were short on holiness, is the height of absurdity, bordering on defamation.
Given these two very clear cases, why should any present-day Christian, physically sick, or with congenital defects, hurt in an accident, wounded, or whatever his corporal ills might be, expect to be healed “Right now, Lord! You promised to heal me!” A great deceit! The Lord has made no such promise. Interpretations to the contrary ignore the cases of Paul, Timothy, Epaphroditus,7 Christians in Corinth8 and Jesus Christ himself.9 By the way, if Christ had never become sick during his thirty-three years in a human body, it could be said that he would not have experienced fully our human condition. But, that is just what he came to do: To live and suffer as we do that he might properly commiserate with us in his function as High Priest.
Sell miracles of healing? This is the height of avarice, audacity and malicious ingenuity by some modern pastors! Setting a price for the “healing” in accordance with the severity of the condition? Such cheap manipulation! Absolutely scandalous! Jesus Christ, his true apostles and other faithful ministers of the first century never sold miracles. An act totally contrary to the spirit and law of Christ.10
Instead of being obsessed with the corporal sufferings of your physical body, even to the extent of being victimized by medical and religious charlatans, I beseech you, beloved friend, to raise your eyes to heaven and consider, long and soberly, that out there beyond your physical sufferings, there is an eternity without them! On the condition that you believe,11 without doubting, that God the Creator is the Rewarder of those who love and obey him, and not lose that faith until the end of your earthly journey. Because God has certainly promised to the just, to the merciful, to all who obey the Truth for the purification of the soul,12 a new body, spiritual, immortal, powerful and glorious!13 We should focus our attention on this new body, and not so much on our mortal, physical body. Agreed?
Are you afflicted with wild emotional anxieties, severe mental sickness and/or profound suffering of the soul, of the spirit? It may be that you will find, perhaps soon, maybe farther along, relief during this lifetime, even healing, especially through Christ and his Word so full of positivity and wise advice. Or, it may be that you have to suffer your condition, bearing it until the day of your departure from these worldly realms. Whatever the case, let not your heart be troubled nor think evil things against God, for beyond your emotional-mental-spiritual sufferings in this life, in the next there is an eternity free of them! Multifaceted promise of the Almighty whose Word does not fail. For example: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 14 So then, PERFECT and ETERNAL emotional, mental and spiritual health! We should aspire to this with such passion that present sufferings become so small they affect us not at all, or very little.15
In order to get “beyond your sufferings, whatever they may be,” to where they will never be, it is necessary to not only believe in Christ, the Son of God who brought this celestial message of fantastic hope, but to align your personal conduct on the earth with his ethical-moral-spiritual norms, which are not onerous but rather pure and healthy,16 confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord17 and be immersed in water “for the remission of sins.” 18 Having done this, Christ himself will add you to his church,19 to the one he alone built,20 where, persevering until the end in doing good and dying in the Lord, you will be resurrected out there beyond all your suffering to an eternal life of pure bliss!
The decision is yours. We are at your service to assist you in your obedience. And take full note: “…we do not seek yours, but you,” as the apostle Paul says,21 our only motive being to offer you freely our spiritual help. May God bless
you in your deliberations and decisions.
At this moment, what is your decision? Do you need further orientation? Additional spiritual help? Our humble desire is to serve you within God’s plan for you, and for us.
1 James 5:15. “And the prayer of faith will save the sick…” That is, as God wills. The apostle Paul was not healed. 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
2 Consider the case of Job.
3 Again, Job is the classic case. The book of Job in the Old Testament and the witness of James, in James 5:10-11. “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”
4 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
5 Philippians 2:19-22
6 1 Timothy 5:23
7 Philippians 2:25-30
8 2 Corinthians 11:29
9 Jesus Christ lived and suffered as a human being. Logically, he would have experienced, during his life previous to the crucifixion, corporal sicknesses or disorders of one kind or another, perhaps even accidental bruises or cuts, that he might fully sympathize with our human condition in his office of our great High Priest. Hebrews 5:10
10 2 Peter 2:1-3. “By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
11 Hebrews 11:1-6
12 1 Peter 1:22
13 1 Corinthians 15:42-44
14 Revelation 21:1-8
15 Romans 8:18
16 Matthew 11:28-30
17 Romans 10:12-17
18 Acts 2:37-47
19 Acts 2:47
20 Matthew 16:18
21 2 Corinthians 12:14
Beyond Your Suffering… PDF of this subject in tract format. Three folds; six pages, on letter size paper.
Tracts to Evangelize and Edify. List, with links. Available as articles and in PDF format for printing as tracts of two, four or six pages. Varied subjects for different uses. Also available in Spanish. Written especially for use by churches of Christ.
Bible studies in PowerPoint for youth and adults. Tracts in PDF and JPEG. By Dewayne Shappley. Print your own or order.
Churches of Christ in the United States www. www.21stcc.com/ccusa/