Does the Church Care?
Have you been hurt by the Church? Or maybe you're wondering if the Church is genuine. Take a look below to see what the Bible and God say about what the Church should look like.
Lies about suffering
Maybe you’ve gone through a period of suffering, or you’re in the middle of one now, and you’re asking—does the Church care?
The short answer is yes, but sometimes Christians don’t always get it right.
God intends the church to be the most caring group of people on the planet, because the Body of Christ is made up of believers who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the only reason human beings have the capacity to show any compassion at all!
The four topics this series covers are: Suffering, Comfort, Your Role, and then—Healing and Deliverance
Suffering is kind of a weird word, but not something we use in our everyday language. For this series, we’re using the word as a generic term for pain, hardship, anxiety, trials of many kinds.
Suffering can come as result of our own choices—or the decisions of others.
No one likes pain and suffering, so we try to avoid it or dull it. We spend a lot of time, money, energy to avoid suffering. Sometimes trying to avoid suffering makes it worse.
But what can we do when suffering comes?
What do we do when suffering comes?
Here are some of the lies about suffering that are very popular:
Lie #1 ~ The Karma Mindset, namely that everyone gets what he or she deserves.
Lie #2 – Suffering is Meaningless, so we just have to hunker down and get through it.
Lie #3 – God will never give you more than you can handle. Nope. Sometimes He does so that we have nowhere to turn but toward Him.
We know that suffering is unavoidable - we can’t buy the lie of karma.
We know that suffering can be meaningful – that He’s working in us.
We know that suffering is an invitation to rely on the God that raises the dead.
How can God bring meaning to our suffering? Because He is no mere observer to our pain, but suffers along with us—and He can see the big picture, even though the purpose of our pain can seem blurry to us.
Counterfiet Comfort vs. Authentic Comfort
The word comfort can be used to describe a lot of things in this world: physical, emotional, spiritual, financial. What happens when we don’t have comfort in those areas, when things are falling apart, we start to experience distress—which can result in significant emotional pain.
Where do you go with your pain?
Peggy Reynoso in The Kingdom Life answer this question this way: “Suffering is a powerful force, drawing forth our deepest emotions and desires. We cannot be neutral in the midst of anguish. Pain drives us to run either to God or away from Him. Our response to Him in the midst of suffering determines whether we will mature and grow through trails or withdraw from God and turn inward, becoming bitter and self-protective.”
Do you find yourself turning inward, trying to ignore it? Do you medicate it? Does it spill over to those around you?
Inside every one of us is a need for comfort. Not just a desire, but a need, which was God-given. God created us to want comfort. The problem is we chase comfort in so many things that leave us hurting even more.
There are two types of comfort we can seek: counterfeit or authentic.
Counterfeit Comfort usually offers a quick fix. Robia Scott says it this way in her book Counterfeit Comforts: “We have exchanged our future and our peace for temporary relief and fleeting, counterfeit comfort. We hate ourselves for it, but we cannot seem to break free.”
Authentic Comfort is God companioning us in our pain. We’d love for God to take our suffering away from us, but instead He is with us and in us in our pain. When we trust that God is with us in our pain, we can embrace our pain and allow Him to comfort us.
Jesus Christ loves you more than you may ever know. He loves you so much that he came to suffer along with us and die for our sins so that He can be near to us and suffer with us. He is the only source of comfort that can satisfy over the long haul.
The Church should be the most caring group on the planet. Some of people have experienced that, but others think back and don’t think it’s usually true. If you are a believer in Christ, you are the Church. It’s not just pastors or staff members. Pastors can’t be there for every single one of us. The pastors’ job is to equip the members of the church to provide care.
So how do you become the most caring group on the planet?
What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
What do you say when you don’t know what to say?
3 things are in this verse and you can do them in any situation to provide care:
Presence: We need to draw near those that are suffering, even when we don’t know what to say. Sit with them in their pain, call them during the week, have coffee and listen. The purpose of your presence is not to fix them. We are the caregivers and Christ is the cure giver.
Peggy Reynoso – The Kingdom Life – “As we do the work of Christ, we lift heavy loads for others in many ways…We also unburden those in emotional and physical pain by entering into their place of suffering with them, crying with them and carrying their pain prayer to the Great Comforter.”
Empathy: Sharing in affliction and comfort. It means entering into another person’s chaos, with all the attending pain. Empathy is when you connect to a feeling in your soul that connects to a feeling in the person who is suffering.
Prayer: We have the right and responsibility to go before an Almighty God on behalf of someone else and plead for Him to act on that person’s behalf.
Jesus is the perfect picture of all of this. He draws near and he shares in what we’re going through. He knows. The Holy Spirit is praying for you right this very moment. This is the King that loves you more than you ever dare imagine. He’s waiting for you. Go meet with him.
Your healing journey
Here are some of the healing miracles Jesus made happen during his earthly ministry:
Jairus’ daughter—she was sick and dying and Jairus asked Jesus to come and heal her. By the time Jesus got there, she was already dead. Jesus said she’s not dead, she’s only sleeping—and then brought her back to life.
The man by the Pool of Bethesda—Jesus went to him and asked him if he wanted to be healed. He said yes. Jesus restored the man’s ability to walk, and he left the pool area on his own two feet.
Lazarus—Jesus’ best friend, who had already been dead a few days when Jesus got to him. Jesus told Lazarus to come out of the tomb and he did—with all his grave clothes still wrapped around him.
Have you ever wondered what was going through the minds of the people that saw these things? What goes through your mind, what stirs your soul? For some, there is awe and wonder that God is so big and wonderful that he can do these miraculous things. For others, there may be grief that comes in, as we wonder why we didn’t see this type of healing happen.
Here are a few things about healing and deliverance to keep in mind:
Healing is a journey. Journeys are long, tiring, sometimes painful. They are full of peaks and valleys.
We allow our pain to drive us to Jesus, instead of to our comfort, or friends, or whatever else.
We begin to process it with Him. Like a child might go to a parent for help with a broken toy, we can bring our suffering to Jesus and go through our issues with him to find a solution. Don’t candy-coat it or make it sound better, just lay all our wounds before Him. God can handle it all.
We ask for healing. The Bible says to ask—continue to ask. As you do, our wounds will begin to heal. New life will sprout in the ashes. The wound may not go away, but it is transformed and the pain is lessened. Our wounds remain part of our story.
Does God still heal and deliver? Yes, He does! It’s in his nature! The enemy can only steal and destroy. God makes all things new and restores the dead parts of our lives. Preach the truth to yourself. He is making all things new and he will deliver you—either in this age or the age to come. If his healing is delayed, he promises to stay and experience that pain with you.