Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More on Suffering

Reading more in Yancey's book on suffering. More things I want to think on.....How do you help someone when they are going through suffering? Well--not by having a sockmonkey nurse (just kidding!). Here are some quotes from his book for me to think more on :

How do you help people who are hurting?

“If you asked me for a Bible passage to teach you how to help suffering people, I would point to 1 Corinthians 13 and its eloquent depiction of love. That is what a suffering person needs: love, and not knowledge and wisdom. As is so often his pattern, God uses very ordinary people to bring about healing.” (yet he does speak also to the need of knowledge and wisdom—he isn’t ruling these out).

“ Nevertheless, love itself breaks down into specific and practical acts. We meet suffering people in every school, in every church, in every public building, as well as in every hospital. All of us will one day join them. As I’ve listened to what they have to say, I have come up with four ‘frontiers’ where every suffering person will do battle: the frontiers of fear, helplessness, meaning, and hope. Our response to suffering depends largely on the outcome of our struggle in those frontiers.”

Speaking to the frontier of fear:

He mentions Donne—what one of the things Donne was taught in his suffering---“Obsessed, he reviews every biblical occurrence of the word fear. As he does so, it dawns on him that life will always include circumstances that incite fear: if not illness, financial hardship, if not poverty, rejection, if not loneliness, failure. In such a world, Donne has a choice: to fear God, or to fear everything else.”

Speaking more about Donne he said, “ In the most important sense, it did not matter whether his sickness was a chastening or merely a natural accident. In either case he would trust God, for in the end trust represents the proper fear of the Lord.” He goes on to explain we may not understand what God is doing , “But the underlying issue is whether he is a trustworthy ‘physician.’”

“ What is the right way to approach a God we fear? In answer, Donne holds up a phrase from Matthew’s story of the women who discovered Jesus’ empty tomb: they hurried away from the scene ‘with fear and yet great joy.’ Donne sees in their ‘two legs of fear and joy’ a pattern for himself……….They ran from the scene on legs of fear, yes, but also on legs of joy, for the strange happenings were signs of the best possible news: Jesus had conquered even death. And with that same hope John Donne found at last a fear of which he need not be afraid.”

I am posting these thoughts here--for reminders of me to think on these things.


  1. Your thoughtful post made me go look something up in the book "The Wounded Healer", in Chapter 3:

    "If there is any posture that disturbs a suffering man or woman, it is aloofness."

  2. Hey Nannykim - You have been TAGGED. Come over to my blog site and get the details. Hope's site may make more sense when looking for said details. Let me know if you are going to do this - Jennifer

    I like the monkey by the way!

  3. I need to think on these things also, Kim. Nice post. I agree "love" is the main ingredient in helping those who are suffering.

  4. I completely understand about the tag. You are right, it takes alot of time. I loved your post - Jennifer

  5. I love anything by Yancey...hate his hair, but goodness does that man ever have wisdom!