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Sabbath: Extreme Heat — 12 Comments

  1. My experience with extreme pain has been relatively short. Had a kidney stone and passed it. Had chronic back pain and had an operation that fixed it. Acute abdominal pain. Surgery again!

    But, I have a friend whose son developed a disorder that was both painful and caused severe disfunction. Medication helped at first but ultimately, he was in constant extreme pain and had difficulty in swallowing and breathing. He knew that there was no cure and his condition would lead to an excruciatingly painful death. He chose to accept assisted death and one quiet morning, he took the medication and died peacefully while his mother held his hand.

    My friend had contacted me while all this was happening. She did not want a lot of argument about ethics and morality. Nor did she want a whole lot of texts about comfort and the Lord being with you in times of trouble. She just needed a friend who could listen and understand.

    We argue about the ethics, morality, and theology of extreme pain, but when faced with its reality, when we share ourselves with the sufferer, we answer the most basic human need. They are not alone and have a friend who goes through the valley with them.

    We need to understand that God works in and through us. It was Friday evening when I learned that I was going to have emergency surgery on Sabbath morning. I had been in pain all week. I had collapsed at home in agony and had been taken to hospital by ambulance. They had subjected me to a week of diagnostic ultrasound, Xrays and CT-scans. I had been fed by drip all week. And now the surgeon had decided to operate. I asked for our minister to visit me. He was my friend. He sat beside me, and we talked and prayed together. Sometimes he just sat with me. That was all I needed at that time. Someone to be in the valley with me.

    C S Lewis said:

    The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like.’ ”

    Our picture of God often comes from friends and family who are there with our suffering. Is there a God? Yes there is. He sat with me when I was suffering, His name was Bill, or Susan, or Mum!

    • I can emphasize with you.
      My wife is bed ridden with peripheral neuropathy (in feet and hands) and I, with trigeminal nerve issues, resulting from an immune deficiency, among other things.
      Let's pray for each other.
      I can't eat or talk properly, because of numbness on the left side of my face.

      • I can surely sympathize with you.
        My husband had diabetes and had serious neuropathy in his hands and feet. He refused any pain medications because of how he felt when taking them. He used to say every step was like walking on hot coals. He was at the point when they wanted to schedule an operation to remove one of his toes when he had a heart attack and passed on. Knowing of his pain and suffering and having Christ close to me, I was able let him go. I considered it as a blessing from God.
        It was after that when I started to have many serious trials. I had been weak and very dependent and found myself without his income. I lost my job the same month and had a mortgage to pay. We had bought a home together with an apartment for rent, so that was the only income at first. Not enough for the bills. Not long after my tenant had bought a home and left. When he came to give me the keys, his large dog thrashed my small Chikwawa. He had such nerve damage that his head and tail were headed in the same direction. I had to put him down. Tenants kept refusing to pay their rents and I had to evict. I couldn't afford lawyers, so I had to learn how to do it myself. A few had destroyed my property. This brought great financial and emotional stress. Not without many years and many trials, I finally realized that I cannot depend on a tenant, or a job to finance my needs. When I focused my dependence on God, I was able to evict without ever worrying about my finances. This removed a great deal of the stress. I now have a good tenant for a few years now. I thank God for being with me and growing me in His love. I hope and pray that my witness can encourage others to depend on God alone for everything.

      • And yet, Larry, you continue to bless others with your reflections on this platform. I started the week on another platform for studying the SS lesson, but missed your and others' comments on this blog. I'm joining others in lifting you before the Lord this morning and pray that your heart may be knit with His and that He may grant you the desires of your heart.

  2. Study Asks:
    Why do you think God is willing to risk being misunderstood by those He wants to know Him and love Him?

    Job had no other reference point except #the wisdom of that time in history# as demonstrated in the conversations and debates with his counterparts on #why bad things happen to good people who love righteousness and hate wickedness. Psalm 45:7

    Also Job prior to his suffering offered himself to the creator as a mediator/priest for his family's errors and sins, which showed a prophetic shadow/type (aka Spirit of Prophesy), from the mind of God to Job, as the eternal plan of salvation in the Godhead.

    Humanity has no excuse to continue in/to sin, with so much light and Godly knowledge available to all who seek it.
    Jeremiah 29:13, John 3:19

  3. The essential difference between punishment and discipline is that punishment involves creation and application of 'artificial', non-inherent consequences that otherwise wouldn't happen, while discipline involves allowing someone to experience inherent consequences that come from the dynamics of the situation itself. Under punishment, I cause the consequences to happen. Under discipline, it is the inherent consequences that manifest the impacts.

    As humans, and particularly fallen humans who are very limited in our capacities, we often need to utilise punishment in situations where the inherent consequences are, for various reasons, inappropriate. However, God does not suffer from these limitations. This is why and how God is easily able to work all things together for good (Romans 8:28) - including things inherent to the fallen condition of this world and its inhabitants, as well as the the rulers, the authorities, the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). No wonder Jesus was careful to warn us that inherent to this sin-infected world, we will have trouble (John 16:33). This is in stark contrast to the world prior to sin's entry where "everything that God made" was only "very good" (Genesis 1:31).

    In line with this, the SDA officially sanctioned document Methods of Bible Study notes that:

    "...(Near Eastern) Hebrew culture attributed responsibility to an individual for acts he did not commit but that he allowed to happen. Therefore the inspired writers of the Scriptures commonly credit God with doing actively that which in Western thought we would say He permits or does not prevent from happening..."

    I would propose that the memory verse for this week is but one example of this common practice and therefore needs to be interpreted in light of the above paragraph. As we study this week's lesson, I will leave you to decide for yourself (a) whether or not the above principle is valid and important for bible reading/interpretation and (b) whether or not it's application has significant implications with respect to the resulting picture of God that is portrayed.

    • Thank you for sharing your viewpoint on the difference between punishment and discipline. However, to avoid miscommunication, I believe it is important to stick with commonly accepted meanings.

      Dictionaries record commonly accepted meanings, so I suggest we take a look at the meanings of punish, discipline and consequence.

      While you suggest that discipline is composed of "allowing someone to experience inherent consequences" of behavior, that is not what discipline normally means.

      "Inherent consequences" of behavior are distinct from both punishment and discipline.

      If you'll check the dictionary definitions - whether in the references I gave or other dictionaries - I believe you'll find that the words "punish" and "discipline" are often used interchangeably even though they may not have precisely the same meaning.

      If we give it some thought, I think we will find that "punishment" generally looks back to a deed done and seeks to impose some kind of "payment" for damage done, while "discipline" tends to look forward, as in training a child or student to do better in the future. Punishment can have the same effect, even though it may not be the primary motivation.

      The Good News translation (which is a dynamic translation, seeking to give the sense in simple modern English) translates the text thus:

      "Isaiah 53:10 GN
      The Lord says,
      “It was my will that he should suffer;
      his death was a sacrifice to bring forgiveness.

      And so he will see his descendants;
      he will live a long life,
      and through him my purpose will succeed.

      I think we can agree that Isaiah 53:10 at the very least means that it was the Lord's will that the Messiah should suffer, even if the Lord did not personally inflict "punishment." It also says that the suffering was worthwhile.

      It seems to me that the author chose this text to remind us that Jesus suffered while fulfilling His mission on this planet. And thus He can empathize with our suffering. That is an important focus for us.

  4. Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

    We occasionally forget that God is always with us. When times are good and we are feeling fortunate, we tend to praise God. But, when times are bad, it can be a common thought to believe that he has abandoned you in your moment of need. This is not true though. As this Bible verse mentions, God is “very present” even when we are faced with difficulties and will help you get through them.

  5. Another factor in the cause of pain and suffering is mankind's freewill.

    If someone decides to kill some people in a supermarket or a dictator to invade and bomb a nation or the terrible persecution on our Jewish brethren in Nazism it's all caused by freewill agencies.

    However, this is all part of Satan and his bad angels who did not enjoy being subservient to Children of God.

    Let's us make man in our image and likeness did not get perfected in a garden, but in the history of mankind, with a fail/save plan in the eternal plan for Son's and Daughter's of God.

    I am judging angels by my love and obedience to God, and they are put to shame !
    1 Corinthians 6:3


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