Suffering — A Character Flaw?

Suffering – A Character Flaw or an Expose of False Doctrine

Isaiah 45:7

New International Version (NIV)

7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

I hope that this essay will invite some intelligent discourse on suffering. I for one do not subscribe to the false teachings of the Prosperity Preachers or the Name it and Claim it gospel of greed. Christians under the delusion of these falsehoods seem to find fault with those of us who are sick, have a disease or disabled. Always the cries of you don’t have enough faith or any faith. It puts an unrealistic onus on the sufferer if they don’t get delivered or don’t achieve some material fame, fortune and stardom.

I have to admit up until maybe a year and a half ago I did subscribe to the false teachings being broadcast on so-called Christian Television.  Around 2008 my fortunes changed for the worse and I was looking for a way out. I was in such a bad way and so desperate I played the fool by ordering tapes, blessed cloths, etc… in the hopes that God would heal my situation. As my physical health continued to deteriorate my mental reasoning began to rise to the forefront. I realized these TV preachers, the ones on the Internet and the false prophets within my own neighborhood were just preying on my desperation and that of fellow sufferers. These false prophets in the guise of Christian ministers of the Gospel were and are no better than that fake psychic Miss Cleo who promised similar salvation from life’s ills. As we all know she was exposed for the phony she was and her racket went down the drain

Recently God has given me peace in my storm. A knowing that no matter what happens, good or bad He is still with me.  I gained a new perspective away from the shallow and superficial allowing me to add much needed depth to my character. Having a chronic illness coupled with chronic pain has made me more sympathetic and empathetic towards others. When my finances began to go down the drain along with my health I was forced to reorder my life and my priorities. Over the last three years I’ve gotten rid of my car and my cable service, therefore I have not watched television other than at a friend’s house or in the beauty shop for nearly two years. No boob tube = clear thinking. Physical and financial deprivation gave me the opportunity to concentrate on more reading and my writing.

Prior to a personal encounter with serious illness I had just been an outside observer. I saw both my parents suffer horribly from cancer, especially my mother. It was a painful experience to see my Mom go through that hell but I never lost my faith. I just prayed that God would take her. For my Mom and Dad healing and deliverance came through death. Over the last ten years many of my close friends, co-workers and school mates have passed away at a young age. Truly I was saddened by all their passing’s but I knew in my heart they had not suffered or died in vain. This past May a very good friend and co-worker from my former job went to be with the Lord at age 51.  She was a true example of Christian faith, charity, love and understanding. She left behind a loving husband and children. No I don’t understand why God allowed her to die so soon at the peak of her life but He did and she’s gone.

The affect of her early death was a re-examination of my faith, my life. Am I living right? Am I a blessing towards others? Do I negate others feelings or emotions just because they may not be in line with my own experience. In addition to pray what are some practical hands-on ways I can help my sisters and brothers in need. That last sentence is what the church or rather its people have gotten away from.

In my personal walk with disease the people who have helped me the most were whom Christians “non-believers”.  As a result of the kindness from those of other faiths and belief systems I’ve redefined who is a un- or non-believer. A Believer is one who follows God’s laws and rules of conduct, who reaches out their hand to help those in need regardless of whether that person follows their faith system or any belief system at all. Some Christians have a bad habit of letting “Wounded Soldiers Die”. So quick to criticize.  So easy to body slam fellow believers with snarky phrases like, “Living beneath one’s privileges”.  That statement is so shallow, empty and superficial. Well you know life is a privilege in whatever form it manifests itself. The next time you volunteer at a soup kitchen, homeless center, Battered Women’s Shelter or help out at a local Special Olympics let’s see how far your guilt trip gospel will get you.

Thank you God for slowing me down. Thank you for helping me to live within these new bodily limitations. My suffering has produced purity of my soul, clarity of the mind and charity of my heart. I do not consider myself a failure because I’ve learned to adapt to physical changes in my body. Yes the times in various doctors’ offices and local hospital E.R.’s are frustrating and frightening, but now I just pray for peace and the strength to get through these episodes. My personal physical healing is not necessarily the objective. Then when I return to my job I can be a real blessing to co-workers and friends who are also going through.

Thank you God that I’m becoming better not bitter. Yes the landscape of my life has changed for many reasons. Healing, Deliverance and/or financial/material success are not my testimony but steadfastness, patience and purity of heart. My hunger, passion and desire are to live out God’s calling upon my life in whatever time I have left on this earth. I have been called by God to witness and to be a witness. Thank you Lord and May readers receive this writing in the spirit in which it was written. If it is for you receive it, if not shake off the dust as we agree to disagree in Love.

DeBorah Ann Palmer

2 thoughts on “Suffering — A Character Flaw?

  1. Thats deep sis and I except it for its genuine authenticity coming from a truly spiritual sister who has found herself, as many people including myself have yet to do, but I’m working on it. I definitely see my true calling being manifest to me. I just haven’t received conformation on how to achieve as of yet, but I know in my heart it will be soon.
    I see you’re at a climatic empasse in your life and I know you are in the process of choosing which road to take, so I wish great success with your choosing and know that what is for you, only you can achieve it and vice versa. Peace and Blessings!

    1. Thanks Sis. My goal is to present a balanced view of scripture and life in general. Believe me I’ve wrestled with illness for almost three years. I finally had to admit to myself that I’m getting older and my body does not work the way it used to. Younger people fail to understand or respect the aging process or the fact that anyone at anytime can become disabled. A persons illness, disease or disability is not a reflection of some failure on their part. Being sick has nothing to do with a lack of faith. It is not a personal failure. Too many Christians play the blame the victim game as though a person asked to be ill or they enjoy sickness. Yes there are some hypochondriacs but most sick people do not fall into that category. Sometimes I think that if I hear another snide, snarky remark disguised as a word from God, well I just want to smack the person to bring them to their senses. But I resist that urge.
      Suffering is just a fact of life and everyone at some point will experience it on a personal level.

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