Lessons from the Sidelines: Suffering 101

I’ve been sidelined from normal daily activities due to my mid-summer accident and injury now for over 10 weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the values of my suffering and setbacks, thanks to the promptings of my spiritual director and several conversations with my spiritual friends.
What are the values I’ve discovered?
First of all, when we suffer physical pain and/or injury, we are invited to consider afresh the suffering our Lord Jesus embraced in our behalf. If it weren’t for his obedience in suffering a painful death on the cross our salvation would not have been gifted to us by our generously loving Lord who willingly paid the price.
Secondly, when we suffer we need to trust that God knows with intimate detail all about our pain and heart ache. He empathizes with a compassionate love and desires more than anything to provide all we need to deal with our reality whether it will include healing or not.
Thirdly, when we suffer we become more empathetic toward others who also deal with physical or emotional ailments…either chronic or short term.
Fourth, we need to trust that God will watch over our lives, our comings and our goings, and will perform his good and perfect will in his time and in ways that he will orchestrate in our behalf…regardless of our physical condition.
Fifth, when we suffer physical hardships, we need to slow down and let our body heal organically and wait with patience for that to occur in a time frame that’s consistent with the human body’s natural capacities. And, we need to accept the help of others who desire to serve us with practical, emotional and spiritual support.
Sixth, as we suffer physically we need to remember our mortality and eventual death…these bodies of ours will eventually slow down and lie dormant as our “new bodies” are resurrected to eternal life.
Seventh, in all circumstances we need to remember to hold fast to hope and a future with joy!
It’s one thing to be sidelined from activity, and another altogether to be off the field with no hope at all…what other lessons have you learned along the way as suffering has entered your experience and taught you to trust the Lord in an ever-deepening way?


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

Steve is a graduate of Northwestern College (IA) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.). His prior ministry includes serving on the pastoral staff at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and as president of Vision New England. Since July 1, 2003 Steve has served as founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building, and adjunct faculty in the Doctor of Ministry department at Gordon-Conwell. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective),  Baker bestseller Becoming a Healthy Church, and Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). He lives in the Boston area with his wife Ruth and is the proud father of two grown children, Rebekah and Nathan, daughter in-love Ashley, and papa to his beloved granddaughter, Brenna Lynn and twin grandsons, Aiden Joseph and Carson Stephen. “My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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