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When “Adulting” Includes Suffering

Preparing for adulthood includes learning how to manage money, being responsible with technology, finding a right-fit career, considering what to look for in a future spouse, etc. But sometimes, what can be overlooked is planning for the trials of life.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

It’s important to know what the Bible says about suffering, such as:

  • Acceptance of the fallen state of the world leads to a realistic, healthy perspective. (Rom. 5:12-21; Eph. 6:12-13; 1 Pet. 4:12)
  • Joy and fullness of life in Christ includes hardships and suffering. (Col. 1:24-29)
  • Suffering is a prompt to pray. (James 5:13)
  • There are great blessings in suffering. (1 Pet. 3:14)
  • The Bible provides the strategies needed to endure suffering. (Ps. 40:11b)
  • Suffering does not make God less than perfectly good. (Rom. 2:4)
  • God is in control of suffering at the same time as feeling everything we feel. (Ps. 97:1; Mt. 25:42-45)
  • He modeled how to do suffering. (Lk 23:46)
  • Responding well to suffering brings God glory and takes Christians to glory. (1 Pet 4: 16; Rom. 8:17-18)
  • You can achieve a special status in suffering, and can gain others’ attention for Christ through it. (Phil. 1:27-29)
  • Going through trials lifts you out of earthly focus and back to an eternal view. (2 Tim. 1:8-12)
  • Being well-prepared for suffering is not the same as being cynical, anxious, or dreading the future. (Prov. 31:25)

Having a personal relationship with Jesus is a game-changer when it comes to suffering.

  • Seeing Him at work in tough times leads to a grateful spirit. (Ps. 34)
  • Suffering is an opportunity to be comforted by the Divine Comforter. (2 Cor. 1:3-7)
  • The Lord allows hard times to produce rewardingpersonal character transformation. (Rom. 5:3-4)
  • He uses physical woes to expose crucial spiritual needs. (Mt. 9:2)
  • Suffering reveals the need for faith in God. (Is. 41:10)
  • What Jesus did on the cross becomes more precious in the face of evil. (Heb. 2:9)
  • He gives you precisely what you need to tolerate the suffering you’ve been given. (Heb 4:16)
  • Hard times create a beneficial dependency on the Lord. (2 Cor. 11:16-12:10)
  • Sharing in Christ’s suffering can make you more like Him. (Phil. 3:10-11)
  • Suffering can bond you to Jesus Christ in a deep, sacred way. (Phil. 3:7-8)

Suffering is a time for community to rally around those who are hurting:

  • Joining with others through suffering keeps you from feeling alone. (1 Pet. 5:9)
  • There is no greater hero to look up to than someone who is suffering and clinging to Christ in faith. (James 5:10-11)
  • Suffering is an opportunity to show and receive love and comfort from special people in your life. (2. Cor. 1:3-4)
  • Your suffering can be united to Christ’s sufferings for your benefit and for the sake of the Body of Christ. (Col. 1:24)
  • Prayers in times of suffering remind you how much you are loved, and Jesus is always found in prayer teams. (Mt. 18:20)
  • Through hardship, relationships can become more authentic. (Ruth 2:11)
  • Suffering often occurs in seasons. Sometimes you’re on the receiving end of support and sometimes you’re on the giving end. (1 Pet. 1:6; Eph. 4:2)
  • Doing life in a Christian community gives you the opportunity to be held up by brothers and sisters in Christ when you struggle, to know deep satisfaction of pointing others to Christ when they suffer, and to grow in Christ together. (Jn. 13:35)

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:8-10)

Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia

It’s a book about dementia…written by a Christian doctor…and intended for you if you think you could one day be caring for someone with dementia or if you fear the possibility of one day having dementia.

Through stories from his medical practice and from a Biblical worldview, Dr. Dunlop provides the knowledge you need to be calm and full of faith as you contemplate and possibly one day face this topic.

Topics include:

  • Recognizing symptoms and responding well in the early stages
  • Being sensitive with diagnosis (it’s important to be handled on a case-by-case basis)
  • Honoring those who are afflicted
  • Seeing God’s purposes in dementia
  • Honoring God through dementia
  • Being called to be a caregiver and caregiving options
  • Learning to care for and love well those with dementia
  • Planning wisely and respectfully for the way that dementia progresses
  • Protecting those with dementia and their families
  • Managing end-of-life requests
  • Sustaining a relationship with the Lord while living with dementia
  • The role of the church and dementia
  • The spiritual growth opportunities that come with dementia
  • Acknowledging your emotions about possibly dealing with dementia

 Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

1. Create and foster an atmosphere in your family that highly regards the elderly and moves in close to anyone experiencing dementia.

2. Check out John Dunlop’s several books on later seasons of life. It’s refreshing to read books about physical health written by an MD who is so devoted to Christ.

3. Especially consider the relationship you have with Jesus now compared to what you hope it will look like in your older years. Investing now is wise.

“They shall still bear fruit in old age.” (Ps. 92:14)

How Many Apologies Does It Take?

So you’ve messed up and apologized. You only owe one apology per offense, right? Not necessarily. Yes, the person you wronged is commanded to be quick to forgive you, but some cases can be better resolved after multiple apologies. Likewise, several layers of apologies may be helpful to restore intimacy.

As a Christian, you are not condemned. So, if you’re feeling unsettled even after you’ve apologized, you’ll want to proceed prayerfully to know if the Lord is prompting a next-level apology…or to see if this idea is actually coming out of wrong reasons such as people-pleasing, co-dependency issues, false guilt, etc.

If someone is coming to your mind right now and you’re wondering if you need to apologize again (or maybe even apologize when you’re the one who is owed an apology), the following exercise can help guide you.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

*Is the Lord speaking to your situation through these apologetic scenarios?

“So, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt. 5:23-24). There’s room here for the possibility that the one at the altar could extend a previous apology, yet it lack enough depth or sincerity for the brother to release the grievance.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone…if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you…” (Mt. 18:15, 16). There’s room here for the possibility that a brother might only offer a half-apology and not agree when being asked for a more complete apology.

“…you were grieved into repenting…” (2 Cor. 7:9). There’s room here for the possibility that as they grieved, the repentant ones became increasingly sorry, maybe even apologizing once more. There’s also room here for the possibility that during the grieving period the offended can be struggling to forgive; but once a fresh apology is delivered, forgiveness comes easier.

 *Does this basic truth resonate?

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). There’s room here for the possibility that an apology you previously gave – before you knew Christ – doesn’t feel sorrowful enough to you now, and you want to do it again.

*Do any of these foundational commands apply?

“You shall love the Lord God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength (Mk. 12:30). There’s room here for the possibility that the more of you that loves God, the more you’re able to hear Him telling you to do a better job apologizing.

 “…be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom. 12:2). There’s room here for the possibility that with a renewed mind, you think differently about the situation and can apologize with a clearer perspective now.

 “…continue to work out your own salvation…” (Phil. 2:12). There’s room here for the possibility that the more you live out your salvation, the more regretful you’ll feel about your sin towards another, leading you to a more deep and sincere level of apology.

*Still not sure?

“Humble yourself before the Lord, and He will exalt you…Carry out this act of grace…for the glory of the Lord…” (Jas. 4:10; 2 Cor. 8:19). There’s room here for the possibility that if you’re being led to offer someone another apology – and it’s coming from a humble place in your heart – then God is being glorified by you!

How To Glorify God When You Do Something Well

The dance composition was extraordinary, and her ballerinas were expertly trained. As this accomplished choreographer stood in the back of the auditorium waiting for the audience to clear, someone walked over to praise her work. Her response was as graceful as the ballet she had just produced on stage. In merely a 10-second conversation, this godly woman modeled how to graciously receive a compliment without stealing God’s glory.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

  1. Let your body language reflect a spirit of hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9). As the accolades were given to the dance instructor, her gentle smile and open posture communicated humble joy that the audience member received pleasure from the performance.
  2. Don’t be a babbling fool (Prov. 10:8). With obvious sincerity, she simply spoke two sentences. In the first one, she gave credit to the dancers. In the second, she paid tribute to the song.
  3. Walk by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25-26). The dialogue came easy to the Christ-filled, confident lady. She did not need to add anything about herself to the conversation since the flattering comment had already covered that. It wasn’t necessary to make a forced remark that it was “all God” – which in cases of admiration can make the encourager feel uncomfortable at best, or shamed at worst. Instead, by thoughtfully considering the speaker…receiving the personal compliment with her nonverbals…acknowledging the work of others…and focusing on the God-honoring content of her work, she beautifully glorified the fullness of Him in it all. (Ps. 24:1)