Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I was thinking about the paradox of deliverance the other day.  It seems to me to an interesting theological idea.  I'm using deliverance to mean freedom from something that is opposed to how God intends for us to live.  The paradox is this: that which we are delivered from makes us more like Christ.  If our highest aim is to be more like Christ, wouldn't it logically make sense to remain in suffering and refrain from seeking deliverance?  Nobody likes suffering and everybody likes deliverance, but God often uses suffering to refine us, shape us and mold us to conform more to the image of His son.  I do think its important to distinguish the difference between suffering that just happens (a tragic accident, cancer, being born with a chronic disease, etc.) and suffering that we bring upon ourselves (a sexually transmitted disease, penal consequences of a crime, neglect of family that leads to divorce, etc.).

We can learn from either type of suffering, however, its the seemingly unwarranted suffering that is harder to align with our belief in God's power and goodness.  Its easy to recognize the suffering we bring upon ourselves as error or disregard for sound human judgment, its another thing entirely to figure out the why question of unwarranted suffering.

Deliverance from either type of suffering can happen as a miraculous work of God, however, more times than we like to admit, we have a responsibility to relieve suffering wherever we see it.  I guess in the end both suffering and deliverance get us closer to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  After all, isn't His the ultimate story of suffering and deliverance.

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