I HAD MY PASTOR’S HAT ON.  [I was so young.]  TEARS OF CONFUSION POURED FROM HER EYES.  She was a relatively new Christian.  Her little son had just died and her husband was angry. He was mad at her, God and everyone!  In addition, they were in debt head over heels. With pleading eyes she said, “But I thought Jesus was supposed to help us.” I was thinking, “Is she thinking God caused this? Does she think God allowed this? Did I teach her this?”  Where is God when you need Him?  Maybe I should say, “Well, we live in an evil world.”  Both she and her husband would have thrown me out of the house … and he was a big guy.

I don’t think quoting Jesus would have helped, and leave it at that.  “‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’”  (John 16:33 (niv))  And yet, he spoke truth.  Nevertheless, she had a sincere question. She wouldn’t have accepted a scriptural exegesis.  A saccharine sweet brushoff wouldn’t do from a 27 year old “preacher of sorts.”  She was in emotional and spiritual pain!

When someone has had a terrible auto accident, lying in the middle of the road, blood everywhere, a doctor would not give a classroom  lecture on trauma.  Sorry Charlie.  It’s not the right time or place. Furthermore, the pain would be too excruciating.  I’m trying to figure out why people hurt.

#1 –  The place to start is before the injury & pain; before the heartache, before the discouragement or disappointment, before the treason or lies, before the uncertainty or questions.  The relationship we have with Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit,  a voracious hunger for his Word, the Bible , our spiritual road map is our  protection and peace.

He said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.” (John 10:14)

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 (kjv))

“But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Romans 5:8-9 (kjv)

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (kjv)

#2 -The Rorschach test was designed to help the psychologist delve deep into our thinking finally diagnosing our mental state.  Other than our own destructive behavior, trying to diagnose how or why human beings suffer – usually blaming God – only creates more suffering through hate, anger and despondency.  When suffering through our heartaches, should we blame God or perhaps go to a street-side mind reader?  Trust me on this my friend, things will happen in our life for which there is no answer – none.  You can read books about why bad things happen to good people and it may bring a little comfort, somewhat like rubbing Lidocaine on a sore tooth, but when God works with us through our hurt, he goes to the heart of the matter.  Count on it, he does not cause human suffering, but in many cases he will pick up the pieces left along the way.  He welcomes us as we fall helplessly into his bosom.  Even Jesus who was God in the flesh had terrible feelings of hopelessness.  In his feelings of unrequited soul-hurt he cried, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

#3 –  Over and over throughout the Bible the Lord challenges us by saying, “Do not be afraid.”  When the disciples were about to drown, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”  When a celestial being appeared to the shepherds, it scared the living daylights out of them.  Think of it,  thousands of angels spread across the sky, singing.  I would be scared, too.  An angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.”  In the Book of Revelation 2:10, the indication is that Satan causes suffering.  It says,  “DO NOT BE AFRAID of what you are about to suffer.  I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer for 10 days.  But be faithful, even if you have to die, and I will give you the crown of life.”

#4 – How about those three hanging on crosses?  Two of them were criminals.  The One on the center cross was God who took upon himself flesh and bone.  In his pain and suffering, one of the thieves railed at Jesus, mockingly said, “So, some people have said you are the Messiah! If you can’t save yourself, how are you going to save us?” I can’t find where Jesus shouted back condemnation to the bitter thief.  “But the other criminal protested, ‘Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die?  We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.’  Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.’  And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”
(Luke 23:39-43)

#5 – Sometimes the pain we feel is because we don’t know what to do. It’s as though there is no answer.  Hopeless. “What do I do now? Is there no one to help me?”
It’s interesting that Paul and Silas “were PRAYING and SINGING HYMNS to God [in jail], and … suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!”
(Acts of the Apostles 16:25-26)

#6 – Rather than dealing with the “Why” of suffering, the key is to deal with the solution. The solution is to PRAISE HIM!  Praising shows trust!

#7 – 🎼🎶
“Praise Him! praise Him!
Jesus, our blessed Redeemer!
Sing, O earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory,
strength and honor give to His holy name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children;
in His arms He carries them all day long:
“Praise Him! praise Him! tell of His excellent greatness!
Praise Him! praise Him! ever in joyful song!”
(Fanny Crosby)



No prrroblema (a little Spanish lingo for your enjoyment).  But c’mon now.  This happyhappy mind set is like the (P.T.) Barnum or Forer Effect, like Pollyanna.  Pollyanna, Barnum, Forer, positive thinking, you can do it yourself philosophy … the happyhappy life, the give me your money for seeds and you’ll be healthy, wealthy and wise; all this was actually used by charlatans.  This may be called subjective validation. They say you will never have to worry about sickness because all you need to do is just go to one of those big healing campaigns and whoever it is will heal you. Oh, and BTW, your heart will never hurt.  That being the case, no one would ever die.

The book, Pollyanna, was written back in 1913 [the same year the 16th Amendment was ratified – INCOME TAXES] by Eleanor H. Porter and became a popular children’s book.  Pollyanna has become a derisive term for someone who always has an “optimistic outlook: a subconscious bias toward the positive.”

Theoretically, all you need do, they say, is to think positive and your problems will dissipate.  You’ll never have a “Job” experience; that’s JOB, the man, not a job.  You’ll never fail at anything [or if you do, just think positive; be happy-happy].

Do you remember that comic strip by Charles Shultz, Peanuts?  Charlie was saying, “I’ll never make it. I’ll be a failure.”  Lucy says to him, “Charlie, think positive!”  Charlie answers back, “OK.   I. WILL. fail!”  I presume one could think positive about failing – I wouldn’t recommend it.  But I have known those who just couldn’t bring themselves to face reality – it wouldn’t be spiritual.

Did you know that the Pollyanna, Barnum, Forer Effect has been associated with New Ageism, astrology, fortune telling, graphology and sorcery?

Am I saying that faith is of no effect?  Absolutely not!  Am I saying that positive thinking is of the devil?  Not on your life!  Are you supposed to walk around with a rain cloud over your head?  You gotta be kidding!  Sour, negative, down in the dumps? No way!  But if you think you can do it yourself without the hand of God in your life, I guarantee that some time or in some way you’ll be jerked back to reality with your little positive attitude wrapped around your little positive neck.

Maybe this is a good time for you to open your Bible and read about the human experience.  It is the oldest history book known to man.  Do you think Eve suffered when one of her sons murdered her other son?  Was Joseph thinking positive when his brothers dumped him in a pit?  Was Job happy-happy when he lost everything he had worked so hard for and wound up with revolting sores all over his body?  The Psalmist cried,  “People make fun of me and hate me.” (Psalms 22:6 (ncv))   Do you think he just snapped his fingers and sang, “O what a beautiful morning?”  No way Jose’.

In my book, “Write it on My Heart,” I mention that from the time I was about 19 years of age it is provable I read approximately one (1) self-help book every month.  I mean everything from “Think and Grow Rich” to “The Power of Positive Thinking,” from “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” to “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  I even read some of those saccharine sweet religious books authored by preachers who never had the experience of suffering, that is until they lost their kingdom in scandal and/or bankruptcy.   I attended seminars out the yingyang conducted by those guys who collected $500.00 with glee.  I even spoke at a bunch of those seminars myself from hither to yon collecting half of the $500.00.  I went home healthy, wealthy and wiser.  If the person speaking or leading the seminar had a certain esteem or charisma, or was perceived to be (pseudo) successful, he could say “the.world.is.round!” and the attendees were more likely to accept what was said and jump up and down shouting “Whoopee!”  Hence, the “power of positive thinking” acceptance.

My friend, “positive thinking” without Christ is like a shadow without substance, a shell without the kernel, a brain without a mind!  If you want positive, try this:

“My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side! I PRAISE God for what he has promised; yes, I PRAISE the Lord for what he has promised. I TRUST in God, so why should I be afraid?”
Psalms 56:9-11 (nlt)

“I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST because he gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13 (ncv)