ExploreSeries: Pain and the Gospel of Christ

This series address the role of Christ in helping us make sense of suffering. The Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t protect us from heartache, but helps turn our thoughts to others in the midst of heartache.

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yellow-brick-road

The Yellow Brick Road Syndrome

Does Christ really promise us a life free of sorrow?

by Jeffrey Thayne

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Oftentimes, we assume that pain inherently bad and enjoyment is inherently good—so we wonder how a benevolent God could allow natural disasters, illness, pain, and suffering happen in the world. In addition, we assume that the Gospel of Jesus Christ will lead to a life of uninterrupted happiness and joy.
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Two Types of Suffering

Are joy and sorrow really opposites?

by Jeffrey Thayne

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The truth is, following Christ doesn't alleviate our suffering. Those who follow Christ will often find themselves experiencing even more sorrow and suffering. We can help make sense of this by distinguishing between misery, sorrow, enjoyment, and joy. We can experience our suffering as either misery or sorrow.
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Transforming Misery into Sorrow

How Christ Helps Us Find Meaning in Pain

by Jeffrey Thayne

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Christ doesn't take away our suffering, but does help us find meaning in the midst of suffering. He helps turn our hearts and our minds towards others, so that we can experience our suffering in an other-centric way. In addition, true joy is centered on others. Joy and sorrow, when experienced with Christ, are expressions of love.
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Woman Staring Out Window

Men Are that They Might Have Peace

Does the word "peace" better describe life's purpose?

by Jeffrey Thayne

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When we read the verse, "Men are that they might have joy," I think that we sometimes misinterpret "joy" to mean "positive emotional experiences. However, living the Gospel can lead to sorrow as well as joy. I suspect that the purpose of life isn't to have positive emotional experiences, but to learn to love and have a heart at peace in the midst of negative experiences.