Experience to teach us valuable lessons that we

Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first and
then the lesson. Suffering provides a powerful opportunity for a person to
learn from within themselves and transform the pain and personal evil they are
experiencing into something good and beneficial for the future. American
psychotherapist explores this idea on how suffering gives us a chance to
discover and express our unique identity through such events. Such events
brought onto us by god, but why? There are many reasons for suffering, it makes
us stronger and gives us a wider more beautiful perspective on the world. Frankl
explores this in his memoir “Man’s Search for Meaning”. However, to enhance his
assertion he makes; the life, death and resurrection of Jesus can also be used
in conjunction to teach us valuable lessons that we should uphold in society
today.

 

VICTOR
FRANKL

Survivor of four concentration camps, Viktor Frankl author of
Man’s search for meaning is an Austrian Jewish psychotherapist who foremost
followed the theories of Freud and Adler, but then developed his own school of Logotherapy (Imlacs
Journal, 2015).
Frankl has accumulated many years of experience counselling people with
suicidal tendencies and other problems, he put this exact expertise to work in
Bergen-belse and Auschwitz, helping both others and himself to survive the atrocities
and brutalities of Nazi imprisonment (Imlacs Journal, 2015). The key to Viktor Frankls
search for meaning is that man must be able to achieve a sense of purpose even
in the midst of suffering (Imlacs Journal, 2015). Frankl lists three
ways in which we can find meaning in our own lives, these include 1. By
creating or doing a deed. 2. By experiencing something or encountering someone.
3. By the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering. (Woofenden
& Woofenden, 2013). In context of the concentration camps,
it was those who offered their last piece of bread who endured the longest,
those that offered proof that everything can be taken away from them except the
ability to choose their attitude in any given circumstance. The sort of person the
prisoner became was the result of inner decisions of that person not of the
camp influences alone. Those people that took hold of their spiritual and moral
selves to give up, eventually fell prisoner to not only themselves but by the
camps degenerating influence as well. Whilst those who took advantage of these
experiences and made victory of them experienced a true inner triumph. And thus,
Frankl concluded that humankinds deepest desire is to search for purpose and
meaning.

Victor Frankls assertion of Mans search for meaning, conforms to Jesus’
life, death and resurrection in many ways as in Luke 13: 2-5 “Jesus answered, “Do you think that these
Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered
this way? 3 I
tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who
died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more
guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But
unless you repent, you too will all perish.” During ww2 did the Jewish,
disabled, and other minorities deserve their suffering than more than any other
individuals? The answer is no. The cause of suffering was not born from lack of
faith or sin (Bader-Saye, 2007). These victims did not deserve their
death and imprisonment any more than anyone else. This ties in with today’s
context, the world today as we know it is beautiful; filled with Active volcanoes, bright green valleys, glaciers,
snowy mountains, black sand beaches, and roaring rivers yet despite such
beauty many people still suffer all over the world. These sufferings seemingly
underserving, with different intensities and in different situations. Those
that do suffer do not deserve it any more than anyone else. This leads many to
believe that god clearly does not deliver the good from suffering (Bader-Saye, 2007). But this does not
mean god has abandoned us. As through suffering we come to realise true
happiness, goodness and beauty. That the only way to understand sorrow and evil
in our lives is to immerse ourselves in the opposite, we should divulge ourselves
into gods embrace, comfort and creation. The beauty in creation which makes
suffering bearable without explanation (Manninen, 2013).

 

Many people are eager to know what good can come out of suffering,
how can there possibly be a positive event. Although it may seem hard suffering
and difficult times shape who we are, and can allow us to learn new things.
These lessons include the teachings of true comfort, wisdom and humility.

Suffering produces true comfort: God entrusts us to comfort others so
the more that the more we suffer, the more we are comforted, and the more we
are comforted, the better we can be comforters (MacArthur). The Paul the
Apostle suffered like no man ever should but through these experiences he was
able to give back to his society for the better; he administered the gentleness
of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:8) with the tenderness of a mother (1 thes. 2:7) (MacArthur). To conclude we
cannot be true comforters to others if we truly have not experienced pain and
comfort within gods limits

Suffering yields great wisdom: During a period of suffering we often
need to ask god for strength and wisdom to endure this painful period. Doing so
will help us have a better attitude towards suffering and to see the providence
and sovereignty in our unique situation (MacArthur). Such dependence on
god is synonymous with prayer “let him ask god” (James 1:5). Therefore, one of
the overall purposes god allows through suffering and evil trials is to make us
more dependent and closer with god.

Suffering yields true humility: Another truth of sufferings is that
it does not exclude favourites. This operates throughout the whole natural
world. Disasters, crimes, diseases and accidents affect rich and poor alike. It
is a hard realisation to come to terms with, but difficulty does not
discriminate. Through these difficult times individuals must keep their hearts
and minds open to the prospect of evil ending (MacArthur). As hard as it may
be, gods purposes are not always apparent at the start of the trial, but that
should not defer us from seeing the suffering till the end (MacArthur). That we need to
trust in gods sovereignty and remember that God works in mysterious ways.

 

WHAT CAN
WE LEARN FROM THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JESUS?

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus can be a template for
our own approach when CONFRONTING suffering and personal evil. Suffering and
evil comes in many different forms and intensities, it is to be expected,
because what is life without suffering? (Darmani, 2015) it may not be as intense of that
experienced by Jesus, but it is pain non-the less (Darmani, 2015) whenever we may encounter suffering or evil
we should remember what Jesus endured for us (Darmani, 2015)

Christ was able to display the grace of god through his death: 1
peter 2:24 “he himself bore our sins in
his body on the tree” and Isaiah 53:5 “he
was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our inequities”. The
sins that we committed and those before us (Adam and Eve) were transferred to Jesus,
and thus purchasing our forgiveness, which he had to do by suffering. Through Jesus’
death and sequential resurrection, he provides us with a way to heaven, he gave
us another chance at eternal life in heaven. He became the ultimate sacrifice
and through resurrection he proved the immense power of god. (Got
Questions?, n.d.)
This acts as a sign from heaven. As Paul says “through
Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who
believes is set free from every sin” (acts 13:38-39).

Whilst not only the death of Christ but his resurrection too
upholds many teachings and behaviours that are now set upon the way we should
be living. As Christ died for our sins if he was not resurrected, then we too
would have no hope of it either in the afterlife, there would be no saviour, no
salvation, just emptiness. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 that our
faith would evidently be useless, and our sins would remain unforgiven (Got Questions?, n.d.)

To conclude from the life, death and resurrection of Christ we
learnt that there is a positive outcome to sufferings. It makes us who we are,
it lets us experience all that the world has to offer, it teaches us that there
are hard times, and to appreciate the good ones, to see the true beauty in
nature and to see things from another light or point of view, to truly be empathetic
with someone and to be able to help them overcome suffering, to become a
comforter, to know true humility that is suffering. Throughout life we need to
not only trust in god but also each other (Culpepper, 2016). Therefore, the life of Jesus and the
teachings of god conform with Viktor Frankls assertion that through suffering
there is a positive transformative event and an opportunity to express a truly
unique identity.

Comments are closed.