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Forum 2: Followup Questions

By Dr. Brian Campbell

 

 

Suffering “Matures” with Age:  It seems that the concept of "suffering" tends to "mature" as you get older; it is much easier to see the benefits of suffering "in retrospect," than it is to grasp the significance of suffering "as, and when, it is occurring.”  How important is it for you to help clients put “suffering” in perspective?  What scriptures might you use to help them?

 

Dr. Campbell

 

 

 

What can you learn from suffering?  Consider the following verse.

 

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”

(Psalm 119:71)

 

How does suffering help us learn God’s “decrees?” 

 

Dr. Campbell

 

 

 

Whose Fault is it?  Many people who suffer blame God.  How important is it to keep the following statement in mind when counseling hurting people?

 

“When God first created man, physical pain, suffering, and death did not exist; it was only after Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden (after being tempted by Satan) that suffering and death entered into the world.  Satan, not God, is the original cause of physical and emotional suffering” (Godly Counsel, Campbell, 2010).  Do you agree with this statement?

 

 

Dr. Campbell

 

 

Enduring Suffering:  Here is a famous quote by Mother Theresa:

 

“I know God never gives you more than you can handle, but sometimes I wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

 

Why do you think some people can endure suffering more than others?  Is our ability to cope a measure of the strength of our relationship with Christ?

 

Dr. Campbell

 

Why?  versus What?:  People who suffer--physically and/or emotionally--often cry out to God and ask “Why?”  “Why did you let this happen to me?”  “Why did you let my child suffer?”  “How could an all-loving God let my mother die?”

 

As I grow older and wiser, I have stopped asking the “Why?” question as much anymore.  Instead, I find myself asking the question, “What would You have me do now, dear Lord?”  The “Why?” question can be all-consuming, and it doesn’t seem to help bring about mental health.  In contrast, the “What?” question turns our attention away from our own pain, and towards others.  With pain, there always seems to be a time when you need to “put it in perspective,” and “move on.”  What do you think?

 

Dr. Campbell

 

 

Helping Others to Help Ourselves:  Rather than focus on our own pain and suffering, how important is it to turn away from our own pain and start focusing our attention on God, and on others?

 

A famous Christian psychiatrist was once asked, “What would you do if you had mental health problems?”  He said, “I would get up out of this chair, walk out the door, close the door behind me, and go and help someone.”  What do you think of this advice as a possible motivating tool to help those who are suffering?

 

Dr. Campbell

 

 

 

Bringing Hope:  How do you bring hope to people who are suffering physically, and who are terminally ill?  As Christians, where does our hope come from?  Are there scriptures you can cite on the topic of hope?  See: Hopeless

 

Dr. Campbell

 

 

Benefits of Suffering:  In what ways is suffering a good thing for mankind?  According to scripture, what are some of the “benefits” of our suffering?

 

Dr. Campbell


 

Physical vs Emotional Suffering:  Which do you think is worse, physical suffering or emotional suffering?  Explain your answer.  How does physical suffering often lead to emotional suffering?

 

Dr. Campbell

 

 

Where are the Miracles?  If God is an all-loving and all-powerful God, fully capable of miracles, why does he allow horrible things to happen to people?  Why doesn’t he answer the prayers for healing by a mother whose young two-year-old child dies from cancer?  Why does he allow child abuse and molestation, sex-trafficking of children, kidnapping; spouse abuse; or the untimely death of a loved one.  Why doesn’t He answer prayers and miraculously intervene in such situations?  Why does He allow such suffering?

 

Someday, during your counseling profession, you are going to have to answer such questions?  How do you think you will answer?

 

 Dr. Campbell