By Norman Grubb
Transcribed from an audio tape:
What is suffering? Suffering is what I don't like. That's
all. It may be spirit suffering, soul-emotional suffering or body
suffering. I don't like it because it presses me to find the remedy.
That's the secret! It presses me to find the remedy.
Do we square with what the Bible says on suffering? Unless I get it from my Bible, I'm not safe in the end. The Bible's got to be interpreted by the Spirit; but I've got to have it in my Bible first, to have it in my spirit. The Bible says suffering is a necessary quality, and that you can't have glory without it. So we'd better understand suffering if we'd have glory. The Scriptures are full of it.
In Romans, Corinthians and Timothy
The great Romans 8 victory
chapter is full of suffering. The moment Paul speaks about our inheritance
in verse 17, he says: "...if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and
joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him." Oh? On
condition that we suffer with him, "that we may be... glorified ..." The
two are bound together: heirs and joint-heirs, if so be that you suffer.
And then Paul says that the
Spirit groans with us, too, "with groanings which cannot be uttered."
That's interesting. Isn't this the victory chapter with no separation, and
all of that? Yet, the chapter closes with: "As it is written, for thy sake
we are killed all the day long." Not, "alive all the day long." No!
"Killed all the day long." Read it! We'd better be Bible readers and see
what it says for ourselves. "We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
That's not trotting about in earthly marble palaces, is it? "... Accounted
as sheep for the slaughter." Oh! That's Romans.
Look at Corinthians, where this
mighty Paul does his sharing and confessing. Second Corinthians is quite a
confessing letter. He says he is comforted in all his tribulation, "but we
had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in
ourselves, but in God ..." (1:9). So he went through something. He, mighty
Paul, was trusting "himself." That's a little bit of Satan, isn't it?
"We are troubled on every side,
yet not distressed" (4:8). Troubled means you feel it. In the Bible
there's a difference between troubled and distressed. You're perplexed.
Oh, we get mixed up a bit, then? This is Paul: perplexed, but not in
despair. There is a separation between perplexity and despair, but there
A Body Death
But the life is only manifested
because of the dying. It says that my body shows it. Find it in your
Bible: "Bearing about in the body, the dying ... that the life of the Lord
Jesus ... might be made manifest in our body" (8:10). So it's
physically operated and it shines out of us. Yet, the basis has been the
dying, if there's a rising. "For we which live are always delivered unto
death..." (8:11). We're stuck into death by God: "always delivered unto
death... that the life... of Jesus might be made manifest."
And then we come to the pattern.
It becomes God that we are perfected in suffering, not perfected in glory.
And it becomes the One "for whom are all things, and by whom are all
things... to make the captain of their salvation perfect through
sufferings" (Hebrews 2:10). This number one person -- the captain, the
leader -- is made like unto us.
Beginning in 2:9, "We see Jesus,
who was made a little lower than the angels... that he... should taste
death for every man. For it became him [God]..." It becomes and suits Him;
it's right and fitting. What is fitting? "In bringing many sons unto
glory, to make the leader of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
What sufferings, then?
Temptation is called suffering
in Hebrews 2:18, "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted..."
The word for both temptation and trial is the same in the Bible. In some
sense temptation is an inner pull, while the trial is outer impact. But
they are really the same thing, as it's the same word in the original. "He
suffered being tempted." So there's suffering in being tried.
It goes on to say in verse 8,
that "though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which
he suffered." Do you see? You learn a thing and get it, as do those
becoming doctors or taking on any other occupation. You become a "be-er,"
a "God-er". You learn obedience.
The great Kierkegaard says,
"Life is inside you." Subjectivity is truth. Objectivity is outside you.
You always escape by saying, "Oh, it's out there, somewhere." But life's
real answer is inside. His great word "existentialism" means that you live
in existence: existence inside you.
How do I make that suffering
operative? You live from inside you. You don't say, "Oh, I'll get over it
somehow. It'll go away tomorrow. It'll leave off me eventually." Life is
not objective. Objective is operating by: "Oh, we'll handle our problems
out here." Subjectivity is: "What does that mean to me? Why is that like
that? I must find my answer inside me."
A Leap of Faith
The secret of the Cross is that
you handle your sins by a leap of faith inside of you that seeks a new
way. It sounds absurd. Where's God and this resurrection stuff? You've
leapt by the absurdity of faith. You say, "I believe He did it. I believe
in the resurrection. I believe in the Holy Spirit to forgive me. So I
dissolve my sin problem by my Jesus inside me. He took them away!"
Salvation! New birth! You've had the inside solution. You couldn't be
saved unless you were miserable inside.
How can I find the answer inside
me when I'm a nasty person? I'd best find I'm a nice person by a leap of
faith. I discovered the nasty person was Satan in me, and Jesus Christ put
him out. The nice person is Jesus in me? So find I'm a nice person inside.
Now my body shows the inner harmony. Once I was a Satan person; but Jesus
put him out, and now I'm a Jesus person. I believe that! It's leap of