Pity the Afflicted – Relentlessness and Revelation

Prayer in the Night – Chapter 11

What’s the difference between the “suffering” and the “afflicted?”

Afflicted refers to long-term or lifetime suffering. It’s suffering with no hope of relief.

Most of our human suffering ends with time. But for some, there is no end to their physical or emotional pain. Daily they live with pain or a disability with no hope in sight.

“We want suffering to have a clear beginning, middle and end, something we can get through, a story with a tidy resolution. We buck against a vision of Christianity with no immediate results, no clear payoff. The life of the afflicted remind us, uncomfortably that suffering is not simply a problem to be solved.” (142)

What can we do? We don’t want to pity in the sense of feeling they or we are hopeless. Instead, we enter into life with them, facing the challenges of their pain, helping them physically here on earth, hoping in the final resurrection when there is no pain or disability.

This of all the prayer is the hardest for me. Sometimes I despair, for myself and others. What I need is to realize God’s “pity” of us, how he enters life with us, completely attuned to our hopelessness.

He is the only one who can truly understand. He is the only one who can give us hope.

PS – This blog is reflections on Tish Harrison Warren, Prayer in the Night which I highly recommend.

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