In the middle of persecution and suffering one thing is for sure – my world shrinks to the size of the pain. Sometimes I am conscious of its value, but mostly I close in on my pain.

Not surprisingly as I walk on this journey in the Suffer Ring, other bloggers have written on this. I have come to expect that, and welcome the variety of approaches I meet in other bloggers’ work, and the insights, inspiration and in-my-face teaching.

Here is a small part of one such post:

“…I don’t think the point is that we live above our circumstances. I really believe the point is we go through and we live in our circumstances but with new vision, new purpose, and new strength offered to us by Christ.

Paul, through his many trials learned that there is a larger story playing out. He longed to be a part and He became a part of that larger story…” (The Good News)

Beyond the chain link fence where I work a cosmic sunset dwarfs my workplace - Jan. 13, 2013

Beyond the chain link fence where I work a cosmic sunset dwarfs my workplace – Jan. 13, 2013

I have already touched on being happy in suffering and accepting the value of persecution for personal growth and discipline. But here “The Good News” raises yet another impossible lesson to live, that whatever happens to me is not about me. There is a bigger picture to consider.

And that’s easy to intellectualize. Letting it infect my skin holds a whole other dimension.

Persecution comes with serving God faithfully. Sure God uses the occasion to improve my spiritual condition, but God intends that my suffering for Jesus should become a transmitter to others of God’s message and plan of salvation for seekers, and of the discipline of enduring for the cause of Christ to other followers of The Way (as Luke calls it in Acts 18:25-26).

As part of the Body of Christ I am part of a big plan, that God “doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act” (2 Peter 3:9c God’s Word ©).

Pain causes self-obsession for me. For Jesus, however, it caused a widening of the eyes to see those around the cross, an image of the big picture. In pain Jesus lost self and entered a whole new level of compassion.

That’s clear, cutting and congruent.

Each station of this journey takes my strength away and leaves me gasping at the post. Yet I have determined not to stop. The picture must be painted, whatever its size.


This Lent I am being led on a pilgrimage. I do not yet know if it is from persecution or to suffering or through both. Nevertheless the journey has begun.

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