Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

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It is God’s design for Christians that they hurt with one another when someone is suffering. 1 Cor 12:26 says, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.”

I interpret this to mean that we are not to let anyone hurt alone! We are to support one another through life’s most painful experiences. In God’s plan, facing hurt requires the help of our close Christian family members and Christian friends. It is a privilege to be Jesus’ representative and feel another’s pain and share his or her sadness. Jesus lives in us and to those who need healing we bring our love, fueled by Him and given in His name. The power of Christians together with Jesus to absorb hurt, to comfort, and to counsel is very much needed.

People come to faith in Jesus Christ broken and damaged by the effect of sin in the world. But God has designed a healing process through very close, personal Christian relationships. With few exceptions, those who go through suffering and hurt with us, or we with them, will be those in our Christian Inner Circles.

Hurting with those who suffer is God’s way of sustaining them. It is usually the first step of a threefold process in this order: hurt with – then comfort – then counsel. It is hard to be comforted by those who do not comprehend the hurt we are in and show that they care. Then, it is difficult to receive counsel from those who have not comforted us with reminders that God cares about us and our difficult situation. The progression in hurting with, then comforting and finally counseling provides caring, then reassuring, and then advising.

For years it has been known that physical and emotional illnesses heal faster when healthy social interaction surrounds the patient. Yet, in our individualistic culture, most people try to heal alone. Believers, in particular, miss the great power of Christian relationships when they live so independently and autonomously.

Nothing is worse than hurting alone. Hurting alone can take the Christian from loving God and serving others as fervently as they did before their suffering. That Christian’s confidence may waiver and negatively affect his or her work for God’s glory for months, maybe even years. Therefore, Christians need to support one another through life’s most painful experiences.

If we are the ones hurting, there is something very healing in knowing that those in our Christian Inner Circle are in close relationship with God and aware of our pain. The look on their faces communicates that they wish we didn’t have to go through the hurt. We may be hurting, but we don’t need to hurt alone.

Hurting with others that shows deep caring takes many forms. Sometimes, as when a loved one has died, mournful silence is what communicates caring and shares the dark and very sad moment. Praying silently during that time acknowledges that God is present and can help carry the grief. In less fatal times of hurting, caring can begin with empathetic comments such as, “I wish so much that you didn’t have to go through this,” or, “It hurts me to see you hurting so much.” These indicate that we are sharing pain, hurt and troubles together.

In the expanded teaching regarding this Together of hurting with one another, a detailed model for showing others that you care is explained. It involves a two-step process of showing you understand what a person is going through followed by showing you care.

Knowing that the Lord expects pain to be shared, obedient Christians should want to emotionally connect themselves to their friend’s, family member’s, or spouse’s distress. If we have no sadness to another’s hurt, we really don’t care about them in any significant way. We don’t want to even slightly resemble psychopaths who can torture and murder someone without feeling. We want to share the hurt and feel sadness inside. We want that sadness to be shown so that the hurting person does not feel so alone. God wants people cared for at the emotional level. He wants us to be sensitive to the pain of others and show it.

Like a few other Togethers, hurting with one another now when hurt exists will prepare us to more greatly rejoice in heaven. When we arrive there, we will see that there is no hurt because of the absence of sin. Hurting with other Christians now and then seeing that everyone in heaven is no longer hurting will add much more joy to our eternal experience.

Imagine someone named Katie who was terribly hurt by an unfaithful husband running off with her best friend. Now consider two of her friends, one who kept emotional distance because Katie was no longer so much fun to be around and another who took Katie’s pain and resentment in stride and stayed with her in her enduring hurt. Now in heaven, which one of these two friends will recognize Katie’s lack of emotional pain and be filled with much joy?
In heaven we should all want to experience joy at a very high level. Electronic games can help us understand developing our spirits to have more joy in heaven forever. Many of those games have levels to be achieved. Players can be glued to their PlayStation, X-Box, phone or tablet for hours working to get to a higher level. And, even if a player gets to level 500, it will not be worth much of anything in real life.

On the other hand, if we were to take the Togethers one-tenth as serious as playing those digital games, the levels achieved will last past death into forever. They will come to heaven with us. Some will be able to still progress to higher levels in heaven because sin is not involved in the development of their spirits. But many, like increased level of joy related to hurting with one another, will not be able to go to higher levels in heaven. The chance to hurt with one another is now. Now is the time to increase the level of joy that people are no longer feeling hurt in heaven.

We will experience joy at the hurt we learn is no longer in the lives of endless people when we hear the wonderful testimonies of each new group of friends from all over the world and different time periods and cultures. If we enter heaven having hurt with many others, we will not be bored during these testimonies of hurt and God’s deliverance. We will have authentic interest. Millions of such small groupings discussing God’s grace in their lives back before death will reveal many no-longer-present hurts. Those of us who stuck by hurting friends and family members will feel greater joy in hearing of the deliverance from hurt that was experienced back on the Old Earth.

If we want to achieve higher levels of joy, we can pay more attention to the hurts in people’s lives.

When we get together with those in our Christian Inner Circles, we can find out about things going wrong and not just focus on pleasant topics. When we ask what we can pray for, and this should happen whenever we have time with others, we can discover opportunities to hurt with them.

There is another special spiritual ability for heaven that hurting with one another will build. That is being available for people. Hurting with others requires being available for them. Those of us who pay attention to the hurt of others and make time for them will develop spirits more able to be available to others when necessary.

In heaven, which lasts forever, we will not be sinfully over-concerned for ourselves. But, if our spirits do not have much ability to pay attention to the lives of the other citizens of heaven, we may be a bit bored.

Often there is much that Christians can do for others, but they don’t think about that. Most of these people are not cold, uncaring people. The list of possibilities in their minds just does not include what they might do for others. Eternal life will be a whole lot more fun if our options for the day’s activities has others on the menu.

So, imagine how much richer life will be in heaven if our daily choices include participating with others in their interests. They won’t have hurts to be soothed, but we will have advanced skills in caring about people from spirits developed by various Togethers, hurting with one another being one of them. That should open up interest in doing new things with others in heaven that we otherwise would not do.

And, then there is the benefit in heaven of a closer relationship with God than if we had not hurt with other Christians. Throughout Scripture we see that God cares for those of His people who are hurting. Therefore, He will appreciate and draw closer to any of us who stick by His hurting people.

We must remember that we cannot in heaven develop spiritual joy through hurting with those who hurt, because there will be no one hurting in heaven. We will feel a little more of Jesus in us, that part of Him that hurts with others, only if we hurt with others now before we die.

Some of us don’t want anything unpleasant in our lives. We surround ourselves with those who are upbeat to be around. It is important that we help those in our Christian Inner Circles who avoid those who are hurting. Nothing good at the spiritual level can come from isolating ourselves from the hurting of other believers.

While most of us who came from painful backgrounds would like to avoid re-experiencing hurt as it occurs in others, we usually do not turn away. We see the hurt of others as needing those of us who have seen God deliver from despair. Yet, there may be some in our Christian Inner Circles who are still too fragile to see the pain of others and not spiral down in their own functioning. We need to hurt with these folks as well.

Then there are those in our Christian Inner Circles with chronic disease and pain. They know that we can do nothing to cure them or take away their physical pain. Let’s pray for them, hoping that God will heal them. But then we must let them know that we care and are sad that they suffer. They can hear it in our words. They can see it on our faces. And, they can notice that we drop around frequently to take their minds off of their disability.

Furthermore, in addition to occasional deaths and divorces, there are hundreds of little hurts that inflict our sisters and brothers in Christ regularly. Therefore, we have many opportunities every month to go through pain with others.

There are different kinds of people to stand beside in their pain. Whenever something looked forward to doesn’t pan out, there is painful disappointment. We can be disappointed with them. When the rent is raised for a single parent just getting by, there are painful adjustments to be made. We can join the single parent in her concern and then go through our Christian Inner Circle contacts to help financially if necessary.

There are people hurt by the normal events of life, such as losing a job during a recession. There are those who have been hurt by people or organizations who use power in an evil way as when very profitable companies cut hours to keep from providing benefits. Then there are those whose own behavior has brought about the hurt, as in losing a job because of poor performance. And, there are those who are hurt because the one hurting them is hurting, as a boss being insulting whose wife just asked for a divorce.

All of these hurt Christian people have a God-given right to have other believers hurt with them, even if they brought on the pain themselves. “Hurting with” does not mean rescuing a person from pain so that they do not make life corrections. We can be sad a friend lost his job while still helping him see that getting to work late every other day was the cause and has to change.
There are plenty of opportunities to hurt with one another. Let’s not avoid them. Let’s count it a privilege to be like God and worship Him by hurting with others – as He does.