We live through heart-ache to be forever joined with Christ, intimately. Sin represents a dis-jointing, a dis-fellowship; pain sobers a saint toward what is real — our humanness –our unbelief – our disablement – our depravity.

in our confrontation of reality, His true nature waxes clear, yet it comes unexpectedly. Mixed in our intensified sedation, comes His intensified compassion.

Our little faith, even abject unbelief, renders His with-abiding love most precious. Our unworthiness apparent, compassions’ fire is seen ablaze in heaven’s eyes – our conditions-filled soul is superseded by His unconditional Being. The contrast is striking.

Suffering does this:
1 delivers from idealism
2 delivers from law-following
3 delivers from our self-orientation
4 delivers from fear of death and dying
5 delivers from unbelief

Idealism says “ideas or thoughts, (in themselves), make up basic truth.” Nevertheless, “if reason, (Idealism) were to say that all its conclusions are determined by the functions of the brain; it could not conceive of anything unconditional.” i.e. God.

Old-Testament Law-following is a form of Idealism with a twist toward “realism,” opposed by Idealists. Nevertheless, Romans 5:20 straightens this out: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” This law-activity limits a full revelation of God. Distress brings things to a head.

Self-orientation is pride. Affliction helps me distrust my ‘wonderful’ self-abilities. My perception is seen as marred, my insight as mere opinion.

Fears are quelled in Painful times as I am getting acquainted with my objects of loath. Death looses oomph when seen in the light of eternity.

Finally, He did not believe in Mark 9:24 — teaches of a man in pain and fear of losing a son with a dumb spirit. “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” Desperation whittled a man to honesty.  Christ still performed the delivering.



Friends, to experience heart-ache brings joyless days, but our simple humanhood must be uncovered; and okay-ed by God. We cannot live dissatisfied with our productivity because of “idealistic standards” set for ourselves outside of God’s policy of grace.

1) Many manufacture a God whom they cannot ever satisfy. Many are not aware that God is working in a process, not always in instant gratification.

2) Many need to feel in control and so conjure up a “faith” which is hyper. Jesus called His disciples “little faiths.”

3) Many allow self-preservation to re-in-vigor the Old-heart. Self-imposed conditions of these defenses lose their imperative in the crucible. My conditions must face His unconditional heart of love.

In closing, others help us see suffering who have suffered:

“…but thine are whole; can he have followed far, who has no wound nor scar?” — last lines of “No Scar?” by Amy Carmichael

“King of Love and King of Pain, thou art here Immanuel.” Another of Carmichael’s “Hush.” She sees suffering in connection with Christ’s presence.

“What looks like revolt against God may really be not against God at all, but against the presentation being given of Him.” Chambers

“People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered, Love Them Anyway.” Mother Teresa     God does

“The veil which hides the unseen world from us is lifted for a moment in the mysterious history of Job, revealing heaven and hell occupied with God’s servants on earth.” Andrew Murray

Last of all when the baby appears the pain is forgotten. So it is with Him. We love you Lord. To know you is all.

Love Ya


Tom Sliva

Tom Sliva

Born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Pastor Sliva went to Bible college in Massachusetts at the Stevens School of the Bible in !982. He and his family moved to Baltimore in1987 to be a part of Greater Grace World Outreach. From there, he served in Prescott, Arizona, and Indianapolis, Ind. Ordained upon his return to Baltimore in 1995, Pastor Sliva was afflicted with brain cysts in the late 90's and stayed at home base until his recovery in 2002. He then assisted with ministries in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before resettling in Baltimore due to his son's sudden illness and death. Pastor Sliva is a colon cancer survivor. He has been part of the Pastoral Care Team since 2008 and leads the Grief Share group at Greater Grace Church. Read more from Pastor Sliva on his blog Healing at the Cross.
Tom Sliva

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  1. Reply
    Elizabeth Hoag says

    P.Sliva that was right on target when you said “compassions’ fire is seen ablaze in Heaven’s eyes.” It reminded me of the 1950’s and 1960’s -decades when newspapers, newsreels and t.v. were following Mother Theresa’s and David Livingstone’s lives – lives so wonderfully full of God’s presence. How beautiful it is to see precious Jesus’ bringing in His compassion’s fire into people’s furnace sufferings — there is such beautiful fruit. Whether in the streets of India, in Africa, in our own lives, our sufferings are full of His fellowship and boundless love. We need only to look at Him, not at the furnace. Mental and physical sufferings can be for the Lord’s sake. Especially beautiful is when the Lord comes in with His compassion’s fire to victims of circumstances – as in many people’s lives – because there is a great need–often desperation–a prayer whispered from the heart– and God hears all prayers.
    Thank you for your faithful service in The Faith. Elizabeth Hoag

    • Reply
      Tom Sliva says

      Thanks Elizabeth. Very encouraging words!

  2. Reply
    Marie says

    I love this piece, thanks

    • Reply
      Tom sliva says

      Thank you, Marie

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