In October 2014 we hosted A VP3 Gathering in Banff, Alberta and addressed the topic of “Walking with God and Others through Pain and Suffering.” Scott Shaum (Barnabas International) cultivated a deeply meaningful conversation about God’s person, character and shaping work, our life experiences, and our deep desire to walk well with others through darker times. We so appreciated the time together that when we got back to Sioux Falls we immediately began to talk about how we might offer this same gathering somewhere in the States in the near future. This April, the weekend after Easter, we will be hosting this same VP3 Gathering in the greater Chicago area.
Walking with God and Others through Pain and Suffering
April 21-23, 2017
Cedar Lake, Indiana
Little did we know when we calendared this retreat, the meaning it would hold for us and the greater VP3 community. Personally it has been an utterly heart-breaking and stretching 5+ months since Randy’s passing, but also a profoundly meaningful time as well. The Lord’s dependability has been over overwhelming.
I am more aware now than ever that growth in Christ is never a simple, straight line from infancy to maturity. Finishing well as a person is a beautiful thing, but it is not an inevitability. There are many barriers and obstacles and dynamics in the world that seek to derail, distract, and discourage us from a well-lived life of “seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). If we are to persist at living well with the Lord and others, then we must bring to the table our best thinking and praying about living wisely and faithfully amidst great difficulties.
And we need one another along the way. In this regard Scott Shaum, who will be facilitating the gathering, writes,
If I were to simply seek to help the person find a solution to his or her pain as quickly as possible, I might just be undermining the redemptive work God wants to do through a time of patient endurance. Thus, in the presence of one who is experiencing difficulties of any severity, a care provider’s primary response is not one of facilitating a remedy for the problems at hand, but rather that of being a journey mate through personal hardship as God’s redemptive purposes are explored. There is no greater gift we can give someone suffering than our simple, abiding, enduring presence.
[Scott Shaum, “Reflections on A Theology of Suffering” in Trauma and Resilience: A Handbook, 18-19.]
Pam Edwards and I will be hosting the time in Cedar Lake. We would love for you to join us. Take a look on our website page of the Gathering in order to register or simply get a better sense of the details.
Whether you are walking through a season of suffering yourself or you are serving others who are facing such difficulties, you will find this gathering meaningful and life giving. And whether you have any experiences with the VP3 Pathway of processes or not, you are welcome to join us. It is open to everyone and actually a great introduction to what we care about as a ministry.