I rejoice in my sufferings! Masochist Believers?

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, .... (Col 1:24)
Is this a contradiction? Joy in pains!

A psychologist will point out that this is a mental illness. The author Paul is a masochist!

What do you think?

Can you resolve the seemingly contradiction and discover the greater truth?

The "Either-Or" Mindset
This is because of the western "either or" mindset thinking.
The two polar cannot co-exist at the same time.
Hence, for a contradiction to exist, there may malfunction - i.e. sickness.

The "Yin-Yang" Mindset
But to the Chinese mindset of yin-yang, both poles can exist at the same time.
For the common thinker, it is a matter of different degrees of yin and yang.
For the higher level thinker, yin-yang are attributes that belong to the same object or person. Hence, there is yin in yang and yang in yin as they both come from the same object. Both should exist at the same time without contradiction.

Resolving the Contradictions
To resolve such seemingly contradiction, we must think at the next level of depth or dimension. Chinese philosophy stresses on 天时 地利 人和 of timing, position(space) and harmony. The Russian Problem Solving Method TRIZ tells us the way to break contradiction is by space and time too. Movement through space over time gives us direction or purpose. We should question this then.

What are the reasons for joy?

1) The reason is "for your sake" - because you can be better, you are my joy, I willingly suffer.
We know that my suffering is temporary but your growth, your betterment, will last.
v28 shows Paul's objective ... presenting everyone mature in Christ.

2) Christ empowers me: I am not suffering alone, I have Christ within me(v27) providing me the strength (v29).

v29 is a classic and powerful truth that enables to overcome and stand no matter what....

For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.  (Col 1:29)

The greater truth: 
Joy & Suffering can co-exist and in fact in the presence of one we get to know the other better.

For a student, after studying very hard and passing the exam, we feel great joy our accomplishment.

In a bereavement, we are sad for the departure but are comforted for the better place that they went.
We learn to treasure those around us more.

After a serious sickness, we learn to appreciate life more and live better.

Even Steve Jobs said, "Death is the best invention of life". In face of death, what are the truly valuable and meaningful become clear and we are grateful to know and work for the true meaningful life where we get the joy and satisfaction.

We can share the famous Chinese words on crisis 危机 - which is a combination of danger 危 and opportunities 机. There is opportunity in any danger and there is danger in any opportunity.

There is joy in pains and in pains we can find the joy. Our
There is pain in joy as we want to share our joy with those in pains and we know that our real joy have been obtained for us through the pains of the cross that our Savor and Lord Jesus Christ.

Lim Liat (C) 4 Dec 2012

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