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May 22, 2013 | Feature | Number 11
By Barb Draper,

1. What have been your experiences of suffering, either personally or by people around you? What are the biggest challenges of dealing with long-term suffering? Have you seen someone’s identity or personality change as a result of suffering? How have relationships been affected?

2. How do Christians react when prayers for healing go unanswered? How would you respond if someone asked, “Why do I suffer?” What was Jesus’ message in the story of the man who was born blind (John 9)? Why do some sufferers become bitter while others can feel thankful for redemption?

3. Why is it so much more difficult for a congregation to respond to chronic pain than to acute situations? How can the church help prevent families dealing with chronic health issues from becoming isolated? Can you imagine someone coming to your church on a stretcher?

4. Why is it important to visit those who find it difficult to get around? Whose responsibility is it to do this visiting? Have our busy lives caused us to shift this responsibility to professionals? How can we do a better job of including those who suffer?

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