To not suffer one must know God inside. One must know one's Self first and then begin to see the divine basis of Creation first in ones dear ones and then in the world around. Jesus if He was God could not have suffered. That is his example to us and his message to us. Get out of suffering. It is a waste of time.
I would say the opposite. Jesus plainly did suffer, and if we see Jesus as representing the heart of God that means that God suffers too.
Suffering is an abomination and a tradition that doesn't need to be continued. It certainly should not be associated with God. Compassion dictates that we remove the source of suffering which is ignorance.
No one wants suffering for the sake of suffering. That would be silly. But sacrifice for the sake of love is often necessary. I would rather do what is right and suffer for it, than to live without suffering and thereby close my eyes to injustice.
Some suffering is undoubtedly god's design in that it acts as a comet cleanser and has an abrasive action on the ring around the Heart.
Does good result from suffering? Sometimes. But when John the Baptist was beheaded Jesus did not talk about how a great thing will come because of this, or how God will be glorified, he just went out to be alone and cry.
Suffering may not be the best focus for your discussion but compassion.... The word compassion means, "to suffer with" To be compassionate is to be fully immersed in the human condition. That's what God does in Jesus and invites us to do the same....
The second Noble Truth then addresses the cause of suffering: impermanence. There is nothing that is permanent or eternal. Obviously, Christians and other theists would disagree, arguing that God is eternal, but that's a different discussion. So, the reason that we suffer is because we want the pleasurable things we experience to last forever, but they don't. We want that buzz from falling in love to never fade, but it inevitably does. We don't want to face the reality that our bodies will cease to function and that we will eventually die, but we do. However, on a more positive note, this also means that suffering is impermanent. That agony of breaking a bone will go away. That hurt from the loss of a loved one will fade. However, it is not any of these experiences that cause us to suffer; it is our mind that does so because we want the good to last forever.
I once heard a person who had returned from a near death experience say that while dead she was taken to a place and shown that we all choose our next life according to what we need to learn to become a better spiritual being. Maybe that means we might choose a life where we may suffer in order to gain the knowledge and understanding that suffering may bring.
I will say again that I believe suffering is an occasion for one to draw near to The One who drew near to us, who willingly took on for Himself all things that come between us and the Father, our source of life, Life itself.
Christ's greatest teaching is that He came to serve out of love, not only for us, but for His Father, and in turn, we also are to serve and love. Suffering produces this aspect in humanity, for who can empathize and love another without having suffered the tortures of egoism and selfish desire, as well as many other forms of suffering.
How can we have a way of encountering suffering that does not blame the victim and is not fatalistic or patronizing or escapist, but compassionate and healing. My hunch to all of this is that Jesus saw lots of suffering all around him, he was not naive and did not tell people to accept it and wait for heaven.... He did something about it. He saw suffering, but he saw something more: He saw beyond the empty faces and really loved those people who are often hard to love because they are so dead inside that all they do is hurt everything that touches them....
What I want is to figure out how to see what he saw. There is real power in that. He changed history and changed lives. He liberated people from the chains of oppression and oppressing. He found a way to participate with God and transform suffering so that what came was light and liberation and love.
...I believe it is very important to understand Who God is when attempting to understand suffering. Since we all will suffer, what is the reason for it? and when I understand its reason, I can arrive at the how of it, how to endure, go through and remain sane, in spite of it.
I have often mused, as I grow older, upon the reasons for pain and suffering, and why, as time passes, all the gifts of youth are slowly removed from us--speed, agility, swift recovery from illness and injury, sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch--and I have only this to offer: it is to learn. Learn how to appreciate, learn how to be grateful, learn how to properly use the strength given to us, or perhaps to redirect our energies to the eternal, rather than to the finite.
A little spiritual algebra on the topic of suffering - three equations for your contemplation, where unconsciousness means varying degrees of low awareness or erroneous thought:
Suffering = Pain X Resistance X Unconsciousness
Suffering = Pleasure X craving (grasping) X Unconsciousness
Purification = Pain (or pleasure) X equanimity X Awareness
Plug in any arbitrary value units into the right side of the equation, and notice what happens to the units of suffering.
Note, pain and suffering are NOT the same thing.
Note, when craving or resistance are absent, there is no suffering, no matter how much pain or threat of loss is present.
Well said Rainsiren,
Suffering = effects of wrong understanding
Suffering = wrong action and bad consequences
Purification = a better life if you are patient and have hope.
Suffering seems overrated in Christian life.
The only area of suffering for us all as brothers and sisters is that......what we have been taught to consider as the "I", an entity that can be created or destroyed, damned or saved is the great illusion.... The drink that quenches all thirst is in awareness and dis-manteling the wall of the "I".