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The unique process of learning to suffer well online.

On October 21, 2016, I saw this short lament on my Facebook page:

Such an agonizing marathon, this living with my wife’s dementia. I wrote a whole manuscript on it, but that cannot begin to explain what my wife and I are feeling, each in such different and tormenting ways. Tears tell stories that only one can hear.

I wrote this post, just as I have written so many other laments about Rebecca Merrill Groothuis’s descent into deeper and darker dimensions of dementia. The manuscript I mentioned is a forthcoming book called Walking Through Twilight: A Wife’s Illness and a Philosopher’s Lament(InterVarsity Press, 2017).

While I have been critical of how the internet can depersonalize and cheapen human communication, I have found that it may be—at its best—a safe and edifying place for sharing suffering and hope. Here, as everywhere, we should live well before others so that God will be glorified and shalom will be spread locally and globally.

Christians should aspire to do all things well, to be virtuous through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and according to the Holy Scriptures. This includes suffering in various settings. Jesus Christ did all things well, and he is our model. He was also “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3, ESV). The Lamb of God suffered much, even before the matchless suffering of the Cross. He endured and lamented his sometimes clueless disciples; he often endured religious leaders whose hearts and words were darkened; he faced and conquered the temptations of the Devil himself. At the tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus was outraged at death but then wept with the grieving—before raising the dead man to life. Of course, Jesus suffered …

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