Godliness Workshop teaches from biblical perspective

Charles Spurgeon says in one of his sermons, “There is not a drop of wrath in a riverful of a believer’s grief.”

This quote dives into the concept that Christ has created a purpose behind suffering. It lies in us, then, to allow Christ to work in our hearts and show us the plan he has.

The Office of Community Life at Liberty University hosted its third and final workshop of the semester during the Life and Godliness series on April 24. The series focused on providing clarity around current issues that carry cultural baggage. 

“We always try to correlate topics to address what we know is being talked about — not only by Liberty students, but also in the broader culture,” Scott Busby, associate director of Educational Programming said. “We got inspiration for this particular workshop on suffering from direct conversation with a group of RAs who said that they find students tend to struggle with this topic.”

The workshop, which was hosted by Busby and Associate Directors with CARE and Support Jonathan Ignacio and Rodney Wilkerson, focused on addressing the topic of suffering from a biblical perspective. They explained that we live in a society that is seemingly “allergic” to suffering, allowing lies about the meaning of suffering to hold fast. 

“The West isn’t equipped to deal with suffering because it doesn’t attach meaning to suffering,” Ignacio said, referencing numerous passages throughout the book of Romans to show that suffering does have a purpose.

Starting with a discussion of common lies surrounding suffering, Busby, Ignacio and Wilkerson led students through various approaches to the topic, including the role of wisdom and embracing Christ in the midst of suffering. While sharing quotes and findings from notable writers such as Spurgeon, the speakers backed up their points with biblical references, encouraging students to find truths for themselves.

Open discussion was the highlight of the session as students created an atmosphere of conversation. They discussed cultures response to suffering, various kinds of suffering seen on college campuses and more. 

“What I enjoy the most is seeing the same students come back over and over again and getting to know them,” Busby said. “Seeing students engaging in personal conversations and beginning to understand the application of their faith as a result of these sessions is an amazing thing to witness.”

While there is not one right answer to Christ’s purpose for suffering, the speakers led students through methods of beginning to gain the wisdom to understand this tough subject. 

“Wisdom is learned over time,” Wilkerson said. “There is no condensing of experience.”

Wilkerson explained that there is no way anyone can fully comprehend how to deal with suffering without experience throughout life. God works through suffering to allow people to gain the wisdom necessary to understand his purpose behind suffering in the world. This wisdom prepares Christians for good works and their future lives
in Heaven.

The Office of Community Life directed these workshops with two objectives in mind: that students will begin to instinctively turn to God’s Word with questions, and that students will understand and be comforted in the knowledge that they are embedded in the bigger story of God’s promises.

“The response to this series has been overwhelmingly positive,” Busby said. “When we’ve spoken to students about improvements we can make, the most common request is simply ‘more discussion time.’ As we are concentrating on working with big topics and limited time, we do hope to implement more open discussion time in future events.” 

Students can look forward to an extension of the Life and Godliness series in upcoming semesters; plans are in place to maintain a steady schedule with new discussion topics. In the meantime, students can stay updated with the Office of Community Life through their Instagram

Kicinski is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion

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