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"Affliction is a Treasure"

In the same paragraph as his famous line, "No man is an island, entire of itself," John Dunne wrote a startling truth not nearly as popular in our hedonistic, narcissistic society as those first few words.

The context is Dunne, lying in bed with what he thinks is the bubonic plague, thinking he's going to die and questioning God as to why this had befallen him so soon after accepting the very prestigious position of dean of St. Paul's Cathedral in London and thus able to do so much more for God. Why, God? he asks. When he hears the church bells announcing another death in the community, he thinks they are for him. They're for his neighbour instead, but suddenly he has a revelation: The man's death is as much a part of Dunne as of the man himself because we are all connected. When one suffers, we all suffer--something Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 12:26, "If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it." (NIV) Dunne goes on to talk about how this idea is not asking for or begging for misery and yet...
...it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.*
Affliction, suffering, misery a treasure? Not a popular concept and yet so very true--if we allow it and embrace it, if we choose to seek God in the midst of it.

What has your attitude been toward affliction?


*as quoted in Connecting with God: A Spiritual Formation Guide by Renovaré

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About the Author

DEBBIE HAUGHLAND CHAN
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA

I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

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Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at debbiehaughland@gmail.com or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
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I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …