My name is Jim Street. For almost 50 years, I have served in Christian ministry in a variety of capacities from campus minister at the University of Georgia, to pastor of several churches, to professor in undergraduate college settings, to professor in a Christian seminary. As you might imagine, I have been engaged in about every aspect of Christian ministry.
Throughout those ministries, one thing has remained constant: I have come alongside many suffering people and offered whatever comfort I can. However, I confess that I never really saw into the depth of suffering, its value, and challenges, both for the suffering and those who suffer along with them, until I underwent a heart transplant in the Spring of 2019.
You might say, to riff on a Joni Mitchell song: “I’ve looked at suffering from both sides now, from give and take but still somehow, it’s sufferings illusions I recall….I really didn’t know suffering at all.”
Or to put it yet another way, because of my transplant and all that went along with that, I came to know suffering all over again for the first time.
My heart transplant was the most challenging yet spiritually transformative experience of my life. It reordered my thinking about the Triune God, the nature of the world we live in, the place of the miraculous, and, of course, my understanding of suffering itself, its central place in the story of God and our way of living, relating, and thinking as believers.
As I stand at the threshold of my 70th year of life, I intend to live my final chapter coming alongside the suffering, offering what comfort I can, and helping others to do likewise.
I intend to write about that and more here.