Oh boy. Get excited, because this episode we get to bring back on the #20 spot for Heal’s most-listened-to episodes is one of my personal favorites. I think perhaps because he is such a cerebral theologian in his published works, I erroneously assumed he would be a somewhat reserved, intellectual scholar descending from his desk of paperwork to engage with the plebeian world of podcast interviews and hosts. Boy was I wrong! Dr. Kelly Kapic was full of energy, enthusiasm, and he blended it all together with his vast knowledge and wisdom (there’s a difference!) to make one of the most entertaining and challenging episodes yet.
You may know Dr. Kapic from his book Embodied Hope: A Theological Meditation on Pain and Suffering, published in 2017. Or you might recognize him from one of his over fifteen other books, including his most recent book, You’re Only Human: How Your Limits Reflect God’s Design and Why That’s Good News.
Not only has Dr. Kapic been a Professor of Theological Studies at Covenant College for the past twenty years, but he also has a very personal journey with the physical pain of a loved one that brings home the topic of chronic pain to a relatable level. Think of his story and his books like a combination of A Grief Observed and The Problem of Pain (both works by C.S. Lewis, but the former was written after he experienced the loss of his wife).
In 2008, Dr. Kapic’s wife was diagnosed with cancer. As he partnered with her on the journey, he says that he was “unprepared for the weight of watching, for the weight of walking beside a suffering one.” Though she eventually was declared cancer-free, debilitating pain surfaced in all four limbs, leading the Kapics to the Mayo Clinic and the diagnosis of a rare disorder called erythromelalgia, or “man on fire” syndrome. Her ever-present fatigue and daily, even hourly, pain, puts real life tissue of personal testimony on the foundational bones of the theology of suffering Dr. Kapic had. It’s this combination that I think you will find incredible as you listen to the episode.
We cover a huge breadth of topics in this interview, and I think you’ll agree with one of our listeners who reached out to us after Dr. Kapic’s interview to thank us for the tangible nature of theological concepts we talked about – this episode is well worth the listen!
Listen to learn more about:
· How when we endure suffering, we find out more of who God actually is, rather than just who we want him to be.
· Why hope cannot be seen and experienced unless pain and brokenness are acknowledged first.
· Some ‘sticky’ passages in the Bible about pain and suffering that we normally tend to shy away from.
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o “So take those imprecatory psalms. Super uncomfortable for us, right? But you have to understand they are praying against people who had stolen their kids, who had stolen their families, who had actually destroyed and killed children, all of those kinds of things, and that is exactly a total injustice, and they’re crying out, ‘God, make it right!’ And part of the surprise is sometimes by praying those things, God can absorb the anger and transform it into love. But we think, ‘Let’s just ignore it and move past.’ Right? Until you make sense of those kinds of things you can’t make sense of the death of Jesus. The death of Jesus is the fulfillment of these imprecatory psalms. The surprise, though, is that Christ takes on all the pain and suffering, all the judgment, so that we might love our enemies. It’s transformative.” – Heal Podcast Episode 89
o “Those who know the full story of redemption can experience joy even during suffering. Those who don’t know the story are left only with despair or efforts of self-improvement.” -Embodied Hope
o “To risk the affirmation of our bodies is to risk the gospel and the significance of the incarnate Son of God.” -Embodied Hope
Links from our conversation:
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