Reading through 2nd Timothy again, the theme of Paul's own "suffering" and the ways that he encourages Timothy to "share in suffering" began to make sense to me in light of System Theory. In Christ, when we begin to grow and act according to his design of things rather than according to the broader system of sin and fallenness, the balance is rocked, and the whole system begins to push back against the changes that are growing. For some this looks like imprisonment, for some like betrayal, for some like attack, for some like social rejection, for some like just never quite fitting in, for some like direct challenge in the workplace, for some like abandonment by families. However this suffering is experienced, the message of 2nd Timothy stands as strong and true todays as it did when Paul first penned it: "Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted...But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed...which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2nd Timothy 3:12-15)
In the counseling room, while you warn clients that their growth will often bring about more challenges, the truth of the matter is that by maintaining their growth, they begin to change the system, and it is forced to recon with the same kind of health itself. Therefore, "share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling...which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted" (2nd Timothy 1:8-12).
*Photo from Fine Art America of Carolyn Weir's Raindrops Kinetic Mobile Sculpture