How to Respond in Suffering

Expressing one’s true feelings is not a lack of faith.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”John 16:33

Pain, suffering and hardships are normal ingredients of life. What we mix them with—fear or faith– makes all the difference. Jesus did not come to make us escapists but over-comers. How?

1. Honestly express your feelings.

Job exclaimed, “Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me… My harp is tuned to mourning and my flute to the sound of wailingJob 30:26-31.

King David wrote, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” Psalm 22:1.

Jesus said, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour?  No, it was for this very reason I came to this hourJohn 12:27.

Expressing one’s true feelings is not a lack of faith. It’s being real, and you must be willing to face reality before you can expect to overcome it. Like King David, who wrote many of the psalms, I find it therapeutic to write my feelings down in a journal. It makes the situation more real and valid. It also helps to talk to someone, but choose carefully whom you confide in.

2. Don’t suffer more than necessary by indulging in self-pity and bitterness. Some people get stuck in what if. If only. I should have. It isn’t necessarily our pain that causes us to suffer so acutely but our tendency to put ourselves down, to view pain or tragedy as punishment, failure, or proof of our inherent worthlessness.

I’ve seen people get stuck in a painful experience that happened sixty years ago. They talk about it as if it happened last week. People who won’t let go of the past are not able to enjoy the present.  They suffer more than God intended.

3. Don’t spend time and energy on asking why.  It’s not nearly as important to know the why in life, as it is to know the Who of life. Knowing God as a benevolent Sovereign who controls the events in my life gives me peace of mind. I can safely leave my why with Him and concentrate on the now what? Now that this thing has happened, what can I do to make it better? How can I help to bring some relief to those who are suffering? I can’t do anything about the why, but I can do something about the what. And that’s where I want to put my energies.

“Be still and know that I am God…The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”  Psalm 46:10, 11

By Helen Lescheid
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•  Life Can Bring Joy out of Sorrow by Norma Becker
•  Fully Surrender to the Lord
•  Salvation Explained

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