In Part I and Part II of Thoughts on Suffering, I have discussed some of the reasons why God allows us to suffer. Of course, the details vary, but the primary concept is that suffering can bring glory to God. Nothing else matters.
I would like to go over some ideas on dealing with suffering. This is meant to be a simple and yet practical post on how we cope when times are tough.
- Search Scripture. Find comfort in the words of Jesus and understand that He was a man and acquainted with sorrow. Search through the countless Biblical stories of those that suffered: Ruth, Job, and Paul are amongst others.
- Pray. Depression can make us feel like drawing back from the Lord, but it can also be a springboard towards closer fellowship with Him. Use it as a time to draw near to the throne of grace.
- Seek counsel. Talk to a trusted friend, family member, or church leader. Be selective in seeking counsel- it is not always wise to pour out your heart to every person that will listen. Seek the wisdom of one or two Godly counselors who can provide a listening ear and Biblical direction.
- Journal. Document the seasons in life that are trying in order to reflect on them in the future. Getting thoughts on paper can be very healing and also provide a reminder of God’s faithfulness in the storm.
- Preach the truth to yourself. Suffering is for a purpose- and it is an eternal purpose. Let it have its work in you. Do not run from it, but allow yourself to be molded by challenges. Remind yourself of truth about God and His nature.
- Repeat steps one through four.
3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Suffering: Part III”
I like this list. How often we forget to search Scripture and think we are the first to ever suffer through a particular problem.
As someone who’s lived with chronic rheumatic conditions for the past 15 years, disabled, semi housebound, and is considered to be “suffering” with the same, I have to say I’m hugely blessed in that the Lord has granted me a positive outlook on my life. He has taught me so many things through my “suffering”, I’m able to say honestly, that I’m much happier disabled than I ever was able bodied, if only because the past 15 years has seen me start a charity for people with one of my conditions, get involved in lots of voluntary work, help more people than I could ever have imagined, be unselfish for at least part of the time, and meet more people worldwide than would have ever been possible otherwise. He has also taught me to listen to Him more carefully, put Him first and not doctors, and discover what the term “Grace” really means when applied to this aspect of my life. Finally, it has taught me to be patient, and forebearing, and to not judge others, as I have been judged by many and found wanting (most of my conditions are hidden and pain is sugjective, so because I look well everyone assumes therefore I am well!).
I also maintain suffering is relative – you can never say that someone else’s suffering must be worse than yours, because everyone deals with their burdens and trials differently, so my pain, is not your pain, is not someone else’s pain. God truly does give each their own burden that only they could carry.
Blessings, TKR 🙂
Thank you for your post on dealing with suffering; I too am writing a series on dealing with suffering. I appreciate the practicality of your suggestions.