Suffering Christians Encouragement for those who are hurting


Pastor Matt Chandler on Suffering Well

Pastor says cancer gives him chance to suffer well

I thought 'suffering well' was a term I made up but nothing in this world is new.


Quote on Suffering

Jesus: “Some of you they will put to death. . . . But not a hair of your head will perish.”

For decades, this verse has challenged me personally. Derek Kidner in his commentaries often refers to it. It shows that modern people have a view of happiness that is defined as a life that is going well, when often the Bible defines happiness as a life that is lived well. One ounce of sin can harm us more than ten tons of suffering, because sin ruins our soul, while suffering (if handled well) only makes us more Christ-like and joyful. So Jesus is essentially saying, “I won’t keep you from suffering, but I’ll keep you in suffering so you can triumph over it.”

--Tim Keller

See more context at Justin Taylor's blog.

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Comfort In Knowing Others Are Suffering Too

That's a strange sounding subject line.

I suffer from very bad dreams every night. I used to have night terrors every night which are beyond description if you haven't had them. An antidepressant has helped just enough so that I don't wake up with my heart pounding out of my chest.

I have tried everything physically, medically (medications, sleep study that God provided the means for etc.), dietary (almost), psychological, spiritual (I still pray about them every night as long as I remember to) and they still persist every night. I had never met anyone with quite this problem or even read about anyone online.

I was reading a message board on fibromyalgia that I frequent and someone explained their sleep and dream life and how it affects them everyday. It was my exact story. Then a whole page of people said it was their story too! I knew that fibromyalgia (somewhat synonymous with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which I can't be sure is an official diagnosis for me because of other conditions, but it's probable) causes bad sleep but I didn't know that so many had it this bad.

Somehow this is comforting. Partly because I know there may be a cause, even though nobody really knows much about fibro, and partly because I know I'm not being beat up in an unusual way.

The Bible comforts us in this way too. After reading that message board I immediately thought of 1 Peter 5:8-9: "Be sober! Be on the alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. 9 Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world." (HCSB)

As far as resisting Satan, I found Thomas Shreiner's comments in his commentary on 1 Peter pertaining to these verses helpful:

[R]esisting the devil means that believers remain firm in their faith, that is, in their trust in God. Believers triumph over the devil as they continue to trust God, believing that he truly cares for them and will sustain them until the end. Perseverance until the last day is accomplished from first to last by faith.

--Thomas Schreiner, 1,2 Peter, Jude NAC, pg 243

James 4:7-8a HCSB
Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.

I know that the context of the audience of 1 Peter was mainly persecution but I think it would apply to all suffering.

These things don't make my dreams any better but they do provide some comfort and I can know that I'm not being 'singled out' in a unique way and that God will grow me stronger because of it.

I can just imagine all the things that so many people are going through and feel completely alone whether it's something major or a nagging problem that someone can't seem to get rid of. This may be comforting and also encourage people to find others with similar problems.

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R.C. Sproul on suffering, aging, and dying

Interview with R.C. Sproul on His Latest Book - Part 1
Interview with R.C. Sproul on His Latest Book - Part 2

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Jim Harrell, Perspectives in Suffering

If you benefit from stories of how God uses suffering, here are three posts with three videos on Randy Alcorn's blog. Jim Harrell is mentioned in his book If God is Good.

Randy Alcorn tells us that Jim Harrell died recently.

Jim Harrell, Perspectives in Suffering, part 1
Jim Harrell, Perspectives in Suffering, Part 2
Jim Harrell, Perspectives in Suffering, Part 3

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Making Sense of Suffering Conference in Florida

In case anyone from Florida is interested in this I thought I would post it. I'm not sure if it will be available online or not.

Making Sense of Suffering
(Not to be confused with the book by Peter Kreeft)

Join R.C. Sproul and Derek Thomas on January 22-23, 2010, at Saint Andrew's in Sanford, Fla., as they discuss suffering and the sovereignty of God.

There is an excerpt from a previous conference on that page.

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Listen To The Invisible Hand: 2004 Seattle Conference Online

The Invisible Hand: 2004 Seattle Conference

You may listen to this entire Conference online for free.


  1. Introduction/ Questions and Answers #1
  2. The Meaning of Providence
  3. The Doctrine of Concurrence
  4. Providence and Evil
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Good Columns at daveblackonline

Dave's wife Becky Lynn Black is dealing with cancer and has written quite a bit (along with Dave) about cancer and suffering.

The main page to look for articles is here:

Some examples would be:
God Didn’t Make Me to Suffer!
God Didn't Make Me to Suffer! (Part 2)
God Didn't Make Me to Suffer! (Part 3)

There is a lot to explore there.

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Charles Spurgeon on Worrying

A Word for Worriers at Between Two Worlds

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Counseling Site

"The Counseling Solutions Group is a worldwide non-profit organization helping people who are in situational difficulties. This is accomplished by using Christian principles to train leaders to competently counsel as well as by providing practical and compassionate counseling to individuals in need."

This site has a lot of good articles.

Counseling Solutions


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Book To Look For In 2010

Click for info

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If only being a Christian was pain free

A serious post at Stuff Christians Like:
#547. Wishing being a Christian meant a pain free life.

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Prayer – Grace in Trials

This is a Puritan prayer from the book Valley of Vision. This was the prayer for November 23, 2009 at Banner of Truth at the Daily Devotion link. You can find others at the Scripture Zealot blog.

Grace in Trials

Life-Giving God,

Quicken me to call upon thy name,

for my mind is ignorant,

my thoughts vagrant,

my affections earthly,

my heart unbelieving,

and only thy Spirit can help my infirmities.

I approach thee as Father and Friend,

my portion for ever,

my exceeding joy,

my strength of heart.

I believe in thee as the God of nature,

the ordainer of providence,

the sender of Jesus my Saviour.

My guilty fears discourage an approach to thee,

but I praise thee for the blessed news

that Jesus reconciles thee to me.

May the truth that is in him

illuminate in me all that is dark,

establish in me all that is wavering,

comfort in me all that is wretched,

accomplish in me all that is of thy goodness,

and glorify in me the name of Jesus.

I pass through a vale of tears

but bless thee for the opening gate of glory

at its end.

Enable me to realize as mine the better,

heavenly country.

Prepare me for every part of my pilgrimage.

Uphold my steps by thy Word.

Let no iniquity dominate me.

Teach me that Christ cannot be the way

if I am the end,

that he cannot be Redeemer

if I am my own saviour,

that there can be no true union with him

while the creature has my heart,

that faith accepts him as Redeemer and Lord

or not at all.

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A Young Man’s Testimony to Suffering

You can find this article at The Works of God blog.

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CT Interviews Steven Curtis Chapman

Rising from the Valley of Death
Steven Curtis Chapman opens up about losing his daughter, their family's arduous journey, and a new album of songs chronicling the path of pain and hope.

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Hope For Heaven

For the Christian, death is not the end of adventure but a doorway to a world where dreams and adventures forever expand. No matter how bad the present, an eternity with Christ in Heaven will be incomparably better. So if God thinks the whole thing is worth it—and we know it will be worth it to us once we reach Heaven—then why not affirm by faith, even in the midst of suffering, that it’s worth it now?

--Randy Alcorn via Facebook

The key to this for me is "by faith". In the middle of the worst of it, I just want out. Hope for heaven isn't really any comfort. But I just have to believe that it really will have been worth it even though I can't fathom it right now.

Romans 8:18

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The Suffering God

The fact that the second member of the triune God suffered unimaginable torture on the cross should explode any notion that God lacks feelings. In the suffering of Jesus, God himself suffered. No one who grasps this truth can say, “God doesn’t understand my suffering.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a Nazi prison camp, “Only the suffering God can help.”

--Randy Alcorn via Facebook

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Book Review: Deserted by God?

Book Review: Deserted by God? by Sinclair Ferguson

Whether you struggle with guilt over sins in your past, feelings of abandonment and betrayal, physical illness or affliction, bereavement, unfulfilled dreams, or any other similar problem, you will probably find a chapter that speaks directly to you.

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Anti-Depressants Can Be Gift From God

With all the talk of how much anti-depressants are over-prescribed, I would imagine that a lot of Christians who are taking them may feel some guilt. Read what John Piper has to say:
What's Your Take on Christians Using Antidepressants?

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God's Purposes In Our Troubles

J.I. Packer on God’s Purposes in Our Troubles

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