We experience daily hardships in motherhood that weigh on us—difficult decisions, potty training, sleeplessness, and more. But sometimes we experience deeper, more profound suffering that makes us cry out, “Why God?” In this episode, Emily and Laura offer gospel encouragement for those in the midst of deep suffering. Suffering is different for everyone, but scripture offers unshakeable hope in every situation. Since God didn’t excuse himself from suffering, one day—through Christ—our suffering will give way to joy.
Articles, Resources and Related Content:
“When Suffering Falls on Our Children” - Sarah Walton
“Seeing Beyond the Suffering” - Trevin Wax
“8 Reasons to Cling to Scripture in Suffering” - Kristen Wetherell
“Why You’re Suffering” - Charles Spurgeon
“Suffering in Community” - Wendy Alsup
God’s Grace in Your Suffering - David Powlison
Suffering - Paul David Tripp
Holding Onto Hope - Nancy Guthrie
A Path Through Suffering - Elisabeth Elliot
The Problem of Pain - C.S. Lewis
A Grief Observed - C.S. Lewis
When the Darkness Will Not Lift - John Piper
The Scars That Have Shaped Me - Vaneetha Rendall Risner
Hope When It Hurts - Kristen Wetherell & Sarah Walton
Sing a New Song - Lydia Brownback
“Though You Slay Me” - Shane & Shane
“Psalm 126” - Bifrost Arts & Molly Parden
“Satisfied in You” - The Sing Team
“How Firm a Foundation” - Norton Hall Band
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We’re all going to face suffering at some point, and the best thing to prepare for it is to form a theology of suffering. Our world is broken and we’re impacted by our sin and the sin of others, but God doesn’t leave us without hope in the midst of deep pain. Instead, he offers us himself—an ever-faithful and ever-loving Father who promises to work all things together for eternal joy. While there are many seasons in which we can’t imagine how God could do this, it’s important we cling to his promises. He’s faithful to his plans and his people.
Think of a time when you’ve experienced deep suffering. What did you believe about God? Is God good? Is God trustworthy? What did you believe about yourself? Do I deserve this? Does God not love me? What did you believe about your suffering? Is there a point? Will this never end? Try to pinpoint your underlying beliefs about God, self, and your situation. Are they true?
It’s really normal to ask the question, Why is this happening to me? Suffering is complicated and multi-layered, but we know it’s rooted in the fall. How does living in a broken world guarantee we’ll suffer? What are some biblical explanations for our suffering?
Christ knows suffering. He entered into suffering on our behalf, taking on human flesh and suffering until death so he could empathize with us in all things. He now serves as our great High Priest who understands our weakness and never shames us in our suffering. How does Christ’s victory over sin secure your future hope beyond your suffering? How is this a present comfort?
Sometimes it seems like God is removed from our situations and our suffering. But God sent his own Son to die on our behalf; Jesus was called a man of sorrows, a man deeply acquainted with grief. God went before us in suffering, so he could, through Christ, sustain us and use our suffering for our good. How does the gospel shape suffering? How is God our perfect comforter and peace?
There’s a future hope for those who love God. We’ll one day be with him forever, and there will be no more tears, pain, or brokenness. While eternity can feel far away in the midst of suffering, we can find and be encouragement in our local church body. How can you reach out to others for support and godly counsel? How can you help serve others who may be suffering?