Blog Posts on Suffering

It Is Well with My Soul

Marshall Segal
It Is Well with My Soul

God has given us a merciful gift in music authored in the midst of great tragedy. A song often has the power to express and comfort pain when words alone feel empty. Again and again, “It Is Well” has met and carried saints through the worst kinds of suffering, reminding us of the deep, abiding, sovereign Well at the bottom of our joy and life.

Recently, we recorded Jimmy Needham singing “It Is Well.” It’s a track from his latest album, The Hymn Sessions. At the three-minute mark of... Continue Reading

Ten Lessons from a Hospital Bed

John Piper
Ten Lessons from a Hospital Bed

Recently I spent 30 hours in the hospital. I won’t tantalize you with details, but you can tell by this blog, I’m still alive. In fact, I feel good. I received good care, a clear diagnosis, some new medication, and permission to go on with my life as usual.

Not wanting to waste this experience, I’ve been thinking about lessons learned and benefits received. Maybe, if I list some of them, you will be helped when your own time comes.

All of these are things I needed God’s help... Continue Reading

Great Losses, Severe Mercies, Tearful Joy

John Piper
Great Losses, Severe Mercies, Tearful Joy

Do you have a view of God, and his severe mercy, that is robust and biblical enough to flourish with tearful joy, under heartbreaking losses, which he ordains as discipline?

What if you thought God took your child? Or what if you thought he cancelled a dream you had had for forty years?

Not until recently did I notice the difference between God’s response to the sin of Aaron’s sons in desecrating God before Israel, and his response to the sin of Moses in a similar... Continue Reading

Seven Things That Transform Suffering

Vaneetha Rendall Demski
Seven Things That Transform Suffering

I can’t carry my plate to the table.

Last month I could do it easily. But with post-polio, things deteriorate rapidly. Every week, I face new challenges, discover things I can no longer do, give up more things I love.

The doctors told me this would happen. But as a young mother, there were other things to worry about. I assumed the real struggle would be decades away. Back then I could easily talk about it, write about it, and even philosophize about it. But now, as it’s... Continue Reading

The Wintry Soul: Four Lessons from Suffering

Jason DeRouchie
The Wintry Soul: Four Lessons from Suffering

Seasons of suffering in life are as sure as March snow flurries in Minnesota. And such climate shifts test trust, materialize maturity, and make us long for spring.

In the not so distant past, God let a blizzard of pain hit my home that drained our fuel and tried our faith. While the season of deep sorrow covered months, not years, the grief was real and the scars permanent. The suffering was part of our journey of adoption –– with one child lost, declared... Continue Reading

God Is with You in Depression

David Mathis
God Is with You in Depression

Depression is often illusive. Some dark cloud gathers and hangs overhead. You feel constantly ill at ease. Whether triggered by negative events, or some undefined cause, you know despondency when you experience it, even if you find it hard to describe.

Sometimes it’s circumstantial, but often you’re left scratching your head, wondering, Where did all the joy go?

God Is There with You

Author Randy Alcorn is no foreigner to depression. He has journeyed through dark seasons — once... Continue Reading

Looking to Christ in the Loss of a Child

Jason DeRouchie
Looking to Christ in the Loss of a Child

The loss of a child is painful, deeply painful.

Fifteen years ago, my wife and I experienced our first certain miscarriage. I was a new dad, and then, just like that, it was over. The loss was so unexpected. The ache went deep, to my soul’s core. And in the midst of my own sorrow and weeping, I was attempting to care for my grieving wife. For two years and three months, she battled with God, until her sense of his sovereignty was matched by the torrent of his love.

... Continue Reading

When Life Hurts

Michael Horton
When Life Hurts

Monks go looking for a cross, thinking that they are pleasing God by their stoic resolve. We encounter this sometimes in our own circles today, as believers often feel obliged to smile in public even if they collapse at home in private despair.

John Calvin counters, “Such a cheerfulness is not required of us as to remove all feeling of bitterness and pain.”

It is not as the Stoics of old foolishly described “the great-souled man”: one who, having cast off all human qualities, was affected... Continue Reading

When God Does the Miracle We Didn’t Ask For

Vaneetha Rendall Demski
When God Does the Miracle We Didn’t Ask For

Countless childhood surgeries. Yearlong stints in the hospital. Verbal and physical bullying from classmates. Multiple miscarriages as a young wife. The unexpected death of a child. A debilitating progressive disease. Riveting pain. Betrayal. A husband who leaves.

If it were up to me, I would have written my story differently. Not one of those phrases would be included. Each line represents something hard. Gut wrenching. Life changing.

But now, in retrospect, I... Continue Reading

Is There a Point to the Last Minutes of Suffering Before Death?

John Piper
Is There a Point to the Last Minutes of Suffering Before Death?

I’m still thinking about Ronnie Smith’s death in Libya, followed by Christians and the mainstream media alike.

Two days before he died, my mind turned, at it so often does, to the reasons for suffering. This time the thoughts were triggered by the difference between suffering that refines in this life and suffering that leads to death.

Suffering That Refines

Often, when counseling people who are walking through suffering, I lean on Bible passages... Continue Reading