5 Compelling Insights To Help You Suffer Well

Keith KettenringAncient Paths, Christian Living, The Uncommon Journey9 Comments

The night before my daughter left for college, a drunk driver rammed his truck into the wall of my church office destroying furniture, books, and other treasures. After Jenna and Rhonda drove away the next morning, I went to my bedroom and bawled like a baby. I had never been so low. So much of what I loved was gone. Yet, there are certainly far worse situations humans endure these days: from innocent people trekking hundreds of miles to escape death by ISIS to a husband painfully watching his wife succumb to the torment of cancer. Suffering is everywhere. In fact, everyone suffers in some way. How are you suffering right now?

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Suffering is a reality you can’t escape. Since that is the case, you can learn to accept the suffering that comes your way with these insights:

  • Suffering is a basic element of life. Life is always a struggle. Suffering is all around us. Moses writes, The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble…(Psalm 90.10).
  • Suffering unites you to other human beings. You relate to the suffering of others. As you help those who suffer, your lives connect. This is how you truly come alive.

Troubles are usually the brooms and shovels that smooth the road to a good man’s fortune; and many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away hunger.”  St. Basil the Great (330-379)

  • Suffering is a means to know God.  That I may know him…and the participation of his sufferings, being made like him in his death (Philippians 3.10). Suffering is the vocation of every Christian. To love Jesus Christ is to suffer as he did.

Or doest thou wish to go a way which is especially for thee, without suffering? the way unto God is a daily cross. No one can ascend unto heaven with comfort, we know where the way of comfort leads.” St. Isaac the Syrian (613-700)

  • Suffering is the path to life. Jesus did not ascend to the Father’s right hand without first being glorified through His suffering and death on the cross. In union with Christ, the Christian has the great grace to know that he or she is able to suffer, as well. Your ordinary life can be incorporated into Christ’s sufferings as you offer them up to Christ.

In place of death, God gives healing through suffering. Suffering is God’s way of healing the soul of its sinful leprosy and its death. St. Nikolai Valimirovich  (1880-1956)

  • Suffering is the cure for joylessness.  Rejoice inasmuch as you are parktakers of Christ’s sufferings: that when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy (1 Peter 4.13). Genuine Christian joy is to be discovered in sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Joy is best known in your suffering when you see Christ is suffering with you.

When suffering comes, resist the urge to make things better. Don’t try to fix anything. Sit with the suffering for there is Christ.

How are you suffering? How will you respond to your suffering in light of what you have read here? Can you share with a comment below?  

Dr. K

9 Comments on “5 Compelling Insights To Help You Suffer Well”

  1. I think these are great insights. Especially like, “No one can ascend to heaven with comfort…” from St. Isaac. That makes a lot of sense to me.


  2. This comment was great: When suffering comes, resist the urge to make things better. Don’t try to fix anything. Sit with the suffering for there is Christ.
    Going through some things right now that just require sitting…. thank you Keith!

    1. Thank you, June. My prayers are with you as you sit with your suffering and thus with Christ. Keith

  3. One can never know the testimony we can be to others when we live into the suffering of life. Nonbelievers do not have the hope of eternity where there will be no struggle or pain. As we move through the painful challenges of our lives, that speaks faith without a word uttered.

    1. Amen, Sister! How well can you speak into the reality of suffering. Blessings to you as you live Jesus Christ in your “painful challenges.” Keith

  4. Someone once asked a spiritual father what it meant in Scripture when Paul said we are to make up what is “lacking in Christ’s afflictions” ( Col 1:24). “What could be lacking?” the student asked. His answer: “Our participation in Christ’s suffering.”

    Sounds like what you are saying, Keith.

    1. Mike, you certainly know how to wield a quote. Perfect! Yes, that is what I’m saying. Sounds like a seed for another post. Thanks, Brother!

  5. My life is the average catastrophe of wretchedness and crushing disappointment, but it has absolutely forced me, even against my stubborn, will to seek Him, as there is nothing else, no hope or consolation in this world.

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