Suffering and the Christian

Sometimes We Don’t Get a “Why”

Oftentimes when we are suffering, we search for a “why.” Why are we, or someone we love, suffering? Why would God allow this, even direct it to happen, when He can see how much I’m hurting? These are all questions I have asked in my own life, and I’m sure some of you...

Biblical Lament: Learning What It Is and Why It’s Important to the Christian Life

Cancer. Miscarriage. Slavery. Sex trafficking. Abortion. Racial Injustice. Marital infidelity. Divorce. Job loss. Spiritual abuse. Physical abuse. Corruption. Cover-ups. Sin. Death. Have you experienced any of these issues in your life? Have you wrestled and struggled...

Death is Not a Natural Part of Life, and Your Heart Knows It

My grandfather passed away on June 5, 2020. My parents, my uncle, and I were in the hospital room with him. While listening to hymns as we watched grandpa's body slow down, my uncle asked a question few have the courage to ask, "If this is natural, why do we grieve?"...
How Suffering Reveals Your True Self

How Suffering Reveals Your True Self

Trust Issues Here’s what happens in times of suffering. When the thing you have been trusting (whether you knew it or not) is laid to waste, you don’t suffer just the loss of that thing; you also suffer the loss of the identity and security that it provided. This may...

How Suffering Crushes Our Unrealistic Expectations

How Suffering Crushes Our Unrealistic Expectations

Misplaced Expectations of Self It probably will make sense to anyone the minute I say it that unrealistic expectations of yourself will worsen your suffering. There’s a lot of spiritual pride that I carried into my suffering. I’m the gospel guy. I’m a theologian, so I...

When God’s Saving Work Causes Present Suffering

When God’s Saving Work Causes Present Suffering

When I was eleven months old, I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The doctors, at one point, told my parents my chance of recovery, of survival, was five percent. Things progressed quickly, and I was soon headed for a bone marrow transplant, preceded by...

Suffering Well in Community

Suffering Well in Community

I am most definitely not a fisherman. I subscribe to the old saying, “There is a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot.” So, maybe I am not the one to use a fishing illustration to begin. However, there is something that even I have picked...

Sighs and Tears: Imitating the Emotional Life of Jesus

Sighs and Tears: Imitating the Emotional Life of Jesus

I came to Mark 7:12 in my Bible reading today. There we are told that when enemies of Jesus came to argue with him, “he sighed deeply in his spirit.” That is worth noting. Jesus sighed deeply in his spirit; the sigh of grief and weariness; the sigh of sadness and...

Four Traps to Avoid When You Suffer

Four Traps to Avoid When You Suffer

4 Traps to Avoid When You Suffer from Crossway on Vimeo. The 2 Kinds of Doubt As I thought about my own experience, I wanted to organize my thoughts and experience for others in these two categories of traps that every sufferer faces and the comfort that is offered to...

Life, Death, and Resurrection—but First, Suffering

Life, Death, and Resurrection—but First, Suffering

About two weeks days ago, billions of Christians celebrated Easter, albeit virtually. Notwithstanding the rest of what it does, Easter reminds us of that the pattern of Jesus’ life is the pattern for Christians: that life and death—and yes, even resurrection—are...

7 Essential Things to Know about Hope

7 Essential Things to Know about Hope

The Language of Hope We constantly speak in hope language: “I hope my company does well.” “I hope he isn’t mad at me.” “I hope God really does answer prayer.” “I sure hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.’ “I hope this sickness isn’t something serious.” If you are a human...

The Importance of Lament in the Midst of COVID-19

The Importance of Lament in the Midst of COVID-19

The Importance of Lament in the Midst of COVID-19 from Crossway on Vimeo. Lament and Sadness During this time of global health crisis when COVID-19 is ravaging many parts of the world, who knows when the end is in sight? We don’t know how many people will be affected....

Suffering and the Greatness of God

Suffering and the Greatness of God

We all love to hear about a good miracle. We love to read the Gospels and see all the times Jesus healed the blind man, caused the lame to walk, or raised the dead little girl back to life. It’s exciting to see God work in such a way, and we pray for Him to continue...

Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us

Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us

Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” Suffering at the hands of other people is extremely painful. However, even when this occurs, we can know that God’s sovereignty rules over all, and that he working out his will for our...

Discipling Our Children in Their Suffering

Discipling Our Children in Their Suffering

It started out with mild inconveniences. Curious sudden rashes, red eyes, and loss of appetite. But it quickly escalated into something we couldn’t put our finger on. Our daughter was experiencing new, painful symptoms on a daily basis, and the doctors could not put...

Christian Sufferer, Your Lord Is Near

Christian Sufferer, Your Lord Is Near

Christian Sufferer- Your Lord Is Near from Crossway on Vimeo. God Is Not Far When you’re suffering, you reach for comfort. You reach for hope. You reach for some reason to get up in the morning and fight again. You reach for something that won’t make your suffering...

Help! It Feels Like God Is Far Away in My Suffering

Help! It Feels Like God Is Far Away in My Suffering

Grief with Good Theology “God, I know you’re not mean, but it feels like it today.” My wife, Sarah, and I were sitting—devastated—in the car outside our doctor’s office. My wife’s blunt prayer was all she could muster. Our prior appointment was to confirm a...

Three Words of Counsel to Sufferers

Three Words of Counsel to Sufferers

3 Words of Counsel to Sufferers from Crossway on Vimeo You’re Preaching to Yourself I think the most powerful way to be a good soldier in your own suffering, to fight the temptations that every sufferer greets, is to be aware that you’re always preaching to yourself...

A Friend Loves at All Times

A Friend Loves at All Times

I used to think that one of the best things I could do for a friend in crisis was give her some space. Maybe I never actually put it into words, but that’s what my actions often communicated. I cared about her, but I didn’t know what to say; I didn’t know if she’d...

The Bird and the Stone

The Bird and the Stone

There was a period of several years, where I cried every day.  Every quiet time, every women’s prayer meeting, every church service, driving in the car, sitting in my office, walking across campus between classes.  Suffice it to say, the subject of my sorrow was a big...

Lessons from a Pastor’s Wife on Suffering

Lessons from a Pastor’s Wife on Suffering

Last year I had the first time opportunity to attend The Gospel Coalition’s National Conference in Indianapolis with my husband. What an experience! Singing a mix of the beautiful old hymns with gospel rich newer ones in a crowd of that size brought chills of delight...

Slow to Speak

Slow to Speak

The suffering of loved ones often comes unannounced, an unwelcomed intruder bent on stealing joy and hope. Without warning, we are thrust into the role of comforter, yearning to bring peace immediately through whatever means necessary – hugs, tears, and often far too...

If Jesus Wept, We Can Too

If Jesus Wept, We Can Too

Quickly after becoming a Christian, I developed my theology of suffering. I had all the answers to the hard questions of life (or so I thought) and thought surely those answers would be all I needed to face any kind of suffering headed my way. With Romans 8:28 written...

When Suffering Makes Prayer Hard

When Suffering Makes Prayer Hard

I am not a journal-keeper. I have a collection of partially-filled journals where I tried to force myself into the habit but gave up less than halfway through. Though my journaling doesn’t happen on paper, I could fill books with the thoughts and conversations I’ve...

Praying For our Children With A Genetic Condition

Praying For our Children With A Genetic Condition

In 2013, I received a devastating phone call from a pediatric gastroenterologist diagnosing our two-year-old son with a rare and serious genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. While relieved to hear an explanation for his elevated liver enzymes...