Christian Suffering: Faith and endurance in spite of pain

There is hope in God in the face of suffering and despair.

We had a guest speaker at our church on Sunday who told a gut-wrenching story.

It wasn’t a pastor or professor or bible scholar, but an ordinary member of the congregation, who had an extraordinary story of perseverance of faith in the face of great suffering.

This young woman explained how her 13- or 14-month old fell out of a second-story window and suffered brain damage, becoming a quadriplegic in the process. The tragedy had a profound impact on herself and her marriage and it really tested her strength in the midst of such suffering.

After the eyes finally dried — the rest of the congregation’s, not her’s — and everyone started filing out of the church, I had a moment of both clarity and confusion.

What suffering have I ever endured for my faith? And if I had endured suffering, did my faith ever waver?

Suffering can take on many forms, including, but not limited to:

  • Death
  • Illness
  • Job loss
  • Home loss
  • Pain
  • Isolation
  • Betrayal
  • Gossip
  • Unfaithfulness

I guess the most suffering that I’ve endured — besides the kidney stone that left me in physical agony — has been a combination of financial hardship (in the form of heavy debt and a housing short sale), isolation (being single and alone for so long), and persecution (being scoffed at and/or ignored because of my beliefs).

But none of that was nearly as painful as the suffering that the young lady shared with our congregation on that memorable Sunday.

What suffering have you endured? Is it weighing you down? Is it causing you to look up to the skies and ask, “Why me, God?”

Don’t let this suffering bring you down, for the Bible says we will all endure such pain. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans:

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5

Pain and suffering are only temporary, but the Holy Spirit will guide us through it and give us great comfort in Jesus Christ!