I cannot begin to scratch the surface of suffering—the varied and valid forms that the people of God experience. In my own, comfortable first-world life, I have experienced the pain of persecution (in a small dose), the ache of endometriosis, the deep darkness of depression, the sorrow of severed relationships, and the exhaustion of unmet expectations. I’m sure you have too.

Unlike virtually every religion in the world that seduces with promises for a better life now, the Bible guarantees suffering: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim 3:11), “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22), and “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed” (1 Pet. 4:12-13).

And the Bible doesn’t shy away from the raw, human experience of suffering either. The Lament Psalms are full of cries to God that question Him and life and that cast their concerns to Him and ask Him to intervene. Did you know you could cry out to God in your sorrow and in your confusion? But those psalms often end with hope in God’s faithfulness. Consider these two examples from Psalm 10 and 13:

Why, O Lord, do You stand far away?
    Why do You hide yourself in times of trouble?
[…] Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand;
    forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God
    and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But You do see […]
O Lord, You hear the desire of the afflicted;
    You will strengthen their heart; You will incline Your ear
to do justice […].

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
[…] But I have trusted in Your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because He has dealt bountifully with me.

You can come to God with your heartache. He can handle it. In fact, He invites it: “Come to Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28), “[cast] all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Pet 5:7).

Regardless of worldview, all people suffer, but God’s people have two unique comforts: ours is a God who weeps and ours is a God who comforts. 

Ours is a God who “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief […]” and yet it was our griefs and our sorrows – and our sin – that He carried (Is. 53). His suffering heals ours. Because “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb 4: 15-16); because “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18); because although in the world we will have tribulation, we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). Suffering Christian, you are in good company. Even Jesus wept (see Heb 12:3, 2 Cor 4:7-11).

Our God who weeps defeated all sources of suffering and will one day wipe all tears (Rev 21:4). In the meantime, “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Ps. 34:19). But that deliverance isn’t always what we expect or even want. The Lord doesn’t always calm the storm, but He enables us to walk on water and when we begin to sink and call out “Lord, save me!” He immediately reaches out His hand and rescues us (Matt. 14:22-33). He doesn’t always remove the thorn in our flesh, but He gives grace and power (2 Cor. 12:7-10).  He doesn’t always answer our questions or immediately deal with injustices, but He gives us eternal perspective and glimpses of His wonder (Ps. 73, Job). He doesn’t always remove the pain, but He does work ALL things together for our good (Rom 8:28). 

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:5). The night of your sorrow may be long, years even, but joy IS coming. Because when Jesus, in unmatched agony, called out from the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” it was so that you would never be forsaken (Heb 13:5). For three days, weeping tarried. But then, Sunday came. 

If you love the Saviour, your sorrow will end. He guarantees it. So, go ahead and cry, ours is a God who weeps. But hope in our God who comforts – because with Him and because of Him, your temporary, though painful, tears will one day give way to eternal and unobstructed joy. O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free.

About the Author

Anna is a high school science and English teacher. She is currently working towards getting her counseling qualifications. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, telling them funny stories, or having deep conversations. She loves adventures, especially in beautiful places. In terms of ministry, she has a passion for youth and missions, waiting for the day when there are no more unreached people groups; she also longs to see the abolition of human trafficking.