After going through a season of intense grief when we said, “See you in heaven” to my mother-in-love, the kinds of suffering I’ve personally been exposed to have been small things. Or perhaps I should say quieter in that I’ve downplayed their significance or secondary in that I’ve experienced the pain alongside a friend or family member. Having walked a road of intense suffering and loss so recently means my heart is rather tender toward those who are currently suffering. Sadly walking alongside someone suffering is a very actively patient role. I like doing. Even knowing that while in the midst of the most intense portion of my grief there was nothing outside of prayer anyone could do that would ease my suffering in the throes of grief I still want to ‘do’ for those I love.
I have found there are several verses and songs that do wonders for my heart while in the midst of grief and suffering and loss. But the tricky thing is, they need to be in or near my heart and mind before I encounter the seasons. It’s hard to be introduced to new resources in the midst of the fight and fog. So there’s almost this need to bolster the heart and soul in the quiet seasons so we’re ready for the suffering that will come. I think realizing that “in this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33) as spoken by Jesus is the most solid notification that none of us will escape this world unscathed.
So here are some of my tools and resources that I truly believe are gifts from Jesus, to whom I cling, when in a state of ashes, grieving, mourning or suffering.
I have really messy prayers in suffering. Typically this looks like crying out the name of Jesus. Or simply saying, “help, this is too hard.”
“In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.”
Romans 8:26 CSB
I recently went to an Ellie Holcomb concert, her words speak healing and hope over my soul.
This is one of my favorites by her, ‘He will’.
He’ll bind up the brokenhearted
Oh He will, oh He will
He’ll set captives free from darkness
Oh He will, oh He will
He’ll breathe hope into the hopeless
Help a restless soul be still
He will, He will
But let’s be honest her whole Red Sea Road album has weighty words of hope and redemption through suffering.
Shane and Shane:
Psalms and Psalms II particularly are solid. It’s basically singing scripture back to God. And these are the groaning my soul needs to walk through.
Our suffering is never without purpose. We just may not see or realize the purpose this side of heaven, and that’s a heavy weight.
Sometimes I need the real reminder that He who counts all of my tears (Psalm 56:8) is also the one who will eventually wipe away every tear (Revelation 1:4). And that all of creation is groaning (Rom 8:22-25) right now as if in labor pains. And right now it feels like the groaning of a woman laboring over the child she has miscarried because the hope is so far in the future the eager anticipation is just hard. But to also rest in the promise of Job 5:18, “For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.”
And then I have a few podcasts that just remind me that someone, somewhere in the world is always experiencing suffering, but we have a God who answered this suffering with the death of His Son on the cross. And that our eager anticipation does have a hope that will be realized.
And Weeping. (Romans 12:15)
Oftentimes tears are utterly and completely necessary.
What are your tools and resources in suffering?