God Will Meet You In Your Pain

Sorrowful, Yet Always Rejoicing


There are no "ifs" about suffering in the Christian life. In some form, we have all experienced the hardship that comes with following Christ in a world marred by sin. So what does it look like to "count it all joy" in the midst of severe trial (James 1:2)? John Piper, David Platt, and Matt Chandler reflect on their own experiences of suffering in order to share how they discovered God's goodness to them throughout their pain.

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and Chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. David Platt is the President of the International Mission Board and He is the author of the New York Times Best Seller Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. Matt serves as Lead Pastor of Teaching at The Village Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and serves as the President of Acts 29, a worldwide church-planting organization.


In what ways have you personally experienced suffering? How did you respond to your circumstances? Can you identify ways in which God ministered to you during that time? If so, how?
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Matt mentioned how—in hindsight—he was able to see God's gracious work of preparing him for suffering. As you reflect on your own life, how did God prepare you to walk through the trials you have faced? How did it inform your faithfulness during those seasons? How has it changed your perspective about suffering moving forward?
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Romans 8:28 (ESV)

28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



A high view of God's sovereignty in our suffering enables us to rejoice in trial. He allows all circumstances in our lives to occur for our good, even though certain experiences may not seem beneficial in the moment. When we begin to lose control, the only thing that sustains us is the truth that God is in control at all times. He is working all things together for the good of His children, even if that good isn't clear until our entrance into glory with Him. We can rejoice in suffering because of God's promises to us in the gospel and for what awaits us in the future of eternity.

How has the truth of God's sovereignty ministered to you in your pain? Is your view of His sovereignty too small? If so, how does this affect the way you face suffering? How might a more mature understanding of God's sovereignty alter your perspective?
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2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (ESV)

17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


As a response to affliction, the Apostle Paul tells us to set our hope on the glory of eternity with Christ. How does this hope encourage you? How should it inform the way you approach trial? What difference could it make in your ability to persevere?
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John noted how our own experiences of suffering cause us to learn the truths of Scripture in a deeper manner. He specifically mentioned how the death of his mother taught him what it meant to be "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (2 Cor. 6:10). Believing in Christ does not mean that we ought to avoid the act of mourning the painful moments of life. Rather, when we trust in Him, we place our faith in a Savior who exists beyond the boundaries of our suffering, allowing us to grieve without despair. 

How do you tend to view the process of grief in your own life? Would you say you have a healthy approach to it? If not, why? What needs to change?
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As David said, it is crucial for us to view our suffering in light of eternity, but we must also realize that God delights in conquering our trials to show His power over them. In other words, there are certainly times in which God alleviates suffering on this side of eternity. Have you observed this in your own life? In someone else's experience? If so, how? In what ways could this change the way you prayerfully approach suffering in the future?
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We live in a fallen world, which means our journey through life will always be mixed with sorrow and pain even in our greatest joys. While suffering is a result of the Fall, God has not left us on our own. In Christ, He meets us in our pain, sustains us in the midst of it, and promises a future in which He will make all things new (Rev. 21:5). As you experience suffering, place your hope in your Savior and not your circumstances. Let your redeemed future supply your joy in the present.


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