A Calvin Theological Seminary Publication by Students & Alumni
Do you love suffering?

Do you love suffering?

It’s fair to say that I don’t enjoy suffering. It makes you uncomfortable, confronts and
creates insecurities you never grasped, and forces you to come to grips with the evil in the world.

At times, our suffering reveals the necessity for retribution or reward.

Over the last ten years (but let’s be honest, 26), I have had many experiences and
seasons of suffering. For example, I’ve walked through the separation of my parents and
my dad’s death. Although this was years ago, I’m uncertain that I’ve suffered through every part.

Part of me wonders if I viewed suffering as a detour rather than a rest stop.

In each of my blog posts (I think?) I’ve mentioned that I’m reading through my Bible
plan, approaching the scriptures “differently” than before. And I’ve made the pit stop to

the book of Job. The first thing that came to mind was; “we get it; Job had a rough go.”

After the thought, I wanted to challenge myself to find a theme besides the typical “Job
suffered well” view and push it to consider the emotions intended to be conveyed and

questions that the text is trying to provoke.

With that being the foundation, I came across the first exchange between Job and

Eliphaz. What struck me was this phrase:

“Behold, this we have searched out; it is true. Hear, and know it for your good.”

~ Job 5:27

In this short bookmark for Eliphaz, I was struck with how the world reflects and engages

with suffering itself. Sometimes Christians espouse a similar idea:

Suffering is meant to be avoided at best and rushed at most.

I remember after my dad’s passing, attending the funeral and reception, and even
spending time with friends afterwards, there was a consistent bombardment of “grieve
well so you can move on.” And it’s possible that this wasn’t the exact phrasing of their

sentiments. However true that may be,

The suffering you’re feeling is just an inconvenience on the road of life.

I’m sure many don’t consider the beauty of suffering. So many people I’ve talked to,
myself included, ask, “When can I catch a break?”. When we endure suffering, grief,
loss, pain, and anything jeopardizing our comfort, we want to return to the good ol’ days.

Suffering for the Christian is joy.

One temptation we can face when Christian brothers and sisters go through hardship
and “wallow” in their suffering, we can be tempted to say, “The Bible says this is a good

thing, so get over it. It’s all a part of God’s plan.”

When we rush people’s suffering, we rob them of true joy.

Although the truth we speak may be grounded biblically and plotted out with logic and
zeal for truth, what if we are meant to feel the suffering we are enduring. To lean into the

feelings of grief and pain?

When we lean into our suffering, we move closer to the image of Jesus.

What is the “application” for us, then? As ministers of the Word (or aspiring to be), how
can we pastor a suffering parishioner well? How can we genuinely care for their soul?
How can we shepherd them further into the likeness of Christ? And how can the believer suffer well?

We can suffer well by running toward our suffering and not fleeing it.

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