Pain and Suffering: The Christian Response
For some of us on the journey of faith, worshipping God is often associated with joy and celebration. However, what about worshipping in pain and suffering? Can praise and worship find a place in the midst of trials and tribulations? I wrote a book titled ‘Worshipping in Pain’ to address these questions. This article highlights a few of my thoughts which are expounded on in the book.
The Problem of Pain and Suffering
For many, the problem of pain and suffering is a stumbling block in their faith journey. They question how a loving and all-powerful God could allow such hardships. The age-old question of why bad things happen to good people is asked over and over. Yet, the Christian perspective on suffering is comforting. It recognizes that pain is a part of the human experience, and it serves as a catalyst for spiritual growth and transformation if faced with a certain attitude – a heart of worship.
Suffering in the Bible
The Bible doesn’t shy away from addressing the reality of pain and suffering in the world. The biblical view of suffering acknowledges human suffering as an integral part of the human experience, tracing it back to the Fall. From the trials faced by Job to the persecution endured by early Christians, the scriptures are replete with accounts of individuals navigating the depths of pain and adversity. Jesus Himself made it clear that in this world there will be tribulations (John 16:33).
While suffering may seem senseless and unbearable, the scriptures present a perspective that points to a redemptive purpose behind human pain. Romans 8:28 asserts, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” This verse reminds us that even in our most trying moments, God is working behind the scenes, weaving a tapestry of purpose and redemption.
Books About Pain and Suffering
There are several books about pain and suffering as a Christian, and I’d like to recommend a few. C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Problem of Pain’ offers profound insights into the theological complexities surrounding suffering, while Philip Yancey’s ‘Where Is God When It Hurts?’ provides a compassionate exploration of the realities of pain. Timothy Keller’s ‘Walking with God through Pain and Suffering’ is theologically rich and philosophically informed, yet accessible and filled with practical wisdom. These works serve as valuable resources for those seeking to understand the intersection of faith and suffering.
Giving Thanks and Praising God in Challenging Times
One of the most challenging passages on our attitude to life is found in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, where we are encouraged to “give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” This verse reveals a powerful truth: even in the darkest moments of our lives, there is an invitation to give thanks to God. In the midst of pain and suffering, the act of giving thanks and praising God takes on a new level of significance. Thanking, praising, and worshipping in pain becomes an act of trust, a declaration of faith that acknowledges God’s sovereignty even when circumstances seem dire. This act of worship not only draws us closer to God but also invites His presence to permeate every aspect of our lives.
The True Worshipper
What does it mean to be a true worshipper? Jesus, in his discourse with the Samaritan woman (John 4:1-24), emphasized the importance of worshipping “in spirit and in truth”. This speaks to a worship that transcends external circumstances and emanates from the depth of one’s soul. The true worshipper will worship God in spirit and in truth and has a heart that remains steadfast in praise and thanksgiving, regardless of circumstances.
My Book: Worshipping in Pain
I wrote a book that looks at both Christian suffering and the heart of worship. Worshipping in pain is a profound expression of faith that transcends the boundaries of circumstance. It is a declaration that our trust in God goes beyond moments of ease and comfort, reaching into the depths of suffering. This book tries to help the reader understand suffering as a Christian. I examine scriptures on suffering, and explore how we are to relate with God – how we can still offer Him true worship, praise and thanksgiving – when we’re in pain.
I also go beyond the theory of giving thanks, praising, and worshipping in pain to share some of my own experiences and those of friends of mine.
My hope is that you will get the book and discover a faith that stands unshaken amidst the storms of life.