There is a lot of suffering in the world. Just one look at Haiti and your heart is broken. I have not posted regularly because of doing some extra work in direct correlation to Haiti relief efforts and researching various options on how people can practically help there. Haiti is not the only locale of suffering. We suffer too. And we need to know how to face suffering with our biblical worldview. That is why I think Crossway’s timing on this particular book is so “timely”:
When believers face suffering and hardships, the question they most often ask is, Why? Editors Morgan and Peterson offer biblical truths about suffering and challenge believers to promote justice in the harsh, unsure world, that we might emulate God’s grace as we minister to those who are suffering.
We all struggle with what to say to those who are suffering. Here are some things excerpted from the book which we shouldn’t say:
THINGS THAT DON’T HELP
What not to say to those who are suffering
Excerpt modified from chapter 10 by John Feinberg:
- There must be some great sin you committed; otherwise this wouldn’t be happening to you. This was the reaction of many of Job’s miserable comforters. Scripture is clear that sometimes the ungodly prosper and the righteous suffer. The truth is that in most instances we don’t really know whether someone suffers as a righteous person or as a sinner.
- Focus on the loss of things rather than on the loss of people. People could miss the opportunity to minister in times of crisis and hinder rather than helping the healing process.
- People try to comfort us by convincing us that what has happened spares us from other problems.
I know how must feel at a time like this. One problem is that it isn’t true and the sufferer knows it. Hence it sounds phony when you say it. Even if you think you know how I feel and even if the same thing happened to you, you don’t. Now, it may be, especially if something similar has happened to you, that you tell me this because you think I might be encouraged by seeing that others have suffered greatly and yet have survived it. What helps is not knowing you feel like I do, but knowing that you care.
Additional Resources to consider:
- Dr.Bob Kellemen’s – 40 Day Journey of Promise