8 Ways God Works Suffering for Our Good

It is a conviction meant to quiet our minds and encourage our hearts: In some way God has a hand in our suffering. Whatever circumstances we experience can no more arise without the hand of God than a saw can cut without the hand of the carpenter. Job in his suffering did not say, “The Lord gave and the devil took away,” but, “The Lord gave and the Lord took away.” Suffering never comes our way apart from the purpose …

Do I Really Need To Suffer?

Christians have an interesting relationship with suffering. We follow a suffering Savior who assures us that we, like him, will have to bear a cross. We suffer the consequences of living in a world stained by sin, the consequences of our own depravity, the consequences of our association with Jesus. It is no surprise, then, that Christians have created a whole body of work dedicated to suffering. Some great Christian classics and many powerful sermons explore why we suffer and …

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That Dragon, Cancer

Oh my. I had no idea. I had heard of it and even read reviews praising it and describing it as exceptional. But I didn’t know it would be this good, this powerful. I opened it up on my iPad during a long flight over the Atlantic, then sat physically transfixed and emotionally moved as it played out. It was unlike anything else I’ve ever tried or experienced. It was amazing. It’s called That Dragon, Cancer. Some say it’s a …

Gospel Weariness

Gospel weariness. It’s a little phrase I picked up from a friend when he preached at our church not too long ago. His text was James 1, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds…” As he began to preach he told of some of the difficulties his church had encountered in recent days. Most recently and most painfully, dear friends who had only one opportunity to have a child had experienced stillbirth at eight …

Simple Ways to Spark a Lukewarm Devotional Life

It happens to all of us at one time or another. There are times when we wake up eager to get into God’s Word, when our times in the Bible are an absolute joy and thrill. We hope, we wish, we pray that these times will never end. But they do. At times we wake up with no desire to open the Word. We find to our sorrow that the joy and thrill have given way to cold duty. I …

Hand in Hand, Heart Linked to Heart

My sister shared these words with me–words written by Susannah Spurgeon after the death of her husband Charles. She reflects on life together and the Lord who gives and takes away. They are sweet and precious words. I have traveled far now on life’s journey; and, having climbed one of the few remaining hills between earth and Heaven, I stand awhile on this vantage-ground, and look back across the country through which the Lord has led me. A well-defined pathway …

The Wise God and the Suffering Christian

Why do Christians suffer? Why aren’t Christians relieved from trouble, from pain, from suffering? If God is powerful and wise, why doesn’t he direct his power and wisdom toward more comfortable lives for the ones he loves and redeems? J.I. Packer helpfully addresses this in the ninth chapter of Knowing God and I have condensed the chapter down to its essence. For us to be truly wise, in the Bible sense, our intelligence and cleverness must be harnessed to a …

Every Test and Every Temptation

Life is full of difficult circumstances. Life inevitably involves circumstances that we would never have chosen on our own. Yet, the Bible assures, God does not work his grace in his people despite circumstances, but right through the middle of them. As we look at life’s difficult circumstances, we can sometimes be confused about what this thing is and what it is meant to accomplish. The Bible tells us that there are at least two categories of difficult circumstances: There …

5 Reasons to Rejoice in Persecution

When I was growing up and still living with my parents, my family supported ministries based in the USSR, and on our fridge we had a big poster covered in photographs of Russian pastors who were imprisoned or endangered because of their faith. Every night in our devotions we would pray for one of them, that God would bless and protect him. Meanwhile we lived in middle-class suburbia in Toronto. We freely told our neighbors about Jesus, we went to …

Lessons Learned Through Tears

Suffering is inevitable in this world. When we ourselves are so full of sin and are living in a world scarred by sin, it would be surprisingly only if we were escape all suffering. But there is hope. I trust you will be encouraged by this amazing bit of writing from Theodore Cuyler, drawn from God’s Light on Dark Clouds. I have noticed that the deaf often have an unusual quickness of eyesight; the blind are often gifted with an …