I have added an article by David Powlison from Crossway (www.crossway.org) below which I, not only found very interesting but, also highly encouraging, especially for me, seeing that the season my wife and I are going through is rather tough and challenging at the moment. I know this to be true as well for many members of our Church seeing that there are Cancer issues, death issues, job issues, health issues and just issues, issues, and more issues.
Now, I know that this may seem obvious but the Christian life is not exempt from fiery trials at all. When I was much younger, I, unfortunately, believed that whenever some sort of trial came my way, all I needed to do was jump up and down, hype myself up with faith (which by the way is not even Biblical) and tell God to make it go away. Well, that never ever worked and I am really thankful it did not otherwise I think I would be some sort of Quasi-Christian today with no real firm foundation of truth – perhaps another Benny Hinn, or likes of him, with a perverted theology and ideology of God.
In the meantime, I hope the reader is as encouraged as I am. Enjoy the read!
This article is part of the Open Letters series.
What words can I say to you when your life is hard and you are hurting? If we were face to face, I probably wouldn’t start with words at all. I would want you to talk when you are able. I want to know you, what you are going through, what it is like for you, and how you are doing. Simply being present and conveying that tears, heartache, and confusion are valid would probably be more helpful. Many wise Christians have commented that Job’s counselors did well until they opened their mouths (Job 2:11-13), and I certainly don’t think there is some magic word that will make everything better.
But when it comes time to say something, I might say this: Jesus is a most sympathetic friend, fellow sufferer, and Savior. He has walked a hard road. He has felt his own anguish and crushing pain (Isaiah 53). He understands. He is compassionate toward you. By the comfort of his presence and sympathy, he intends to draw you out and draw you to Himself.
Be honest. Don’t take any shortcuts. Let each day’s trouble be sufficient for that day.
I encourage you to go to him and speak to him. There is something about our ability to find words to express what we’re experiencing that makes a genuine difference. A wise Christian of many centuries ago said, “To open one’s heart to one’s friend—it doubles our joys and cuts our griefs in half.” I have found this to be true. Sharing a joy really does double the joy. And of course, sharing heartache never takes it all away — but there’s something about speaking to someone who truly cares about you that soothes your wounds. You are not alone.
The psalms, which are so full of heartache and so full of faith, often start with simply giving voice to the experience of suffering. As they do, it’s significant to notice that they don’t simply cry out in a scream of pain….
For further reading, please click the link below.
David Powlison (MDiv, Westminster Theological Seminary) is a teacher, a counselor, and the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation. He is also the senior editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling and the author of Seeing with New Eyes, Good & Angry, and Speaking Truth in Love.