Thoughts on Suffering

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The Epiphany

Several days ago I was reading Ana Harris’ blog post where she shared her thoughts on suffering. And how Christian songs that talk about sorrow or suffering can have the wrong perspective. You can read her post here. I love reading Ana’s blog, but this post in particular hit home really hard for me. I had never really stopped to think about the lyrics to many of the Christian songs, about sorrow or suffering. But after reading that post, I wholeheartedly agree with Ana. And I went back to the poems that I had written during trials of my own to see if they held up to my new-found scrutiny.

The Disclaimer

I will interject here that I have never endured the throes of severe chronic illness. Often times I feel like my own suffering pales in comparison to the sorrows of others. So I struggle with guilt for thinking my own problems are such a big deal. In a rational sense, they are serious, but I am always afraid of making too much of them among others who are suffering. I am hesitant to express understanding, as well, for fear I don’t actually know what real suffering is. Because maybe what I have been through would just be considered hardship to others instead of suffering.

My Experiences and Thoughts

Even so, through my experiences, I needed to cling to some sort of hope to get me through. Sometimes it was the hope that maybe there was a reason for all of it. Sometimes it was the comfort knowing that Jesus had gone through more suffering than we could ever imagine. And other times it was just the reassurance that God was with me through it all.

The poems that I wrote reflect each perspective that I was clinging to at the time. Oddly enough, my poetry during those times never reflected on the hope of heaven as the reason for joy in the midst of suffering like Ana said. The truth is, even when I was going through my own pain, I constantly wrestled with what I was taught about trials and tribulations. And I struggled to understand and grasp which theology regarding suffering was actually the right one. The one most grounded in the Bible.

I think there is a lack of Biblical teaching about suffering in general. And most of the time, the subject makes us uncomfortable and we settle for pat remarks such as “everything happens for a reason”. Or “something good will come out of it”.

But what if we suffer just because we live in a fallen, sinful world? What if there isn’t a reason other than that? What if nothing good comes out of it? We might panic if we ask ourselves those questions, because we feel more secure if there is always purpose for everything. Or if we can explain away those things. I definitely don’t have all the answers. But I can say that the hope of heaven is the strongest beacon to hold on to in the middle of it.

I think Ana Harris said it best in her blog when she wrote,

If we want people to be able to endure deep sorrow with true courage we need to give them a finish line to look forward to. A hope that is strong enough to carry them through even a lifetime of darkness. The only hope I know of that is robust enough to match the depth of our earthly sorrows is Heaven.

Poetry with My Thoughts on Suffering

The beautiful thing that I do see in my poetry is that, even when I didn’t see an end or a way out, even when everything looked hopeless, my poems always ended hopeful. With a note of triumph. It was as if I knew that just because I couldn’t see the light right then, didn’t mean that I would never reach the end of the long, dark tunnel.

I will share several of my poetic creations with you now. And I hope that they will be uplifting and encouraging to you. I’d like to encourage you to look at them through the lenses of Heaven and decide for yourself whether they meet the criteria. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

  Breaking Me and Making Me

 I am wounded, crushed, broken. I lie here quietly.
I see my Enemy, his eyes smile in victory.
He has used one to cut, to break, to pierce, to wound me.
I am down, yes; defeated, no; though I battered be.

Ah, but then his wicked eyes have turned from smile to fear.
His face pales, he vanishes as my Savior comes near.
God comes beside me, and now He wears the Victor’s smile.
He begins His work in me, comforts me all the while.

I watch my Lord as He binds my wounds so tenderly.
Then He takes the pieces of my broken heart, I see,
Puts them back together the way He wants them to be.
He seals my bleeding heart with His touch and smiles at me.

I gaze at His handiwork with a sad, teary eye.
“Couldn’t you have done that without my suff’ring?” I cry.
“No, My child; without breaking there will no making be,
And without crushing, you can’t be formed to be like Me.”

Then He pulls my sobbing frame to His comforting chest.
“Trust Me, My child, My ways and doings are always best.
When you were brought down, the Enemy thought he’d won.
But he really helped Me do the work that I’ve just done.”

He lifts me to my feet, holds me as I slowly stand.
“I won’t show you the future, but I will hold your hand.
Keep praying, trusting, loving, and walking in My Light.”
I walked with Him to the battle lines, back into the fight.

–Amber Mason (November 23, 2011)

I Waited Too

 I kneel before My Father this night; I am the Son.
I say to My Father, “Not My will, but Thine be done.”
My sweat of agony falls like blood-drops, I sorrow.
I see horrible pain awaiting Me tomorrow.

But My Father does not take this cup away from Me,
And so I wait, in dread, in prayer, knowing what will be.
I must die for the sins of the world, enduring shame,
Untold pain, torment, so all can be saved through My name.

As I waited for the coming of this much-dreaded hour,
I see the glory, My bride, bought by My blood’s power.
I want to weep as I see her own suffering, too.
I know she but glimpses of what I am going through.

In My mind’s eye, a child of Mine, suffering I see.
I know they wait for deliverance in agony.
Oh, to remind them that I also endured this wait,
That My sorrow was so much, they’ll never contemplate,

That I grieve with them, and I know, I care, I cry.
Their waiting is necessary, just like I need to die.
They can’t see the future, so leave it to Me who can.
The battering wind must come before it rains again.

Trust Me, My children, set your eyes on your Father’s face.
He will help, and strengthen, and through all, give you His grace.
I use these times of waiting for you, they are not a loss.
My own wait is done; for you I now go to the cross!

–Amber Mason (November 24, 2011)

The Mountain of Trial

 The face of the mountain, with rugged crags,
Seems to leer at me, and my spirit sags.
Halfway to the top, I’m struggling here.
I’m overwhelmed, and I blink back a tear.

The mountainside is so sharp, rough, and cruel.
I gasp, so I don’t cry, tired of this duel.
My feet are sore, my hands are streaked with blood.
I am cold, exhausted, and smeared with mud.

I grip the next handhold as the wind roars,
Tearing, stinging me with its icy stores.
I bury my head in my arm and cry.
I can’t go on, and I’m too drained to try.

This endless trial is just way too much;
Never-ending pain, or it feels like such.
I am weary of all the same old stuff.
Can’t Jesus see that I’ve just had enough?

Jesus. The thought of Him raises my head.
I look and see the steps up He has tread.
He’s waiting further up for me to come.
I thought I’d feel peace, but my heart is numb.

Not knowing what to feel, I feel nothing.
I know I can’t stay, I must do something.
The only thing to do it to go up.
But I want the end of this bitter cup.

“Press on.” And Jesus reaches out His hand.
I take it and do His gentle command.
When our fingers touched, I received His strength.
I looked to Him for the rest of the length.

As we went I took one step at a time.
Yes, I was still weary of the up-climb;
Still longing for release from this sorrow;
Still fighting dread, thinking of tomorrow.

But I was different, my focus was right:
Taking it by the moment, in His light;
Letting my spirit rest in Jesus’ love;
And setting my mind on the One above.

Then, at last we were at the mountaintop.
And He and I stood at the peak’s outcrop.
Oh, what a glorious victory won,
To see what my Lord and I had just done!

My climb was over, this pain had an end.
I looked over the way we did ascend.
Then I viewed the path that was just ahead.
More mountains? Yes, but I’ve nothing to dread.

My Infinite Friend is my all in all.
He is always there for me when I call.
In cruel hardship, in harshest weather,
I’ve nothing to fear; we go together.

–Amber Mason (April 26, 2012)

For more of my poetry, visit my Poems page at

If you want to read more on God’s view of suffering and the Biblical perspective that answers all those common questions, check out the very enlightening and encouraging, powerful book When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steve Estes.

About Post Author

Amber Goodrich

I am a sojourner and adventurer through life, with plenty of inspiring thoughts to share! My journey has taken me through the United States Army as a Medic, transitioned me to the National Guard. On the civilian side of the ride, I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, wife and mother. Most recently I have started a new chapter as a budding freelance writer with the goal of expanding my horizons to write short stories and books. I look forward to traversing this path and seeing what it has in store!
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