Suffering, Sorrow and Mourning


The problem of suffering has been difficult for us to understand ever since Eden. There often seems so much of it, all around us, both on a global scale (why do so many children suffer and die in the Third World? What about the Holocost and the many cases of genicide?), and on a personal level, the suffering of a parent who has lost their child to cancer or an accident, the suffering on a daily basis of some debilitating disease, or that of someone stuck in an abusive relationship. Somehow we have to make sense of it, we need to find an answer to our own question of why God, who loved the World so much He gave His only Son, would allow such suffering in his creation.

Sometimes just being witness to the suffering of a loved one can seem overwhelming, and sometimes we may feel as though we are drowning in sorrow. From our very human perspective, a lot of suffering just does not make sense, does not seem fair: why should the righteous suffer? Why should a faithful follower of the Lord lose both parent and child within a short time of each other? Why should a Sister who has spent her life devoted to serving others be struck down with a devestating disease? Does Jesus not reassure us that our Father will give us good things?

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?(Mt 7:11)

The problem of pain and suffering is not a new one, but one which concerns all of us. We find many examples in Scripture of suffering, pain, sorrow and mourning, and we are reassured that these will pass, that God will wipe away the tear from our eyes, and comfort us.

Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.(Isa 51:11)

We know those words are true, we know that one day, when our Redeemer returns, there will be no more tears, no more suffering, but still we have to come to terms with the suffering which we either see or experience, which often does not make sense to us. We may be plagued with doubts, or feel angry at the LORD that He has allowed these things to happen, we may question our faith or understanding. Often, these feelings or thoughts may increase our suffering, as we feel guilty for experiencing doubts or anger. But Christ, our mediator and saviour, knows our feelings and our weaknesses, and has compassion for us in our pain, for he too was acquainted with grief and sorrow.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.(Isa 53:3)

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.(Heb 4:15)

There is an answer to the problem of suffering, yet for each of us, it is a very personal answer. The following are some of the ways that other followers of Christ have been able to make sense of the pain, sorrow and suffering they see and experience.

Finding Spiritual Peace After The Death of a Child - reflections of a Sister after the loss of her child; from the Caribbean Pioneer.

I know the Why of Suffering - reflections of a Brother who suffered and recently died of leukemia; from the Caribbean Pioneer.

Some web pages dealing with the problem of suffering in a less personal manner:

If God exists why does He allow suffering? - an excellent article on the Unfailling Love website.

Why does God allow Suffering? The Bible Answer to Human Tragedy - the online booklet of the pamphlet by the same title.

Coping with Bereavement - from the seminar notes by the same title. Part of the Christadelphian Caregroup Victoria website.




This page was last updated June 2004