Making sense of things and the suffering it brings


Ever had the experience of having your brain work overtime to try to make sense of some action, something done to you?

Some things make no sense and we know it–things like the premature death of a single parent, a genocide, impulsive choices that make matters much worse, etc. Yet our minds keep trying to figure it out. Why? How come? What does it mean? If only I could understand what God was up to then I could…

Sometimes, trying to understand the incomprehensible compounds and adds to our present sufferings.

We then tend to respond in one of three ways, (a) give up and stop functioning, or (b) develop antiseptic conclusions (e.g., God is going to use this to bless me later), or (c) put our heads down, ignore the pain and do the thing in front of us.

Response b may in fact be true but often it is used to help the person dissociate from the incomprehensible in a way to keep living and moving.

What do you find most helpful when dealing with an unsuccessful attempt to make sense out of suffering? How do you avoid giving in to ruminations about unanswerable angsts or hopelessness or its opposite, baseless optimism that denies the present reality?

4 Comments

Filed under christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, suffering, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Making sense of things and the suffering it brings

  1. Reading Osho explains suffering. Meditation works!

  2. Louie Buses

    I don’t know what satisfies the question any better than Ro 8.18f. This passage speaks to our suffering, our weakness, our groaning beyond words (and understanding). It then draws us into the protective arms of God and the future glory of those who trust. Indeed the issue that is addressed in your question is trust. Do we trust the perfect God to do right even though we may never understand what He is doing. He owes us no explanation. We owe Him total trust and allegiance. [We are Job.]

  3. Lament, lament, lament. I protest and cry and sigh and ache until I get to the place where I can rest more easily in the realities that are. I lament to God and to friends I’m close to. I cry out in pain and cry out with questions, like David, Isaiah and Jeremiah did, at various times (sometimes I quote them, like when Jeremiah said–loose paraphrase alert–that God’s help sometimes seem as uncertain as a seasonal brook), and then, similar to Habakkuk, I affirm that this God to whom I’m crying out is the one I am also continuing to trust and rejoice in.

    I actually do give in to the ruminations and the helplessness, and then, right there in the murk, facing what seems to me to be the terrible realities that are, I realize again that, even there, I choose to trust the Lord. It doesn’t really make sense of tough things, but it frees me up to continue to make the choice to trust, because I feel/believe my heart has been and continues to be heard in the process.

  4. r.

    Interesting. C for sure. But only after thwacking all the bs upside the head first (oh, I gave you a concussion? Well, that’s ok, God meant it for your good).

    And then read Psalms.

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