Pain or distress. Suffering takes many forms: physical pain, frustrated hopes, depression, isolation, loneliness, grief, anxiety, spiritual crisis, and more. The biblical peoples struggled with the presence of suffering in their lives and sought ways to understand it and cope with it that could include their belief in both God’s power and God’s goodness. The biblical responses to suffering can be divided into five categories. (1) The most common way to understand the presence of suffering in the world is to say that it is the result of human sin, the fault of human disobedience (Gen 3:14-19). (2) Although suffering is by definition a very undesirable experience, it may be explained as leading to some greater good or serving a benevolent purpose (Rom 5:1-5). (3) In the NT, suffering is often caused by cosmic evil forces: demons (Luke 9:38-39), evil spirits (Acts 19:11-12), Satan (Luke 13:16), or the devil (Acts 10:38). (4) Suffering is often mysterious. People are sometimes encouraged to give up the intellectual quest to understand the whys and wherefores of suffering and to leave the unknown in the care of God (Job 38-41). (5) Whether humans can find answers to their questions about suffering, laments provide help in coping with the immediate experience (Ps 3; Ps 5; Ps 10; Ps 17; Ps 38). There is assurance from the biblical writers that God will hear the prayers of those who cry out for help and comfort (Ps 65:2; Ps 66:16-20; Ps 102:1-2; Ps 102:17; Mark 11:24; 2Cor 1:8-11; Phil 1:19-20).

Gen 3:14-19

14The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
an ... View more

Rom 5:1-5

Results of Justification
1Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,2through whom we have obtained access ... View more

Luke 9:38-39

38Just then a man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son; he is my only child.39Suddenly a spirit seizes him, and all at once he shrieks. ... View more

Acts 19:11-12

The Sons of Sceva
11God did extraordinary miracles through Paul,12so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, t ... View more

Luke 13:16

16And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?”

Acts 10:38

38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God ... View more

Job 38-41

The Lord Answers Job
1Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:2“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?3Gird up your loins like a m ... View more

Ps 3

Trust in God under Adversity
A Psalm of David, when he fled from his son Absalom.
1O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;2many are saying to ... View more

Ps 5

Trust in God for Deliverance from Enemies
To the leader: for the flutes. A Psalm of David.
1Give ear to my words, O Lord;
give heed to my sighing.2Listen to the ... View more

Ps 10

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies
1Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?2In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor ... View more

Ps 17

Prayer for Deliverance from Persecutors
A Prayer of David.
1Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;
give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.2From yo ... View more

Ps 38

A Penitent Sufferer's Plea for Healing
A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering.
1O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.2For ... View more

Ps 65:2

2O you who answer prayer!
To you all flesh shall come.

Ps 66:16-20

16Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.17I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.18If I had cherished i ... View more

Ps 102:1-2

Prayer to the Eternal King for Help
A prayer of one afflicted, when faint and pleading before the Lord.
1Hear my prayer, O Lord;
let my cry come to you.2Do not ... View more

Ps 102:17

17He will regard the prayer of the destitute,
and will not despise their prayer.

Mark 11:24

24So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

2Cor 1:8-11

8We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired ... View more

Phil 1:19-20

19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance.20It is my eager expectation and hope th ... View more

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