Perplexed, Not Driven to Despair

I'm happy to share the following video from The Gospel Coalition here today. In it, you'll hear from three of my favorite pastors: John Piper, David Platt, and Matt Chandler. For just a few minutes, they talk about their biblical-theological understandings of human suffering, as well as practical application of Gospel-cenetered hope through some of their own trials.

Piper lost his mother years ago to a tragic car accident. The Platt family was afflicted by infertility. And, Chandler was struck by a cancer of the brain. Collectively, these men, and their wives, know something about human suffering. They're not just ivory tower theologians who know a few good verses from the Bible.

This issue is critical to an effective biblical counseling process. When people come to me for help in their own suffering, they naturally want me to say something profound. They want me to say something they've not heard before that will make it all go away.

As a biblical counselor, I have the privilege of helping people to understand that neither I, nor any other human being have all of the immediate answers. At the same time, I have the privilege of helping them prepare to suffer well, to not waste their affliction, and to find the hope they seek not in a program or a set of religious platitudes, but in a Person.

As this video draws out, we can have true hope in Christ in the midst of our suffering, because He is indeed sovereign, that is, God is utterly over all things, to include those things that are plainly tragic. If He were not, then He would be less than God, and my suffering could have no eternal meaning, purpose, or value.

But, such is not the case. He is sovereign, and He assigns meaning to my suffering that redeems it from the clutches of despair. For those of us who love God and are called according to His purposes, we can embrace our trials perplexed, and yet with a hope that will endure until He comes again (Romans 8:28).

In the Christian life, there is no cause for despair, because despair is guilty of blasphemy against our living God.

These are some of my own deeply held, personal convictions as a cancer survivor. But, they're not rooted in my experience alone. They're rooted first and foremost in the trustworthy word of God.

Do you have a story of God faithfully carrying you through suffering? Share it with us below. Your story may be just what another person needs to hear today!

"We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair."  2 Cor. 4:8