What Does It Mean To “Suffer Well”?

by Lee Buford on March 2, 2010

What does it mean to “suffer well”? In fact, is it even possible to “suffer well”?

I would suggest to you that “suffering well” is difficult to define. And, perhaps even more difficult than trying to define or articulate it, is the idea of trying to comprehend it in light of many of the trials and circumstances we see around us on a daily basis.

I will be the first to admit that I have little experience with true suffering. I have been blessed beyond measure to this point in my life, and for that I am grateful! I would be less than transparent if I pretended to “know what you’re going through” if you’re in the midst of a major trial or season of suffering right now.

So for me to answer the questions I posed at the outset would require some speculation, or assumption such as “this is how I would handle suffering in my life.” But I CAN answer the questions with certainty…I can answer with certainty because I have witnessed others who have defined “suffering well”, and in turn, have demonstrated that it IS possible to “suffer well.”

Take a look at the following video: The Story of Zac Smith, and you will see the answers played out before your eyes.

The Story of Zac Smith from NewSpring Production on Vimeo.

I also encourage you take a couple of minutes to watch this video Pastor Matt Chandler recorded the week he was facing the biggest trial of his life. You will notice a very similar response.

Both of these stories not only define and exemplify “suffering well”, but they also define the source of the ability to suffer well…a non-compromising faith in God. These men are both standing firmly on the foundation of God’s Word in the most difficult of circumstances.

9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

Pray for these men, and many others like them who are suffering in our midst.

Encourage those in your path. Be a source of strength and nourishment for their aching bodies and souls. Love them. Appreciate them. Learn from them. Thank God for their example.

And if you are ever faced with a similar circumstance, SUFFER WELL. You know what it means, and you know it can be done.

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