Life is often hard. Far from being promised health, wealth, and happiness, we are instead guaranteed trouble in this life (John 16:33). We experience various kinds of suffering—such as illness, pain, and grief—because we live in a fallen world.
The Psalms, which are the source of our “Playlist” sermon series, often talk about suffering. Though the Psalmists experienced trials, they also sang about trusting God even in the midst of suffering. In the Psalm 34 message “God is Good in our Trials,” John Elmore shared how his family kept a running list of Bible verses and notes about suffering, which was helpful preparation for when they faced their own trials. Here are 15 verses from their list that you can turn to when going through the “valleys” of life.
Christians will suffer persecution:
- “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” (Philippians 1:29)
- “Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.” (2 Thessalonians 1:4-5)
- “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:3)
- “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
We share in Christ’s sufferings:
- “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” (Philippians 3:10)
- “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:12-14)
- “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Roman 8:16-17)
God can use our suffering to advance the gospel:
- “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14)
- “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8)
Perseverance through suffering produces results:
- “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21)
- “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)
- “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Suffering is temporary:
- “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
- “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
- “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
Whatever you might be suffering from, know that you don’t have to go through the valley alone. Christ calls us to bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and comfort each other as we share in sufferings (2 Corinthians 1:3-6). We also know that God is with us, and that He is working through all situations for His good purposes and our own sanctification (Romans 8:28-29). He has provided a way for us to live eternally with Him in a paradise where there will no longer be any suffering (Revelation 21:1-4). If you want to learn how you can have hope in the midst of any circumstance, come hear about the gospel.