Suffering

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Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
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Scriptures
Hope
Help
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Conversations
Starters
    • I am so sorry to hear about the difficulties you are going through.  Will you please tell me more to help me understand?
    • What are the most common emotions that you’ve been experiencing through this?
    • Do you have friends or family nearby that you can talk to?  Have they been helpful?
    • Have you heard things from well-meaning friends in the midst of suffering that have been painful?  What were those things and why were they so painful to you?
    • Are there questions that have arisen in your heart in the midst of this experience that we can explore together?
    • Are there certain times of day, places, or circumstances where you find the hurt especially difficult?
    • It’s often said that God will use the difficult times in life to bring about good things.  That may not be a comfort right now, but do you believe that might be true for you someday?
    • I know it’s hard to discuss sometimes, but where do you see God in all of this?  Would you say He has met you in the midst of this or has He felt distant?  Or a little of both?
    • Practicing thankfulness may seem unnatural during this difficult time, but can you see yourself looking beyond your pain and thanking God by faith for His presence?
    • How can I best come alongside you in love and carry this burden with you?
    • In what areas do you need comfort and encouragement the most?
    • Learning to live again is a process.  Can you find a starting point?
    • Would you give me permission to be praying for you in the coming weeks/months?
    • Is there anything you need from me right now to help you get through another day?
Deeper Questions
    • What has God been teaching you through this tough experience?  About Himself, about you, about others, about life?
    • Are you able to fix your eyes on Jesus so that you do not “grow weary and lose heart?” (Hebrews 12:1-4)
    • Do you “cast all your cares” on Him?  Do you still believe He cares for you? (1 Peter 5:7)
    • Have you taken time to be honest before God about how you feel? Are you feeling any anger toward God?  Have you told Him that?
    • Do you believe that God has your best interests at heart?
    • How has this tough experience affected your relationship with the important people in your life?  Spouse, kids, friends, etc.
    • Have you examined what part you may have played in your current circumstances?
    • Have you forgiven others who may have hurt you, or have you nursed the hurt?
    • Have you made a list of all the things you can thank God for even now?
    • Have you considered the powerful testimony you are setting for those around you? (Acts 16:22-31)
    • Are you aware of how often God’s word describes people in troubles, especially the Psalms and in the Book of Job?  Can we discuss that together?
    • Do you see your suffering in light of eternity? (2 Corinthians 4:18)
    • Have you talked to your pastor or local church leadership about your current sufferings and how to seek God in the midst of them?
    • Do you have a local church home that can help meet your physical and emotional needs?
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Resources
Books
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Encouragement
Quotes
  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free, p. 226

    “All of us have had seasons when we feel we just can’t keep going; we just can’t take any more.  As with every other of deception, the key to defeating this lie is to counter it with the truth.  Regardless of what our emotions or our circumstances may tell us, God’s Word says, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Corinthians 12:9).”

  • - J.P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff, The God Conversation, p. 40-41

    “The reason many retain faith in God while in the midst of suffering is that they have a history with God.  Over the years they’ve experienced God’s goodness and have come to trust him.  While instances of evil challenge a believer’s trust in God, they don’t wipe out faith.  Somehow, based on what they know about God, individuals still believe the best of him.”

  • - Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Wife, p. 111

    “Everyone goes through hard times.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Sometimes our prayers help us to avoid them.  Sometimes not.  It’s the attitude we have when we go through them that matters most.  If we are filled with anger and bitterness, or insist on complaining and blaming God, things tend to turn out badly.  If we go through them with thankfulness and praise to God, He promises to bring good things despite them. He says to ‘count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience’ (James 1:2-3).”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Suffering: Eternity Makes a Difference, p. 2

    “Most people, regardless of their theology, live from day to day without any sense of their eternal destiny.  It just doesn’t fit the way they think about their lives.  But the Bible says that it is impossible to understand what God is doing or to face hard times successfully if the reality of eternity is missing from the picture.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free, p. 222

    “The apostle Paul taught that suffering is an essential course in God’s curriculum for all believers. ‘We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22).”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Suffering: Eternity Makes a Difference, p. 16

    “Trial and suffering are no indication that God has forsaken His promises. Rather, they demonstrate His unshakable, faithful, redeeming love. He loves us so much that even when we don’t ‘get it,’ He will continue His work in us until it is complete.”

  • - Rebecca Rainey Mutz, A Symphony In The Dark, p.156

     “I’m still learning that all my emotions are okay, part of the process, and good for me to feel.  It’s better than feeling numb, although being numb can be easier.”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Suffering: Eternity Makes a Difference, p. 29

    “What does God offer the suffering, discouraged, embittered individual?  A set of principles?  A way to get the things we want?  No, much more and much different.  God offers Himself.  He is our identity, our riches, our strength, our future, and our hope.  He is what we need.”

  • - Ed Welch, Blame it On the Brain, p. 106

    “On the problem of suffering, Scripture is the expert.  Through it, God offers hope, compassion, and the power to grow in faith and obedience in the midst of the suffering. For families, it provides practical guidelines on how to love and serve the person who is struggling.”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Suffering: Eternity Makes a Difference, p. 7

     “God says that He has given us everything we need to live a godly life. But ‘everything’ does not mean everything we need to fulfill our own definition of happiness … When we conclude that Christians should have greater personal, temporal happiness than the unbeliever, we will have difficulty seeing the good God is doing.”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Suffering: Eternity Makes a Difference, p. 16

    “While we focus on good results, God focuses on the process of making us good. We judge His faithfulness on the basis of how many of our desires He has met … But this is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what God is doing. He is working on something much grander.”

  • - Ed Welch, Blame it On the Brain, p. 60

     “God is gracious to sinners, protecting them from the physical consequences that their sins deserve.  And He is gracious to those who are obedient and faithful, allowing them to experience physical problems as a way to keep them from getting too settled in any place other than heaven.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Singled Out for Him, p. 19

    “There are times when God actually causes His children to face hunger and other needs to teach us that our most basic needs are not physical but spiritual and that He Himself is the provision for the deepest needs of our hearts.”

  • - John Yates, How a Man Prays for His Family, p. 75

    “Bringing our prayer requests to God repeatedly is not a matter of asking God and then reminding Him over and over again in case He’s forgotten … It’s wonderful when you pray for something only once and you experience God’s answer.  But growth and maturity come when you learn how to pray repeatedly, until you have the satisfaction of seeing clearly how God has answered.”

  • - Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free, p. 65

    “If we have an impoverished view of God, we will become impoverished ourselves.  If we have constructed in our minds a god who is weak and impotent and not in control of every detail of the universe, we will see ourselves as being helpless and will be overwhelmed by the storms and circumstances around us.  If our god is worthless, we will see ourselves as being worthless.”

Next Steps
    • Esteem them for reaching out for a mentor at this time
    • Encourage them with Scriptures of hope and help
    • Share from your own experiences with suffering, times where God has been faithful to you and renewed you despite your lack of faith
    • Challenge your mentee to spend time in prayer and communion with God.
    • Challenge your mentee to worship God even in the midst of suffering, and reassure them of the powerful strength gained through that experience.
    • Remind your mentee not to become isolated, but to stay connected with others, even if they don’t not fully understand.
    • Help your mentee to accept God’s love, grace, mercy, and compassion.
    • Encourage your mentee cultivate a heart of thankfulness and gratitude over a period of time.
    • Encourage your mentee to get involved in a local, Bible-believing church for spiritual growth and accountability, and to seek the help of their pastor or other church leadership.
    • Remind your mentee that in times of despair, we need to turn to Christ.
    • Remind your mentee to forgive others and himself or herself, if s/he needs to do this.