Sunday, February 7, 2010

Suffering Well

“Well done my good and faithful servant.”   This is a verse I have heard many times in my life and I have to admit have struggled with it.  What does this mean? How do I practically apply this?  How will this affect my day-to-day life?

In the last several months I have been witness to a man who is personifying this verse and who is "suffering well” you can read his story at 

As great and as inspiring as his story is, I have come to a point in my life where I realize I am not able to fully live my life if I chose to live through someone else's experiences.  Do I know how to suffer well?  Am I able to stand in the face of opposition and say as Job did - you can take it all but you will NOT take my faith in God nor the joy I have through knowing His son Jesus Christ. (Italics are my words not Job’s)

I am blessed to say that in my life I have not have had extensive trials that actually demanded suffering well - and I begin to wonder do I live for the day that I will have something large enough to overcome that I can then say I was able to suffer well - or should I not "suffer well" in my day to day of dealing with a spouse, children, job or whatever affliction I may have and be able to say, I strive to suffer well.  If I am not able to "suffer well" in the day to day, how can I even come close to the "suffering well" when something is truly a struggle.  When life becomes bigger than the problems I can handle on my own, when I get to the end of myself and find that there is nothing there but the wickedness I have created.  How then will I "suffer well”?

Over the past 20 years I have had the privilege of working with my husband to help heal and give hope to those with physical need.  More often than not the physical need is just a symptom of the emotional or spiritual void that has occurred throughout one’s life.  We have seen people who are able to "suffer well" and then those that just suffer.  What is the difference, where is the dividing line that enables one to "suffer well".

I contend it is in the knowing... the knowing that there is more to you than you.  We are a small piece of the bigger puzzle.  It is facing the fact that no matter how good I try to be, I am evil, wicked and decrepit.  Without the grace, love, mercy and constant forgiveness of Jesus Christ, without the miracles that occur in our life every day big and small I would dissolve into the mud pile that I truly am.

Even as I write this I am becoming aware that I am not the one who has made this all happen, I am not the one that can be congratulated for all my successes - I can only fall at the feet of my Lord and Savior and say thank you for giving me all that you have, thank you for my giftings, thank you for giving me the willingness to share them, thank you that I can stand witness on a daily basis to your goodness and mercy.  Without which, I would be as dung.

So do I "suffer well" – I strive to.   I am learning and practicing “suffering well” - in the big and the small, so on that great and faithful day I will be able to hear the words that daily bring me hope and life.  
"Well done, my good and faithful servant."  Matt. 25:21 & 23


  1. Shannon, this is well written. I would say that as we strive to grow in God's mercy and grace, he is working in us in ways we do not even know. Continue to hold tightly to his word and be guided as you do live your daily life, and he will bless you as you grow. I am sure there are many around you that have been blessed deeply by your candor on this subject.

  2. Such a great post and a good reminder. I have had many of the same thoughts, questions and desires. I desire to suffer well, desire to hear Him say those words, desire to put my hope and trust in Him despite all natural circumstances. My hope is in Him alone!

    Romans 15:13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit


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