Simplify your life. Sometimes suffering makes you aware of the need to clear clutter out of your schedule and surroundings so you can experience more of the peace that God wants to give you in all circumstances. Devote more time to your relationship with God. Eliminate activities from your life that don’t reflect your highest priorities, and use the free time left from cutting them out to pursue a deeper relationship with God.

Participate in God’s plan to end injustice in the world. When the suffering you see around you disturbs you, do something about it if at all possible. Recognize that all Christians have a crucial role to play in God’s plan to free people the suffering caused by injustices such as addiction, oppression, disease, poverty, racism, and debt. Ask God to give you compassion for people who are suffering from injustice. Realize that you and your efforts have tremendous value in God’s kingdom, and that God wants to express His mercy for suffering people by working through your life to help them. Pray for the wisdom to know what specific ways God wants you to serve others to help bring more justice to our fallen world – and then take action to do so! Choose to do one small thing at a time instead of becoming overwhelmed by the immensity of the needs surrounding you. Trust that God will use you to touch one person’s life at a time to accomplish something great even from small efforts.

Don’t let suffering keep you from living fully. If suffering has discouraged you to the point where you no longer take the risks you sense God calling you take to live a full life, pray for encouragement. Don’t settle for anything less than doing what God leads you to do every day, and don’t quit when suffering causes discouragement to creep back into your soul. Instead, keep praying, and you can count on God to keep encouraging you.

Forgive, so your suffering won’t poison your soul with bitterness. Rely on God’s help to forgive the people who have caused you to suffer. Keep in mind that God will help you every step of the way if you’re faithful to respond to His call to forgive others as He has forgiven you for your own sins.

Look forward to heaven. Remind yourself often that God will replace the ugliness of suffering in this fallen world with the beauty of holiness in heaven. Hold onto the real hope that you have in Christ of living free of suffering when you get to heaven.

Adapted from God Can’t Sleep: Waiting for Daylight on Life’s Dark Nights, copyright 2011 by Palmer Chinchen. Published by David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, Co.,
Palmer Chinchen is the celebrated author of True Religion and the pastor of The Grove in Chandler, Arizona. His passion is to challenge Christ followers everywhere to change this world for good. He holds a PhD from Trinity International University and a BA and MA from Biola University.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor.