Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Vernon Brewer's new book, Why?: Answers to Weather the Storms of Life, (World Help, 2007).

If you’ve lost your job, received a devastating diagnosis from your doctor, or seen your spouse walk out of your marriage, you know well what it’s like to suffer and wonder why this is happening to you. No matter what challenge you’re facing, it can be hard to carry on in the midst of suffering.

But God is holding out hope for you to grab onto, even when you don’t know why He has allowed you to suffer. Here’s what you can do when you wonder “Why?”:

* Seek wisdom instead of answers. Acknowledge that, sometimes, God doesn’t reveal His specific reasons for allowing suffering into your life, and there are no immediate or obvious answers to your questions. Understand that, while much of the spirit world is beyond your comprehension this side of eternity, you can trust God’s promise that He will use any suffering He allows to accomplish good purposes for you. Rather than seeking answers to why something is happening to you, ask God what He wants you to learn from it. Count on God to give you all the wisdom you need to grow from tough experiences.

* Remember that God is with you. Know that God is present with you in the midst of every situation, no matter how difficult, and that He cares about what you’re going through. Ask Him to make you aware of His presence with you whenever you need encouragement. Trust God’s promise that He is ultimate control of what happens to you. Understand that, when you can’t understand what’s going on, God is still at work behind the scenes, with your best interests at heart.

* Don’t be surprised by troubles. Recognize that, in this fallen world, suffering comes into everyone’s lives. Expect to encounter challenges, but also expect God to help you through whatever comes your way. Know that God isn’t punishing you when you suffer, but simply allowing you to experience something He knows will help you grow in good ways. Realize that God won’t change your circumstances until the circumstances that He has allowed in your life change you.

* Avoid negative responses. Make a conscious choice to refrain from resentment, bitterness, envy, and worry as you deal with challenges, because all of those negative responses will poison your heart. Ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and help you focus on all that’s positive and helpful.

* Fight the battle of emotions. Don’t allow your emotions to control you. Instead, overcome troubling emotions like discouragement, fear, loneliness, anger, depression, anxiety, and disappointment expressing them honestly to God in prayer and asking Him to give you the peace that only He can give. Cope with your emotions one day at a time, staying connected to God through prayer and relying on His unlimited strength.

* Expect God to fulfill good purposes through bad situations. Rest assured that God has a purpose for every challenge you face, and a good plan for your future. Don’t fear the unknown; instead, hand your situation over to God and invite Him to create something beautiful out of the broken pieces of it. Understand that there aren’t any shortcuts to suffering; you must go through it to receive the benefits of transformation. Ask God to develop patience, perseverance, and endurance in you. Keep on loving God and others as you deal with your challenges, and expect to see God at work in your life as you do.