The Posture of Suffering


Absalom plays the long game. He plots for years before avenging his sister. He waits years before trying to overthrow his father as king. In the meantime, he’s working out his plan. His ingratiating actions slowly win him the favor of many in Israel. He wasn’t hidden when he was doing this. He was sitting at the city gate, a very public place. How was it allowed to go on for years?

It almost seems like it had been known, as it doesn’t seem to be met with outright shock when they are warned to flee from Absalom! David’s not holding anything against Absalom even at that point. He takes it as from the hand of God.

David says that if the Lord finds him pleasing, God will restore him to Jerusalem, and if not, God can do as He pleases with David. David is surrendered into God’s hands. There is no pleading here to not fall into the hands of his enemy. He has no real enemy but himself and his sin. He’s been humbled.

This is the right attitude toward suffering. I find it harder to trust God when there are other people involved like this situation, but God is Lord over all, whether “the all” has submitted themselves to God or not; God still has the power and still is in control.

Our posture during suffering should be humility. Jesus shows us the perfect example, as always. In the garden, He is in deep distress. He prays that God would take away the suffering, but submits Himself to the Father’s will.

Paul prays for his suffering to be taken away, when he asks for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed, but like Jesus, he submits himself to the Father’s will.

Andrew Murray lists these four things as our response to suffering. They are something like this. One, we can rest knowing that what’s happening is in God’s control; He knows what’s going on. He determined this by His will. Two, we are in His keeping. He will be with us through this and will guard us. We can abide in His love and receive abundant grace for all we need to walk in His love during this time. Three, He has good plans for us and is working them out. He’s training us in righteousness. Trials are blessings. Four, we are to wait for His deliverance. We can trust He has an appointed time and way to bring us through and out of the trouble.

Namely, know God is who He is. Our experiences don’t change His character, nature, or authority. Love and trust God.