How Should We Pray When We Suffer?

What looks like “resting in God” might actually be a mask for resignation.

When we suffer, we may outwardly appear to be “resting in God,” accepting whatever he gives us. But what looks like rest might actually hide a dangerous and deadly spiritual resignation. The truth is, we’ve lost hope and plastered a Jesus sticker on the face of our despair.

After the death of my infant son Paul, what looked to others like rest was a mask for resignation. I’d begged God to spare my baby’s life, but he died even as I was praying. In the days that followed his death, I planned a funeral, spoke of God’s goodness, and offered words of sound theology—theology that I believed. I said I was resting, trusting, and standing on the promises of God, but internally I was actually turning my face away from God.

I was too ashamed to admit to others, and even to myself, how disappointed I was with God, so I numbed the pain with platitudes that I wanted to believe while I distanced my heart from the Lord. My once-vibrant faith soon drifted into apathy and prayerlessness because I’d lost hope that God was even listening.

Months later, in desperation, I finally cried out to God again. I had nowhere else to go. He met me in my discouragement and drew me back to him. I felt a newfound freedom in being completely open with him, so I began voicing my fears, journaling my questions, and praying through Psalms as I processed my grief. This season of wrestling with God in prayer finally reengaged my heart. Instead of answers, I found rest in God himself and a peace beyond my understanding. My journey of wrestling in prayer amid suffering is what eventually led me out of hopeless resignation and into real trust.

The Reason to Wrestle

Wrestling in prayer is crying out to God, asking for what …

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