For one resource, I would recommend Martin Lloyd-Jones' book, Why Does God Allow War? It was written in Europe, during WWII, so he has a lot of relevant things to say about suffering (not just war). One important point he makes is our attitude towards prayer, and why some of our prayers may seem to go unanswered. He also spends a lot of time discussing the majesty and sovereignty of God, and our relative smallness. He balances this well with God's perfect love for us as His beloved children. Overall, I have found his discussions in the book to be very helpful.
The other resource is What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, and although I have mentioned this before, I'd like to focus on another topic dealing with suffering from her book. This is the author's 4 P's to watch for during times of trial, in order to find comfort and encouragement.
Protection: What ways have you seen God's protection during trials, despite the reality of how hard they can be? The author gives several examples from her life, and I see them in mine as well. I can think of my hardships out in CO with medical concerns, and how so many people came to my aid from church, as well as family and friends, to assist me during that time. I had the care and concern of some of the best doctors, counselors, and others in the area. For that I can be thankful. As hard as those times were, it could have been much, much worse.
Provision: What have you seen God provide during hard times? I have seen God use hard times to provide for financial and physical needs time and time again, starting as early as childhood, when we were growing up on the farm, with a house-full! I saw my parents pray for God to provide, and often He did in the most miraculous of ways. God cannot display His glory as a Great Provider if we are never in need!
Process: This one is hard for me, but also SO important. Let's look at Hebrews 12:
5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a] 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
We are called to holiness, and as hard as it can be to accept at the time, the trials allow us to be further created in the image of our Savior and Lord.
Portion: Have you found Christ to be your portion? If not, I pray that you would. This aspect of the Christian life is what keeps me going when the heat gets turned up. So many nights I have fallen asleep in the pages of the Psalms, reflecting on the nature and character of our Great God and the sweetness of our union with Him. From Psalm 16: 5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. And my personal favorite, from Psalm 73: 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
May you be encouraged and find grace to even be thankful and joyful in the midst of suffering. Count your blessings and you will find the strength to do this! From Nehemiah 8:10b: Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Blessings on you today,