Lean Into Suffering (find meaning in the brokenness)

Gold Brush Stroke

We can find meaning in the brokenness of life when we lean into suffering, not always understanding God’s plan but trusting in His goodness anyway.

We can find meaning in the brokenness of life when we lean into suffering, not always understanding God's plan but trusting in His goodness anyway. #eventhen Share on X

lean into suffering

Dealing With Brokenness

When it comes to dealing with brokenness, we have basically three options. We can deny the pain, be paralyzed by it, or learn and grow from it.

It seems some of us are stuck in the hurt. We can’t get past the unfulfilled expectations, the “whys” and “what ifs.” We sit in our suffering, paralyzed to find any good. Unchecked, this will lead to anger, bitterness, and depression. I found myself here during some of the darkest seasons of my life. 

Others of us, dismiss our struggle quickly as if it were simply a stubbed toe. We don’t want to face it, so we stuff it. Plastering a smile on our faces, we appear fine to those around us while we shrivel inside. Loneliness builds because we don’t dare let anyone past our façade. 

Still, some learn to lean into the suffering, trusting God to grow something beautiful from it. In that posture, God can grow and mold us and use us in the lives of others. We see this in several accounts in the Bible.

Biblical Accounts of Brokenness

Consider King David’s reaction to his infant son’s illness and subsequent death (2 Samuel 12:15-23). In case you’re not familiar with the backstory, King David slept with another man’s wife and then to cover up that sin, he sent the man to the front lines of a battle to have him killed “accidentally.” Basically, the king had this man, Uriah, murdered.

Because of his sin, the baby born to David by Uriah’s wife’s became deathly ill. For seven days, the king fasted, laid on the ground, and pleaded for God to spare the baby’s life. He was inconsolable in his suffering. But on the seventh day the baby died. Because the king had been so distraught while the baby was ill, his servants were afraid to tell him of his death.

However, upon hearing the news, David “got up from the ground. He washed, anointed himself, changed his clothes, went to the Lord’s house, and worshiped” (vs. 20). 

The king didn’t stuff his pain. He didn’t let his grief swallow him. Through many previous trials, he had learned to trust God, so after a time of grieving,  King David let his brokenness propel him forward in a positive way.

Joseph, of “coat of many colors” fame, also dealt positively with his tragic lot in life after his brothers threw him into a cistern and then sold him into slavery (Genesis 37-41).

And if we dig further into the three accounts of Jesus grieving I shared in my last post, we have a few more examples of what it looks like to lean into our suffering.

lean into suffering

Lean Into Suffering

King David, Joseph, and Jesus surrendered their pain to the Father. They trusted Him with their brokenness. They leaned into their suffering and let it propel them forward to minister to others. 

Surrender your pain to the Father. Trust Him with your brokenness. Lean into your suffering, and let it propel you forward to a more meaningful life. #trustGod #eventhen Share on X

King David went on to comfort Bathsheba and govern his nation. Joseph served others where God had placed him, in the dungeon and later in the king’s court, and eventually saved the very brothers that sold him (he basically saved entire nations from starvation). After each difficult season, Jesus took the next step in His ministry, moving ever closer to His crucifixion and death, which saved us all. 

I began this three-post series, by acknowledging that “God’s reality for our lives nearly always looks different from what we envision. He works in mysterious ways far beyond our comprehension.”

It’s true, God’s plan is not always understandable, but it is always good. Framing our difficult circumstances in light of that truth will help us lean into the suffering and discover meaning in the brokenness. As we learn to trust God in times of suffering like we do in times of blessing, we’ll begin to see the possibilities instead of only the shattered shards. We’ll encourage others in their pain as we take the next step forward. 

Framing our difficult circumstances in light of the truth that God's plan is not always understandable, but it is always good will help us lean into suffering and discover meaning in the brokenness. Share on X

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you 1 Peter 5:10, ESV

Reflections: When was a time you suffered? Were you stuck in the pain, did you deny it existed, or did you lean into it? What did you learn from that experience? 


By His Grace,


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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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