Living With Suffering

As we resume our ‘Jesus Changes Everything.’ series after a break over the new year, we’ll be producing notes, discussion points and application questions for the Sunday talks each week — helping you go deeper into everything we’re looking at together and resourcing our Small Groups during the week. Use the embedded player to listen to the talk, or click here to download it on a PC.

Talk Overview

Key Passages: Colossians 1:27, 2 Corinthians 4:7–12, 16–18

Having seen last week that suffering is a reality in the Christian life we will all face and considered how Christ meets us in suffering, bringing hope, this week we turn to some practical applications. How do we respond to suffering when it happens to ourselves, our loved ones, and within community?

Living with suffering ourselves

  • Approach God, who cares for you. Matthew 12:20 / 2 Corinthians 1:3 / Hebrews 4:16
  • Give voice to pain: Psalm 61
  • Don’t isolate: Galatians 6:2
  • Mixed heart: Proverbs 14:13
  • Receive wisdom and hope

When loved ones suffer

  • Support not save (Galatians 6:2, 5) — working out the difference between carrying burdens in support and taking on load as saviour
  • Empathy over sympathy
  • Point to God and lean on others

In community

  • Share life with each other: handle with care, love, pray, listen, point to hope in Christ.


During the talk, Adrian plays a video by Dr Brené Brown about the difference between empathy and sympathy, which you can watch below:

Application Questions

- What struck you most about Sunday’s talk?

About God
- Consider 2 Corinthians 4:7–12, 16–18. What does this tell you about God’s work in our lives and what a life of faith in Jesus looks like?
- What can we expect from God when we are suffering, distressed and confused (Matt 12:20)

About Us
- What holds you back from giving voice to suffering when it happens?
- How is the church a means of God’s grace when we suffer? What is the difference between empathy and sympathy? How is empathy costly but both connecting and healing?
- How can we seek to support one another without seeing ourselves as the saviour?

About the World
- How is faith, hope and love in the midst of suffering a witness and invitation to the world?