Making Sense of Suffering

Making Sense of Suffering

Excerpts from Where are You God? Suffering and Intimacy with God by Janet O. Hagberg

  • Then disappointment said to me, “Let us journey on our way together.” Leading with a limp. To know disappointment, so that I might be a blessing to others. This brings the most glory to God.
  • I embrace my disappointment as my teacher on my journey toward God. God transforms disappointment into His Face. And Disappointment comes and wrestles with me until I allow the death of this dream.
  • I will not let you go unless you bless me. I shall now be called “wounded healer.” The wound I have endured at Disappointment’s hand has made me whole. And Disappointment blessed me.
  • Wounded Healer. Bringing a message to a world in need of all that I have learned.
  • Embrace the pain, without becoming a martyr. Making meaning of the pain.


  • Joy emerges from pain well attended.
  • We naturally care more about others when we have been to the bottom of our own wells. We are drawn to alleviate suffering for others.
  • Intimacy with God is more possible as a result of pain and suffering than from almost any other life experience.
  • I can live with pain and at the same time experience joy, good will and intimacy with God.
  • Intimacy with God transforms suffering. Reclaims suffering. Redefines suffering.


  • Bringing forth a new part of myself that becomes a gift to others. Vulnerability, transparency, expectancy, watchfulness.
  • Entering this deep place inside is where Christ is. Learn who I am. Learn who God is.
  • Even when I thought God was gone, I could hear movements around me in the dark.
  • In my pain, in my core, the depth of myself is the light that illuminates the darkness. In the stillness. The waiting. The inner dance.
  • I did not intentionally choose suffering, it chose me. To grow me toward my True Self. For my own sake and for the sake of others.
  • In my suffering there is a dying and a rising that becomes a new source of hope.


  • Our human experience of suffering takes us into the depths of our humanness and to the outer edge of our faith, bringing us face to face with God.
  • Our understanding of God is revealed, challenged or confirmed most dramatically in times of pain.
  • God suffers along with us. Showing us only the next step, for that is all we need to know.
  • The deepest lessons the heart has to deliver to us become accessible only when it is ruptured.
  • Intimacy does not eliminate the awesomeness of God but incorporates it.


  • If God appears to not be doing what I want, then things are likely not my true heart’s desire. God’s will is always identical to the deepest desires of my heart.
  • Eventually I yield myself to God and it becomes bearable.
  • “Lord, I had heard of you only by hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” Job 42:5.
  • So much of suffering is unwillingness to let go.
  • The deeper the pain, the more potential to feel God’s presence.
  • The losses we suffer are a necessary part of the developmental process.

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