Weep, trust, pray, think, shift, hope, grow. Ways to handle suffering

“Weep, trust, pray, think, shift, hope, grow. Ways to handle suffering.” Tim Keller

Tim Keller is a preacher from New York City. I follow him on Twitter because he sends out profound thoughts like that above.

You don’t exit life without tough things happening to you. It’s a fact. None of us have met anyone who has been exempted from a challenge.

Keller gives us seven verbs to consider when challenged. It appears to me he gives them a specific order.

Weep is the first. It’s natural for suffering to bring about weeping. It comes upon us, and we find it hits us with unanticipated force. It sets us back. It frustrates us.  It scares us. Weeping in despair is the outcome.

But, after weeping, you begin to gather yourself. This is where you do something paradoxical. Keller says you trust. Since suffering is part of each of our experience, Keller challenges us objectively to trust the process. To believe it will yield fruit.

As a faithful person, he reminds us to pray. He believes, as do I, that there is someone greater who can affect the challenge. It helps to reach out in prayer.

Think. Study. Consider. Challenges and suffering cause us to reflect. Consider your blessings. Notice your experience in detail. The suffering you experience will be among the most significant you have.

Shift. If you trust the process, you believe it’s leading you somewhere else. Its probably cause you to think differently. To act differently. To move in a different direction.

New directions are best when they move you to a better place. Thus, hope weighs significantly. It’s amazing that a process that starts with weeping can bloom into hope.

You can grow from a challenge. You will grow from a challenge if you keep the process in mind.

I heard a great speech recently. Iowa State coach Matt Campbell was exhorting his team to love the process of becoming a great team. Here’s what he said:

“If you fall in love with the process, eventually, eventually, the process will love you back.”

Suffering and challenge is the beginning of a process that takes you somewhere better.