Quiet Time in Suffering
By: Jordan Sparnroft
How do you have a quiet time when you’re struggling just to get out of bed and even brushing your teeth is a struggle? Quiet time in suffering is not going look like the images you see on your favorite Christian influencer’s Instagram. It probably won’t have the cozy blanket, soft lighting, hot cup of coffee, beautiful prayer journal, leather-bound Bible and sun rising perfectly in the background.
When I was losing a parent to cancer, experiencing two miscarriages in a row, and facing a serious diagnosis for my new baby, I had not established a quiet time routine and the Quiet Time Companion didn’t exist. I was spending time with God but it definitely wasn’t an image you would want to see scrolling through Instagram. Instead of being wrapped in a cozy warm quilt, I was smothered under a blanket of grief and the only words I could utter were: ‘Why?’ and ‘Jesus.’
When you’re struggling to do life’s most basic tasks, prayer does not come easy. Just uttering the name of ‘Jesus’ is enough. Yet, there are some means of grace that are especially fitting for us and our quiet time during seasons of suffering.
Suffering is a prime opportunity to let the body of Christ do what it was meant to do: bear each other’s burdens. In the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was wrestling with the immense suffering ahead of Him, He called upon His friends to come and pray with Him. In your suffering, reach out to your people who love Jesus. Don’t just ask them to pray for you but request that they pray with you. Ask them to text you Bible verses proclaiming Who God is and that remind you of His promises.
Play worship music and lots of it! Even when you don’t feel like it. It takes the focus off of you and puts it back on Christ. Put on the Dwell app and have the Psalms read over you while you sleep.
God often speaks to us the most in the midst of suffering. However, we easily miss it if we’re not careful. Ask Him to open your eyes and your heart to His grace. It’s easy to lose sight of Him in the midst of chaos. Looking for His grace allows us to see. This form of worship and thankfulness breathes life into your darkest moments. Look for His grace in every small thing. Thank Him for DoorDash, modern medicine, a hug from a dear friend, the Facebook group of people who are navigating the same waters of grief, a kind smile from a stranger, a hot shower, a nap, etc. The little things are the big things. When you look back on your suffering, these are the moments you will remember seeing God most clearly.
A quiet time is as necessary in sorrow, trial, and pain as it is as it is on our good days (if not more so!). It’s just going to look very different. When – by God’s grace – you are able to have that ‘Instagram snap shot’ kind of quiet time, frantically write it all down: everything you’re going through. Don’t hold back, God can handle it. Document your anger, your questions, your confusion, your sadness, and anxiety. When I look back at those tear-stained pages, they’re my most cherished prayers. I remember that as I wrote them, God felt so far away; but when I look back on those entries, His love and mercy are written all over them and I feel Him closer than ever before.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Applications for quiet time in suffering:
1) Don’t expect your quiet time to look picture perfect.
2) Depend on other believers!
4) Look for the grace God is showing you and say thanks.
5) Honestly pour out your heart to God; He can handle it!
Jordan grew up on a farm located in a small town in Virginia. She married her NY native husband 8 years ago. Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, Jordan was a professional mental health therapist. Apart from raising her 2.5 year old daughter with a complex medical diagnosis, Jordan also teaches English to kids in China online. Through numerous trials involving grief and loss she endured in her 20s, Jordan fell more in love with Jesus and realizes her need for Him everyday. Her passion for studying God’s word and knowing Him more deeply grows with each passing day.