Sermon quotes on pain

Augustine of Hippo

We cannot pass our guardian angel’s bounds, resigned or sullen, he will hear our sighs.

Phillips Brooks 

God wants us to choose to love him freely, even when that choice involves pain, because we are committed to him, not to our own good feelings and rewards. He wants us to cleave to him, as Job did, even when we have every reason to deny him hotly.

Paulo Coelho

Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept.

Richard Dahlstrom

Trials are the ruler and scale to reveal in our lives.

Julian of Norwich

So pain endures for a time. Its role is to purge us, to make us to know ourselves, and it drives us to the Lord to plead for mercy. 

Revelations of Divine Love

Adoniram Judson 

In spite of sorrow, loss, and pain, our course be onward still; we sow on Burmah’s barren plain, we reap on Zion’s hill.

Timothy Keller 

One of the main ways we move from abstract knowledge about God to a personal encounter with him as a living reality is through the furnace of affliction.

Charles Kingsley

Pain is no evil, unless it conquers us.

C.S. Lewis

Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.

C.S. Lewis

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

Kenji Miyazawa

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey

Bob Marley

Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.

Chuck Palahniuk

It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.


Blaise Pascal

All the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own room.


Richard Rohr 

If you do not transform your pain, you will surely transmit it.

Chuck Swindoll

A teardrop on earth summons the King of heaven.

Rick Warren 

God intentionally allows you to go through painful experiences to equip you for ministry to others.

Rick Warren 

Your greatest ministry will most likely come out of your greatest hurt.

Philip Yancey

Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God’s scheme ultimately leads back to the cross.

Philip Yancey

God wants us to choose to love him freely, even when that choice involves pain, because we are committed to him, not to our own good feelings and rewards. He wants us to cleave to him, as Job did, even when we have every reason to deny him hotly.

Nancy Ortberg

When pain is this fresh and this awful, I’m not sure much light can get through. You have to wait for some of the initial jolt to subside, to let something settle enough that you can emerge from being stunned before you can look for a ray of light. And waiting is excruciating when you are torn.

Seeing in the Dark: Finding God’s Light in the Most Unexpected Places, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Russ Ramsey

Cleopas presumed God’s faithfulness was best seen in his ability to shield his people from difficulty. This was a profound error common to most believers of his day and ever since. Glory preceded by suffering was God’s pattern throughout all of Scripture. One way the world would recognize the true Messiah would be by the way he would fit this pattern, not defy it.

Behold the King of Glory: A Narrative of the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Crossway.


How singular is the thing called pleasure and how curiously related to pain, which might be thought to be the opposite of it . . . yet he who pursues either is generally compelled to take the other; their bodies are two but they are joined by the same head.

Philip Yancey

Pain is not God’s great goof. The sensation of pain is a gift—the gift that nobody wants. More than anything, pain should be viewed as a communication network.

Where Is God When It Hurts? 1990, p.34, Zondervan.

Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy)

“A heart can be broken, but it keeps beating just the same.”

Fried Green Tomatoes, (Universal City Studios, 1991)

Jim Carrey

If we all acted the way we really felt, four out of eight people at a dinner table would be sitting there sobbing.

Third Way Magazine (January, 2002)

Richard Dawkins (For Contrast)

The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. . . . In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.

River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, Basic Books, 1996, pp.132-133*

Timothy Keller

The entire book of Job contradicts the common belief that good people will have lives that go well, and that if your life is going badly, it must be your fault. The Bible does not say that every difficulty is the result of sin—but it does teach that every sin will bring you into difficulty.

The Prodigal Prophet: Jonah and the Mystery of God’s Mercy (New York: Viking, 2018, p.24).

Max Lucado

Does God guarantee the absence of struggle and the abundance of strength? Not in this life. But he does pledge to reweave your pain for a higher purpose.

God Will Carry You Through, Thomas Nelson, 2013, p.2.

Chaim Potok

One learns of the pain of others by suffering own’s own pain, my father would say, by turning inside oneself, by finding one’s own soul. And it is important to know of pain, he said.

Edith Hamilton

Pain is the most individualizing thing on earth. It is true that it is the great common bond as well, but that realization comes only when it is over. To suffer is to be alone. To watch another suffer is to know the barrier that shuts each of us away by himself. Only individuals can suffer.

Dag Hammarskjöld

We cannot afford to forget any experience, not even the most painful.

Julian Of Norwich

I was wholly at peace, at ease and at rest, so that there was nothing upon earth which could have afflicted me. This lasted only for a time, and then I was changed…I felt there was no ease or comfort for me except faith, hope and love, and truly I felt very little of this. And then presently God gave me again comfort and rest for my soul…And then again I felt the pain, and then afterwards the delight and the joy, now the one and now the other, again and again, I suppose about twenty times.

Ann Voskamp

Not one thing in your life is more important than figuring out how to live in the face of unspoken pain.

Flannery O’Connor

Some kind of loss is usually necessary to turn the mind toward faith. If you’re satisfied with want you’ve got, you’re hardly going to look for anything better.

Alia Joy

We are a society that despises lack. We despise weakness and need and insufficiency. We turn the other way and pretend to be watching oncoming traffic when the red light halts us and the beggar reaches out toward our car with his cardboard sign. We admire pain only if it’s healed, only if it’s endured with perfect grace, with perfect faith, and never succumbed to in weakness, in f-bombs and rants and curses raised to the heavens.

Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack, Baker Books, 2019.

Alia Joy

So we learn early on that lack is embarrassing. Our pain is uncomfortable not just for ourselves but for those around us. Our need is obscene and offensive to a world that prides itself on its self-reliance and wide-open smiles. A world where we easily dismiss pain we do not ourselves feel.

Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack, Baker Books, 2019.

Tish Harrison Warren

The problem of pain can’t be adequately answered because we don’t primarily want an answer. When all is said and done, we don’t want God to simply explain himself, to give an account of how hurricanes or head colds fit into his overall redemptive plan. We want action. We want to see things made right.

Taken from Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren Copyright (c) 2021 by Tish Harrison Warren. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

Still Looking for inspiration?

Consider checking out our illustrations page on Pain. 

Follow us on social media: