We've probably all been there to one degree or another. Suffering causes us to ask what we really believe. We may wonder why we have to suffer. Suffering also lends itself to questions of death and life after death.
We all need to take time to be certain what we believe about these issues before we find ourselves in the middle of suffering. When we are in the midst of great pain (whether physical, emotional, or both), we are in no position to try to decide what we believe.
R.C. Sproul has written a helpful book on the topic of suffering. Surprised by Suffering: the Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life is really more like two books in one. In the first half of the book, Sproul focuses his attention on suffering in this present life. He offers sound biblical arguments that should lead to greater understanding of this difficult issue.
In the second half of this text, Sproul switches his attention to life after death, in particular for the Christian. After shooting down popular secular ideas of what the afterlife might look like, Sproul lets the bible inform us. He shows that the bible teaches that to die is gain. Then, looking in Revelation and other books, he shows us why. I appreciate his biblical description of heaven.
If you or someone you know wants to think through these issues, this book would be a good place to begin.
Order it here.