Songs for Sufferers

October 11, 2017

Three months ago I wrote a post called “Suffering and the Problem with Christian Songs” about the harmful way many popular CCM songs portray suffering.
Many of you shared it on social media and contributed to making it my most popular post to date.

In August, I wrote a post called “When God Betrays Your Trust” about how the language of lament leads us into a deeper trust in God’s goodness. It also resonated strongly with a lot of you and many of you reached out to share your stories of suffering and lament with me.

Today, I want to follow up on those two articles by highlighting some albums that put biblical lament to music. I also wanted to share some of my favorite artists who sing about joy and suffering realistically. Such artists may be hard to come by, but they do exist. They sing about the commingling of pain and hope and beauty. They sing about the brokenness of our world and the redemption that’s coming.

Songs of Lament

Lamentations: Simple Songs of Lament and Hope

This album by Bifrost Arts is full of scriptural laments set to beautiful music. You can listen to it for free on Bandcamp. It is available for purchase on iTunes. If you feel like you want to lament but don’t know how this is a great place to start. Many of the lyrics come directly from Scripture.

Songs of Lament

This album by Rachel Wilhelm is also full of scriptural laments. Rachel is a fibromyalgia sufferer and this album was birthed out of her own season of suffering. You can listen to it for free on Bandcamp. It is available for purchase on iTunes

My Favorite Artists

The following is a list of my favorite artists. Not all of their songs are about suffering but I have chosen to highlight those given the subject of my blog. (This list obviously reflects my personal tastes in music and I am in no way saying that these are the only artists who sing about life realistically)

Alanna Boudreau

This woman is an incredibly insightful and beautiful songwriter. You get the feeling that she reads a lot, thinks deeply and loves intensely. I adore all her music. I’ve never heard anyone else that sounds like her.

Controlled Burn

Josh Garrels

Josh Garrels is so amazing. He has a very unique style. I can’t really describe it. My favorite albums are “Love & War & the Sea in Between” and “Home”


Brooke Fraser

Brooke Fraser has been a favorite since I was a teenager. She has a knack for weaving words together beautifully. Her voice is very moving. My favorite albums are “Albertine” and “Flags.”


Jon Foreman

Also a favorite since my teen years. I’ve always appreciated his raw honesty and poetic lyrics.

The Cure for Pain

Sons of Korah

What the Sons of KorahΒ are doing is pretty amazing. They are putting the Psalms to music. All of their lyrics are straight from Scripture. They include both Psalms of lament and Psalms of praise.


Audrey Assad

Audrey has such a beautiful voice. I would describe her music as lovely, worshipful and meditative. “Fortunate Fall” and her hymns album “Inheritance” are my favorite.


By the way, Brett and I made a beautiful PDF of my favorite resources for suffering souls. I created the content and he made it look fancy with his superduper graphic design skills. It’s available for free to my email subscribers. Click here to sign up and receive 5 Resources for the Suffering Soul.

Get My 5 Favorite Resources

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  • Aleigha Israel

    What wonderful song suggestions, Ana! Thank you for sharing these!
    Having dealt with extreme anxiety and panic attacks in the past (and still being burdened with it once in a while) music has literally been a lifesaver for me. It’s amazing how it calms the nerves and soothes so easily.
    I pray for you every day!

    October 11, 2017 at 6:03 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      You’re welcome Aleigha! I love music so much. You’re so right that it helps to calm down the emotions and brings healing. Thank you so much for praying! It means the world. πŸ™‚

      October 12, 2017 at 9:05 am Reply
  • Naomi

    Love this list, thanks!
    You should listen to “The Rain Keeps Falling” by Andrew Peterson and
    “When It All Goes Quiet” by Melissa Otto. Love those πŸ™‚

    October 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Thanks for the recommendations Naomi! I will! πŸ’•

      October 13, 2017 at 2:05 pm Reply
  • Katherine, Forster

    I *love* Garrels, and I’ve recently started listening to Foreman and Fraser. I’ll need to look up the others! I second Naomi, too – The Rain Keeps Falling is probably AP’s most beautiful song thus far.

    October 13, 2017 at 2:41 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      I know! Garrels is so amazing! I listened to “The Rain Keeps Falling” and it really is so so beautiful! πŸ’•

      October 14, 2017 at 8:43 am Reply
  • Moriah Simonowich

    I love “Psalm 91: by Sons of Korah! Thank you for this list, Ana. Music is soothing to my sister and I — we were both diagnosed with Lyme 10 years ago. She is really struggling much worse than I am right now… Can’t wait to share this post with her.

    October 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm Reply
    • Ana Harris

      Aww… I’m so sorry you’re both struggling with Lyme Disease. It’s such a brutal illness. I pray you both find hope and healing. πŸ’•

      October 15, 2017 at 8:40 pm Reply
  • Christine

    Love the Sons of Korah! Also Michael Card’s “Job Suite” is another good listen for hope and encouragement for sufferers.

    October 17, 2017 at 7:15 pm Reply
  • Jason Zimmerman

    I will definitely look some of these up. Music is such a comforting tool.

    October 22, 2017 at 7:45 am Reply
  • Jason Zimmerman

    Also, you look so beautiful in that picture, sister. I love your smile.

    October 22, 2017 at 7:47 am Reply
  • Chloe Mackenzie

    Josh Garrels and Jon Foreman are AMAZING! I have seen them both live and always wind up in tears. I agree, CCM does a pretty terribly job at addressing suffering and lament. I would also add NEEDTOBREATHE at the top of the list!

    October 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm Reply
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