Tag Archive: Suffering

4 am Lights and an Object in the Road

4 am Friday. I got up to use the restroom and crawled back into our cozy bed.

person standing beside car
Photo by Artem Saranin on Pexels.com

“Thwack.” I didn’t know where the soft sound came from. Was it inside? Then another soft “thwack,” and another. I realized the sound was coming from outside, so I walked to the window and looked through the blinds. Oh no! An ambulance at the home of our neighbor who has a brain tumor. Doors opening and closing. Going outside, I asked her husband what had happened. Evidently she suffered some sort of seizure.

Thankfully, our friend is home from the hospital today, worn out, but no new news from an MRI.

Later that day I received a text that the husband of one of my best friends had been in a serious bicycle accident and was airlifted to a local trauma center. Medically sedated, he became agitated during the night until doctors inserted a chest tube to help his bruised lung recover. Don’s and my prayers and tears were flowing – for both injured friends, for both families.

flying red and white helicopter
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

How do we respond when such sad news enters our lives? I can’t imagine what it would be like not to be able to talk to my loving Father, Abba (“Daddy”) about these dear friends’ suffering. So often I want to DO something – whether it’s sitting beside a person, listening to them, flying to another state to support them. And each of these can be important and helpful.

But healing is not in my hands. It is in the Father’s, and He tells me to come to Him with all my cares, because He loves me. (Hebrews 11:5) And He has provided medical personnel to operate, assess, diagnose, watch closely over those in their care. And I can pray.

Saturday I called a dear friend and asked her to pray with me for these two and their families. She shared a hurt she and her husband are going through for a close friend of theirs. What a privilege to be able to come to God together, in tears, to beseech His watchcare over those we love.

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

Matthew 18:20, NIV

I’m amazed at my girlfriend’s strength in the midst of her husband’s bike accident and injuries. “The thing is,” she said, “we know we’re going to be taken care of, one way or another.” Thankfully, it doesn’t appear this is the end for either of our friends, but, because of our trust in what Jesus did on the cross, in taking the penalty of our sin and granting us life with Him, we know that “the end” here on earth is really “the beginning.”

Jesus died the death I deserved so I could live the life of freedom He has for me.

The great scholar and “reluctant convert” to Christianity, C.S. Lewis, found love late in life with Joy Davidman. She was diagnosed with cancer shortly after their marriage. He wrote about the great blow her death was to him in his book, A GRIEF OBSERVED. While he went through a period of turmoil and questioning God, he later was able to say the following.

Sometimes the pain is to awaken us — to the realities of life and death, to awareness of our priorities (as it did for me during the illness and death of my first husband). Sometimes it’s to awaken others as they see the faith with which we respond during suffering, the grace God gives for the long haul.

What’s on your heart this week? Family, friends in need? I’d love to join you in prayer for them.

Suffering is not Optional

Fourteen years ago I spent five months with my first husband in a hospital in Florida. Most of that time was in Intensive Care as he struggled to recover from a liver and pancreas transplant.

I had to wrestle with some tough questions from friends and colleagues:

Why is this happening to you? You and Jerry are “good people”.

 Jerry was a faithful servant of Christ’s—why him?

What is God’s purpose in our suffering?

When others asked me these questions, I was able to share that as believers we are not exempt from suffering in the world, from the effects of sin and illness. Suffering is not optional; we all experience it in one way or another … difficulties at work, challenges with children, loss, illness, financial struggles. I met with a new friend for lunch this week and we agreed that everyone has a story. Another dear friend has just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  

If, as followers of Christ, we had everything going “right” for us, everyone would want to follow Jesus just for the benefits they would gain. But God has called us to follow in good times and bad. He told us that in this world we would have trouble, but not to despair, because HE has overcome the world (John 16:33b). One day everything will be made right, and what a day that will be!

God has not promised to spare us, but He has promised “never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Heb 13:5, NIV). He has committed to walk with us in all the paths of our lives, especially in the “valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4, NIV). And when those who are watching us see us trust God in the midst of tears, when there is hope despite agony, they begin to wonder who this God is.

After Jerry’s death, I struggled with ‘what if’.

What if he hadn’t had the transplant? Would he have lived longer?

Could the doctors have done anything different? Would a different hospital have resulted in a different outcome? 

What if everything I believed about salvation and heaven was a lie and I’d never see Jerry again? If that were the case, there was no hope—I might as well just die too.

After three weeks of intense and private struggle, God brought the scripture to my mind where the apostle Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68, NIV).

Somehow that statement of faith from Peter settled my mind and heart – the work of the Holy Spirit! And while I continued to grieve and to heal over several years’ time, the question of who I could rely on was resolved for me.

Are you hurting? Is someone you love in trouble? Have you lost hope? Look to the One who allowed Himself to be nailed to a cruel, horrible cross so that we could have forgiveness, hope, life. He knows your pain, your fear, your hurting heart. And He wants to love you through it. He might do that through scripture; through family or a dear friend. He loves you!

“Casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.”

I Peter 5:7.