This is Hard.

Grief is hard.

While the rest of us can return to our lives and, for at least a few hours, forget, my brother is faced with his new reality every moment of every day.

The loss of his beloved, now a single daddy...

Reality is hard.

I want to know God and part of knowing Him must involve reconciling what I see around me to what I know of Him through His Words.

The seeking results in ideas and wonderings that reverberate through my heart.

You have walked with me through many of my searchings in the darkness. Will you join me for a few more?

Does God send suffering? Does He send pain?

Some would recoil at the idea. 

But why? We see pain result in good all the time in our world. Go to any hospital and look around.

I talk with my youngest brother about this.

He of the scientific bent points out that many things that sometimes have "tragic" results are very important to the existence of the earth, even to our own existence: without wildfires, ecosystems would collapse; without seismic and volcanic activity, our earth could not refresh itself; hurricanes aid island ecosytems; the gene mutations that sometimes produce cancer prevent us from all being clones.

The Bible seems to suggest that God does, at least sometimes, send bad things:
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life...But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. ~ II Corinthians 1
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." ~ John 9
Perhaps, though, whether or not He sends them doesn't matter. 

Bad things happen.

If God doesn't send them, He certainly has the power to stop them. Yet He chooses to allow them to happen.
Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't. Either way, we're for it. (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed)
Either way we are left trying to reconcile these things with the God that we know to be good.

We are left trying to reconcile the hurt with His heart.

There are tears everywhere and God catches them, puts them into His bottle.
God is always good and we are always loved. Loved enough to be shaped into goodness of Christ Himself. (Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience)
This reconciliation is hard.

How have you done this? How have you reconciled these hard things with the character of our God?

Will you join me next week as I search through these ideas even more?


  1. *hugs*
    Praying hard.

    How to watch someone you love go through the shadow of the valley of death. How to let them know you are there, that you care, without unintentionally wounding them with words that are not needed . . .

    Oh my friend . . .
    I am praying hard for all of you.

  2. Thank you, Meredith. You spoke truly: careful discernment is needed to know when to speak because mostly we should just be with them...silently.

  3. Elizabeth,
    Your words in the middle of the pain are so powerful and penetrate to the core questions of mankind. I loved, loved, loved your quote in the linking article from CS Lewis- "Of course he's not safe. Who said anything about being safe? But he's good. He's the king."

    Recently, a quote that has been rocking my world has been- "For the Christian, this life is as close to hell as they will ever get. And for the sinner, this life is as close to heaven as they will ever experience." Especially in times of loss, I hold tight to the promise of the life after this one.

    Praying for you and your family,

  4. Thank you for your prayers, Jamie. We always need them!

    Too often we Christians are encouraged to gloss over the filthy things of life with a shiny veneer instead of being real and honest about the tragedies we see around us. Just because we have the expectation of a victorious end doesn't mean that this life is free of pain and loss!

    Who said that quote of yours?