the pain and the promise


I saw the sign in front of the school this week.

I thought those were such wonderfully kind words for someone who is retiring.

And then I found out that it wasn’t for someone who was retiring.

Her name was Carly. She was in grade 8. Only 14. And she died fighting bone cancer last Saturday.

As I left the school yesterday, I saw her friends and classmates putting up their memorial to her – pictures, drawings, poems, sayings. I didn’t even know her, but I felt my eyes burn heavy with the tears, with the weight of that kind of loss for her family. Oh Lord, I thought, her parents…

“Light of the world, you stepped down into darkness….”  (from Here I am to Worship)

Tonight at our small group, we prayed and sent our fervent hopes to God, our petitions on behalf of a friend and her father. He is in pain, in hospital. Chemicals are being poured into his body in the hopes of destroying a large tumour. Our friend waits, and hopes for healing for her dad. We pray for the same.

“And though the storms may come, I am holding on, to the rock I cling…”   (from How Can I keep from Singing?)

Another friend in the group poured out her pained heart with tears sliding down her face. Her father doesn’t know her anymore. That cruel disease of Alzheimer’s has stolen him from her. And she grieves his death, even while he still lives. For the “real” him, the man that she knew, is already gone.

“There’s a peace I’ve come to know, though my heart and flesh may fail. There’s an anchor for my soul…”  (from I will Rise)

After I got home I spoke with a friend on the phone. Her friend’s 13 yr old daughter was hit by a truck yesterday. She sleeps in a medically-induced coma and is surrounded by prayer. I picture Jesus with his hands cupping her head, bathing her in His light and power.

Oh God, I feel overwhelmed by so much pain in our broken world. The pain of disease, of sickness, and of death of loved ones, taken too soon. I want to scream “Why??” and beat my puny fists against your chest. I find it hard to reconcile the beauty of the earth on one hand, and the incredible pain that I see in the world on the other.

But I know the answer: we live in a broken world. It began with that first act of rebellion against God in a garden, beside a fruit tree.

In our pain, can we turn our tear-stained faces to you, and see you?  And in seeing you, can the pain abate a bit? Does the weight of your glory, can it outweigh the burdens we carry? Or does it sustain us in our pain?

You, the God of glory, who left it all in order to join us in this dark world. You understood… you understand pain and suffering. You were a man of suffering. You meet us in our pain.

I believe that You are a God of miracles. You are the Creator God, who brought something from nothing. You are the God who walked out of a tomb. You are the God who heals. The God who loves extravagantly. You promise to never “leave us nor forsake us” (Deut.31:6).  You promise to be “close to the brokenhearted and save those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:18).

I believe that You are Sovereign. And that you love us so much. And somehow, it doesn’t make sense to our little minds, our limited vision and understanding: the pain we see in those around us, or experience ourselves, but also your great love for us. Please help us to see you, Jesus, in our pain. Please help us to hold fast to those promises in our pain.

Would you also, friend, take a moment to pray for these situations, that God would work powerfully? To pray healing and hope in the darkness?

…  for Carly’s grieving family, for K’s dad, for T who is grieving her dad, for Lydia’s family and for a miracle for Lydia

Love and blessings,


Give me Jesus


6 responses »

  1. Kristin,
    thank you so much for sharing this. I too struggle with the same thoughts. We do live in such a broken world. One of much pain and suffering. One thing I have found solace for during these difficult times is that it often brings unity – even if it is for a brief moment. In schools, people who don’t generally talk with each other will begin to talk to one another about Carly – their memories united about her life. As pain goes through each person who is suffering, it often brings unity to those around in prayer and support. I have seen it again and again.

    But I still struggle with the question why. I often wonder why life is so complicated and such a burden for many – it simply doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it’s the choices we make, other times it’s the cruel actions of others, and yet there are still times when things cannot be explained in this world.

    I am comforted in this post to know I am not alone in my questioning, the pain I feel for others. All I can do is hope and pray that a miracle does happen. It’s generally in these times that I think of Phil. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always.

    I personally don’t think it means to rejoice that bad things are happening, but to rejoice in the good things – even the small things. and this reminds me of the book of awesome – it talks about the small things that give us pleasure, and I tend to take it one step further. To thank God for those amazing moments, like snow days, getting a new crisp dollar bill. Getting into clean bedsheets, etc etc.

    This does not take away from the pain and suffering from others, but it does help us to continue to keep perspective on things. Please know that I am praying and sending warm and healing thoughts to the individuals, family and friends of who you mentioned.

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