No one wants to suffer. I mean how many of us would sign up for a root canal? Or how about six months of chemo? Maybe you would prefer the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. We all know individuals who are suffering. Right now I know people who are living with illness, cancer, loss of income, divorce, death of a child, emergency surgery, stroke, death of a parent, loss of a friend to suicide...the list goes on. Many of you are acquainted with that awkward feeling you get when a friend tells you the difficulties, they or someone else are going through and you wonder, "What can I do?"
That awkward feeling is replaced by a descent into a dark place when the suffering comes from within your own family. How hard is it for a mother to bury her baby, or her adult child? I have heard it said, "A parent should never outlive their child," but it happens. More often than we would like. What pain does a spouse endure as they watch their beloved sinking into death over a period of weeks, months or years?
i have found in my own experience that some suffering has closure. Death is final. There is no undoing what has been done. It is over. Somehow, that seems easier, especially when you know the loved one is now with Jesus. When, I say, easier, I am not trying to belittle the pain of those who have lost someone. My father passed away in 2006. He spent the last few years of his life delving into the void of dementia. When my brother called me on January 14th at 6 AM, I knew he was gone. I numbly packed my suitcase and kissed my husband and daughters goodbye so I could go be with my mom and help her plan the funeral. We knew it was coming, but death still has a way of leaving its mark. For more than a year, I would feel waves of mind numbing fog. I had truly lost a part of myself.
However, my dad loved Jesus. I know, right now, without a doubt, where he is. I have closure. My dad is worshipping at the feet of Christ and dementia no longer has a hold on him. I still have moments when I allow myself to wrap that cloak of grief around me and remember what I lost, but then I can fold it up and put it away.
No, the suffering, I have found to be much more persistent, much more dank than death is the suffering of hopelessness. Oh, don't get me wrong, I know as sure as God is God that there is always hope, but as a mom, it doesn't get any harder than when your child suffers. The suffering may come in the form of an illness or injury; it might be the dying of a dream for your son or daughter or it may be they have chosen to walk away from the things that you hold to be true and dear. The darker depths are painted with the startling strokes of childhood sexual assault, exposure to addictive drugs, eating disorders, alcohol abuse and many other spiritual, physical and psychological difficulties. Splatter in unplanned pregnancies and alcohol related deaths and a mother's heart becomes worn and she realizes, "I am powerless!"
Yes! I....am....powerless! I am worn.
He is the God that can heal! (Psalm 103:2-3) He is the God that can carry the broken hearted. (Psalm 147:3) He is the God that will have vengeance! (Romans 12:19) He is the God that will bind the wounds. He is the God who does not sleep. (Psalm 121:4) Only He can reach into the past, bring light to the darkness and heal the ragged, gaping injury that was done! He alone is God, there is no other.