How We Deal with Suffering is a Decision That is Up to Us

It Helps a Lot When We Decide to NOT do it Alone

There is a lot of suffering out there, whether it’s illness, abusive relationships, someone taking advantage of someone else, or death. As hard as it is, these things are all a part of life.

It’s easy to get caught up in the struggle and pain of these situations. We wonder, why do these things happen. This is a question that we won’t be able to fully answer this side of eternity.

Even though there’s suffering, there are miracles happening around us every day.

It’s up to us to choose which we spend our energy focusing on.

A good example of this is the story of critical care surgeon Dr. Kathryn Butler.

She felt distant from God until she witnessed a medical miracle.

As she worked in the emergency room, she was treating a 22 year old man who had been bludgeoned with a baseball bat in his sleep. His wife, lying beside him, died during the assault and his four-year-old son witnessed everything.

Dr. Butler thrived on the urgency of the emergency room—the chaos, the opportunities to reach people in dire moments. Yet on this particular night she struggled to focus. She kept thinking of his four-year-old son in footed pajamas, and the images of brutality he might never forget.

While wrestling with these thoughts, paramedics rushed in with a 15-year-old boy dying from a gunshot wound. The bullet had torn open his aorta. He could not be saved.

While fighting back tears, her trauma pager went off again. Another 15-year-old boy. Another gunshot wound. This time, the bullet had struck the boy’s head.

The next morning, as she finished her shift, she wandered about as if lost. She despaired over how little life mattered to people. Each of her patients had suffered at the hand of someone who looked at him and saw no worth.

How could God allow such evil?

She had grown up as a nominal Christian. Her family observed certain Christian traditions, but never read the Bible or talked about the gospel together. She understood Christianity to be synonymous with good behavior.

After work, she drove for hours parking at a bridge that spanned the Connecticut River. She gripped the guardrail, tipping her face against the wind, breathed, and felt . . . nothing. She opened her mouth to pray, but no words came.

Doubt led to hopelessness, and hopelessness to despair. She dreamed of eternal sleep, of numbness, of annihilation. Thoughts of taking her own life troubled her daily. She fought the impulse to return to the bridge over the Connecticut River and jump over the railing. Only the love for her husband, Scottie, brought her home each evening.

Months later, Scottie lost his job. While she struggled with the problem of evil, he sought the church, understood the Word for the first time, and accepted Christ as his Savior. Scottie invited her to join him in worship, but she remained disillusioned. When she finally attended church to appease him, everything seemed awkward and foreign.

Later she transitioned to work in the ICU. Among her patients there was a middle-aged man who suffered cardiac arrest after a hip replacement. A lack of oxygen during the arrest had caused severe brain injury and neurologists predicted he would never recover.

The man’s wife and daughters would be at his bedside daily praying for a miracle.

One morning, the man’s wife was at his bedside, singing. As Dr. Butler approached his wife said, “I was praying and praying last night, and when I woke up, I knew everything would be fine. God told me he’s going to be just fine.”

Dr. Butler admired her conviction and her hope, especially since Dr. Butler had neither.

Yet her husband’s clinical data promised that everything would not be fine.

Over the next few weeks his wife continued to sing and pray. The medical staff struggled to conceal their worry. They would shake their heads and cast each other glances that said, “This is heartbreaking.”

One afternoon, he moved his toe. The doctor said, “I’m sorry, but it was probably just a reflex.

“No,” his wife insisted. “Watch.” She put a hand on his shoulder and shouted into his ear for him to wiggle his right big toe. He did.

The next day, he turned his head toward them. Then, he blinked on command. In two weeks, he was awake. In three, he sat in a chair.

At best, the neurologists had anticipated he might occasionally track moving objects. No one expected that his condition would so dramatically resolve.

Medical science could not explain his recovery.

Dr. Butler suspected she had witnessed a miracle. Yet, still wrestled with God. How could He bestow such blessings, yet allow suffering?

Dr. Butler’s husband continued to encourage her to read the Bible. So, she started with the Gospels, then Romans. As she read with a newly opened heart there was unveiled Christ’s love that she had never fathomed.

The agony He suffered for our sake. He had endured heartache and had confronted the face of evil. And He bore such affliction—our affliction—for us. Romans 5:1–8 revealed the awesome magnitude of God’s love for us.

He knows suffering.

The Lord took away Dr. Butler’s despair and fashioned a canvas for His perfect work in her. Just as Christ raised Lazarus so that others might believe, so he redeems suffering—the gunshot wounds, the mourning, the lost jobs, the despondency beside bridge railings—for his glory.

In his mercy, he descends to buoy us up, and to complete miracles we cannot comprehend. He pours blessings upon us every day, but also the hard nights, and every breath in between.

What’s important to remember is that we don’t have to go through these difficulties alone. There is God, family and friends to help us through.

It’s up to us to believe.

A Hug Will Make It All Better

There’s Hope in a Hug

Last week I wrote about struggles of life…loss is one of the biggest. Losing can be; divorced parents, a spouse leaving, a child moving away, or the death of someone close. Grief is the response to loss, particularly someone or something to which a bond was formed.

Comfort that can be found on God’s lap when we’re grieving.

We all grieve death in different ways. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. It’s harder for some than others. We each have to do what works best for us.

The important thing to remember is that grief pushed down inside and left to fester will become an infection that will eat from the inside out, if not dealt with.

Like any other injury the healing will hurt but is worth the pain in the end.

Prolonged or extreme grief often comes out of a feeling of hopelessness. The sense that things will never be right again. This feeling is certainly understandable but doesn’t have to be the end. There is hope!

Christians have the comfort of knowing that death is not the end. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 we read that there is more to come after this life. My grief comes from not having shared this message with others before it was too late.

Hugs have the same healing power as a lap.

One of the best ways to share hope is through hugs. This doesn’t even have to be a physical hug. We can hug others through a kind word or action as well. We can share God’s hugs here on earth.

It’s like there’s some magical transference of hope with a hug.

I’m looking forward to having God’s arms wrapped around me and Him whispering in my ear. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE ALRIGHT.

My Hope Is in God…Not in the World

This Includes Technology 😊

The world around us is amazing. The things we can do with computers and smart phones today was the things of imagination fifty years ago. But these things are limited, like every other worldly thing.

If we put our faith in worldly things, we will be disappointed.

This past week’s church service had some “technical difficulties”. This left some gaps in the message, which I think speaks directly to the message. We so often put our faith in the things rather than God.

This doesn’t mean that we should let the difficulties of the world get us down. This pain we go through is like the pain of childbirth. The reward on the other side of the pain, makes the pain worth it. Romans 8:12-25

We can choose whether our focus will be on despair or hope.

There was a family that had a father and son both working in a coal mine. There was an explosion, the father was killed, and the son maimed. The family choose to focus on hope rather than despair. They were so serious about this that they changed their last name to Sperondeo, which means, “my hope is in God”. The son went on to do amazing things with his life.

Faith in God is more than blind hope. It is trusting in something bigger than yourself. It is the act of believing and trusting God. This kind of hope is like breath is to life. As long as we have hope, life is worth living. We are not alone. Hope in Christ is the secret ingredient to life

Put your hope in God…not in the world!

What is it Like to be Alive?

This is a Question as Old as Time

There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. Many people feel like what they’re going through really isn’t living. Life has always been full of difficulties. It’s up to us to decide if we’re going to live life or curl up in a corner.

A woman whose son was gone to war received a visit from the Army, informing her that her son had been killed by a land mine. She was uncontrollably distraught for days. On the third day she received a phone call…it was her son. HE WAS ALIVE! The earlier message was a mistake, the son she thought was dead was alive.

This is the Easter message…SURPRISE HE’S ALIVE!

When the women went to Jesus’ tomb they were filled with grief and sadness. They had watch Jesus die on the cross just a few days earlier. When they got there the tomb was empty and an angel told them that He was alive. They were very happy. The angel told them to go spread the word and they did. Matthew 28:1-10.


We don’t understand the value of LIFE until we are sitting by a tomb. We don’t understand the value of LOVE until we have stared hatred in the face. We don’t understand the power of HOPE until we have experienced the darkest despair.

Easter is all about life. God’s grace is found in the empty tomb. It is the victory HOPE over despair, LOVE over hate and LIFE over death. For Christians, every day is Easter.

Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Hallelujah, He shall rein for ever and ever.

Check out Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus here. World’s Largest Virtual Hallelujah Chorus