“God’s treasure is abiding. It lasts. It goes beyond death.”
I saw this quote on Desiring God’s Instagram last Tuesday. It had a way of reaching into my soul and hugging me close, comforting me with it’s truth. I happened to read it on a day I needed it most. Five years ago on that day, my husband had come home to tell me that I needed to get to the hospital, that my mom only had 24 hours to live. It’s impossible to not re-live that day and the 12 days following it that my mom did live.
Tuesday was a hard day. That afternoon my oldest daughter had an eye doctor’s appointment. The office is located directly behind the hospital I had driven wildly and recklessly to five years before. At my daughter’s appointment, it was confirmed that she needed glasses. Something she was elated about. Had she been upset, I would have been on the floor in tears. Why? Because she already has cochlear implants and the processors sit on and behind her ears. Anyone who knows me also knows that I love her implants and praise God for them. Rarely do I get emotional about them. Tuesday was one of those days. My girl already can’t put her hair behind her ears with how the processors sit. Did you read that? My 8 year old daughter cannot put her hair behind her ears to get it out of her face. Something just about any little girl can do. She can’t wear headbands without it making her processors or the cords or her hair sticking out funky. Let’s just add glasses why don’t we. Let’s make it impossible for her to wear a headband like her little friends at school. All I could do was think about how her ears were broken and now her eyes were, too.
It made me long for Heaven.
When God created the world and created humans, He created perfect humans. He created us to live in communion with him and fellowship with one another. We were supposed to be at peace and to enjoy God, with His supplying our every need. Earth was supposed to be paradise, sustained entirely by God’s power. We weren’t supposed to experience pain. We weren’t supposed to suffer from cancer or from other diseases. We weren’t supposed to be deaf or blind. We weren’t supposed to endure infertility and see specialist after specialist and take every kind of medicine just to create a new life. We weren’t supposed to have babies with birth defects that require 17 machines to keep them alive and surgeries upon surgeries to sustain their lives. We weren’t supposed to be raped and murdered, or blown up by terrorists. We weren’t even supposed to have locks on our doors. The reason it is so hard to experience pain and death is because we were never created to experience it.
The serpent deceived Adam and Eve, they questioned God’s goodness, decided what was best for themselves, ate the fruit, and brought sin into the world. What was once perfect and whole, was now broken. The world… and their fellowship with God. In His great mercy, God didn’t snuff their lives out that instant. But the world was now cursed. Everything from then on would be done by the sweat of man’s brow.
There is suffering all around us. Pain does not discriminate. Tragedies. Disease. Affairs. Lies. Bankruptcy. Mental illness. Hunger. Abuse. Death. A whole spectrum of suffering. If we let the enemy deceive us, we will question God’s goodness while we suffer. Or, our suffering can compel us toward Christ. When my mom was baptized a few months before she died, she shared her testimony. She said, “Though my body is growing weaker, my faith is growing stronger.”
Every grief we experience in life gives us an opportunity to either smite God, or cling to Him. To question Him or to trust Him.
Romans 5:3-4 says, ”Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” We will have trials and hardships, but we can suffer well. Suffering well doesn’t mean we don’t hurt. It means we know that God is for us and our hope is in Him alone. Our hope is in eternity with God in Heaven, where there is no more sickness and no more pain, no more suffering and no more tears. Just communion and fellowship with God in paradise (Revelation 21:3-4).
When our daughter was three months old, we learned she was profoundly deaf. Her ears were broken. At first, I shook my fist at God. I angrily asked Him why He would do this to me. I questioned His goodness. In a still small voice, I heard truth… He wasn’t doing this to me, He was doing this for me. For my good, and His glory. Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that we will have tribulation on earth… but to take heart because He has overcome the world. If we suffer well and trust in God’s goodness, our hope is not in this fallen world. As long as we are here, we are constantly going to be fixing the broken things. Cochlear implants and hearing aids for deafness. Glasses for vision impairments. Chemo for cancer. Medicine and surgeries for infertility. Jail for perpetrators. The list is endless..
Who knows how long we will live, or what we will face. Believer- I encourage you to suffer well. When you are faced with the broken things of this world, trust God’s goodness. Its okay to be upset. It’s okay to shake your fist at him. He gets it. He can handle it. He’s a big God, and your frustrations and maybe even anger won’t push Him away. This was not what He planned, believer. He is with you. He collects every tear of yours that falls. Cling to His truths. He has set eternity in the hearts of man (Ecc. 3:11)… He has set a longing in your heart for Heaven, for wholeness. C.S. Lewis penned one of my favorite quotes, “If I find in myself desires in which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” Our pain and our longing for healing is a desire this world cannot satisfy, only Heaven can. Let your suffering and your pain and your grief make you weep for what was lost when sin entered the world, and let it give you the greatest hope imaginable for what is waiting for you. Long for the place where there are no broken things.
From my trench to yours,