On Suffering


We hear questions roll from the lips of a three-year old. You may be going to the store, or to the bathroom and the curious little mind wants to know why.  I encountered a sweet little four-year old recently who had already experienced some difficulty in her short life.  Her mother was simply asking her to eat some of the food on her plate, and she answered aggressively "Why?"  It was more of an exclamation really.

Don't we do this as adults?  As adults and believers?  The first time my world was shaken was on December 17, 1990. My cousin and best friend Leah was on her way home from school.  She was going to come and get me; I was going to her band concert with her.  She had earned first chair.  I kept calling and my aunt kept answering, growing in her own concern.  We received a phone call that she had been in a wreck and that things didn't look good.  My mom and I took my aunt to the hospital; we arrived shortly after she died.  I remember clearly my aunt screaming "Why!"

Only my cousin's car was involved in the wreck.  It had been lightly raining. It is suspected that Leah swerved to miss a dog in the road and lost control of her car.  I know we all wanted answers.  We found later that her seatbelt had been faulty; she always wore one. But the answers helped no one.  She was still gone.

What causes us to ask questions?  It's not mere curiosity as it was when we were young children.  Maybe we think it will help if we understand why; like we have a bit more control of the situation.  Maybe we are trying to fill in the blanks. Maybe we don't know what else to do as life as we know it has ceased.

But even if we get answers, it doesn't lessen the pain.

If you listen to the news, there would be reason to ask why time and time again. You have your own personal pain.We hear of children dying. Abuse. Broken families. Senseless death. Cancer.  I know my world was shaken again when my mother was told she had cancer.  We have all had quakes in our lives, times we wanted to know why.

My mother called yesterday with tragic news.  A young lady very dear to my heart drowned.  I taught her in Mission Friends, Vacation Bible School and in second grade.  We wrote letters to each other as I moved away.  I'm heartbroken; for myself and for her friends that were with her, and most of all for her family.  I know there will be an investigation to try to sort out exactly what happened.

Knowing won't be a consolation.

Only knowing and holding to God will get her parents and her brother through something devastating like this.

On this side we may find little comfort, but we still won't understand.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part; then shall I know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

-1 Corinthians 13:12,13

Hayley now knows God in his fullness while we're still here broken.  Any answers or even wise words will not comfort her family. The love of God, in part by us will be the answer. The answer isn't in the reason.  In faith and in love we should pray for Hayley's family and for others burdened in sorrow.  We have to pray that they will trust even though their faith has been shaken. And instead of looking for answers, let's pray that these hurting souls will hold unswervingly to God.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day.

.......Be still and know that I am God.

-Psalm 46: 1-5, 10

Connect with me through e-mail www.kristiburden@gmail.com


6 thoughts on “On Suffering

  1. Memegriffin

    Kristi, you are so used of  God with  your comments.  You and Jason are such wonderful Christians and are a blessing to everyone who  knows you.        Love, Meme

    1. Kristiburden

      Thank you.  God is so good.  I understand his goodness more, the longer I serve him.  He's worth sharing. Miss you!

  2. Fayebledsoe

    Our great grandson is nearly 3 and always asks "why" about everything and now we have the big "why" since his daddy died this weekend.  It is sad but we know God is in control.  Julien told me last night that his daddy is in Heaven and I told him that because of Jesus he will see his dad again someday. 

    1. Kristiburden

      Faye I was so sorry to hear that this weekend.  So much tragedy.  And you're right we're not in control, God is.  We have to trust him even when we don't understand.  Praying for Julien and the family.

  3. This news was tragic to my ears also. My sister was very close to Hayley when we lived in Iredell. I'm hoping that God will use this horrible mess for good in the lives of those she impacted most.

    1. Kristiburden

      My prayer is the same Caty.  It's heartbreaking for so many.  It's our job to take the broken pieces and hand them to God trusting he will bring forth beauty.


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