I’m in a book club that meets monthly, and our August book was Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. I enjoyed the book immensely but found one particular passage spoke to me above and beyond the others.

“The wave of dysentery had not abated, our isolation ward notwithstanding. It took more than a bit of soap and water to kill the dysentery germ. With little emetine for the treatment of the amoebic strain and sulfa unknown to us for the bacillary type, we had to trust that the patient was physically strong enough to be purged with salts repeatedly, then starved in an attempt to cleanse the system, stop the diarrhea, and allow the inflamed intestines to heal. When a measure of relief had been attained, rice water was given the patient, and later plain rice porridge. If the diarrhea remained under control, the patient graduated to plain rice in gradually increasing amounts. It was one thing to use such drastic treatment with adults who understand the why, but or the little ones, it was cruel. Sometimes it was almost not to be endured. O God, was it not awful- the pleading, hurt, haunted look in the eyes of the small ones, whimpering not able to understand why they were being thus treated? The agony of the mothers, not being able to feed their sick babies, was almost unbearable. The eyes of the mothers took on the same haunted look as they clutched their little ones to their breast, rocking back and forth, crooning, and whispering words of love until sleep eased the stomach cramps and hunger pangs. I had to encourage the mothers to believe that their children never doubted that they were loved. When like these little ones, I didn’t understand God’s dealing with me, I prayed, ‘Be patient, Father. Forgive my tears and whimpering. Just let me feel your arms of love about me; then my heart shall understand. I shall stop questioning and know that You mean it unto good.'”

Evidence Not Seen, by Darlene Deibler Rose

Within a day or two of reading this part of Darlene’s story our community found itself in mourning once again. Several of us met together at our weekly meeting and tried to reconcile the repeated losses our group has faced this year with the God we know and love. As we all shared our thoughts and struggles this passage from Evidence Not Seen pushed through to the forefront of my mind.

Just like the mothers of the sick children from the book, God did not make us sick (or cause the circumstance that is bringing us pain) but is the one providing the care for us we need in order to heal. As he rocks us and holds us close, His eyes take on the same hollow look as ours. He mourns and suffers the loss right along with us (John 11: 33-35), promising all the time that He will use this suffering for our good, that we won’t suffer for naught (Romans 8:28; James 1:2-4).

This is a truth the enemy doesn’t want us to believe. The enemy wants us to believe that God causes our pain by “allowing” it to happen to us. He wants to shift the blame from Himself to the Lord and make us question who God is and if He is trustworthy after all. But friends please hear me when I say this, that ideology is nothing more than a scheme of the enemy.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 147:3

God is a loving father, a perfect father. He will never cause you pain. The hard truth is we live in a fallen world, a place full of disease and brokenness. We ourselves are fallen people in desperate need of a our Savoir Jesus. He died on the cross for our sins so they are paid for, but that doesn’t mean they stopped after we accepted Him. It just means that God began a work in us. Until that work is brought to completion (upon Jesus’ return or our arrival in Heaven) we will experience trials and pain. Sometimes this pain might be a result of the brokenness within us. Other times we may face circumstances that are a function of the broken world we live in. Other times still we may face trials that are a direct result of our choice to serve God above all else (persecution). Regardless we have to set our minds and hearts on the truth that GOD is NOT the cause of our pain but the SOLUTION to it (Psalm 147:3). Our enemy is Satan who has dominion over the Earth for now. Our ultimate hope and trump card is found in JESUS who has already defeated our enemy, already won the war. As we battle day to day let our hearts cry be, “Come Lord Jesus!” And until He does let us remember who our true enemy is and use every difficult circumstance and painful loss he brings against us to fuel our fire for battle against him (Ephesians 6:12).

I’m looking forward to leaning more into God’s truth about our suffering over the next two or three weeks as the Lord just keeps bringing new and deeper understanding to my heart in this area (His provision in the midst of what has truly been the most difficult year of my adult life) and I’m excited to explore the topic more with you. Check back in over the next few weeks for more on suffering and what God’s word says about its source and how He is the answer to all our pain.

With love,

Chels

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