Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Redeeming Suffering

Several weeks after Chance's funeral a sweet friend from church stopped me when she spotted me across the church isle.

"I want you to know I have been praying for you. Specifically, I have been praying that God would reveal to you the purpose in Chance's life."

Reading a card from the sweet hospital nursing staff the day of Chance's birth. 

And with that one simple sentence, her prayer became my prayer, too. I had never thought to pray this prayer, but in that moment, it sounded so profound. And it sure sounded like a good way to to turn this tragedy back to truth.

So I would pray day after day after day, "God, please reveal to me the unique purpose in Chance's short life. Show me. Make it known the purpose in what currently feels like constant pain. Give some meaning to this, Father."

I was overwhelmed and somedays overtaken by the reality of our experience and I learned quickly that amidst all my racing thoughts, I also had to ask the Father to clear my mind, my head, in order to make space for His answer. This was so key in my ability to listen.

Sarah Young writes it Jesus Today "Your racing thoughts make it hard to hear My gentle whisper," and she pairs this thought with 1 Kings 19:12. . .

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

My earthquake had come. The fire had blazed. But now, the day my friend stopped me at church, I was sitting in the space, the aftermath of the storm, where I could choose to focus on the gentle whispers of the Father.

So I kept praying and searching and asking and listening.

And over time I heard His reply.


The purpose in Chance's short life and stillbirth and burial is the sweet reminder of the promise of Jesus. The promise of heaven. The promise that there is so much more to life than the day to day grind that so easily bogs down my heart and my head.

"When you think of Chance, may you always think of Me. When the world hears of Chance, may they always be reminded of Me."

Such a tender answer from a tender God.

Although I don't believe that God wanted Chance to die, I do believe that He allowed it to happen for His good and His glory. For His greater purposes. For the pointing back to His son.

And while this belief does not remove suffering or instantly heal the hurt, it does redeem it.


So my prayer for you this Christmas season, for those of you going through your own personal earthquake or blazing fire, is that you can find purpose in the pain. That you can clear your mind and still your heart to hear the Lord's sweet, gentle whispers. That you can look at your circumstance through eyes focused on the cross. And that the Lord will grant grace and peace by redeeming your suffering and covering it with meaning.

So to our Father we join hands and say. . . Enter our hurts, Lord. Redeem each and every one. Breathe fresh perspective into our hearts that are aching today. Instill hope where there is none. Permeate the calloused areas. Give us your gentle whispers. Break down walls that have been erected out of pride or bitterness or anger or utter saddness. Show us purpose. Point us to Jesus. Redeem our suffering.


  1. Christmas presents yet another parallel with your story as God knew fully well upon Jesus's birth that his death was imminent... and that to fulfill his purpose, he HAD to die. I know you know this, and I know it doesn't take away the hurt, but hopefully it's of some comfort that He knows your pain in such a unique and personal way! (Semi-relatedly, have you ever heard the song "Born to Die" from Shane & Shane's Christmas album?)

  2. I have been thinking of you and Chance a lot lately, knowing you had just learned of your pregnancy with him around the holidays last year and knowing you likely envisioned what this Christmas would be like, picturing him as a part of the family. I hate that he isn't here in your arms, but I'm grateful that your suffering has been redeemed and I'm thankful you are able to share this message with others who are suffering to offer them encouragement. Keep sharing it, always!

  3. I get chills just reading this. I kid you not, any time I've read your words about Chance's story I think this: JESUS. His whole story--the beauty, the brokenness, the tender wisdom that you share--it all speaks of Jesus and glorifies Him. What an amazing God we serve.


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