Is there anyone alive who hasn’t suffered? Brand-new birth and entrance to this world carries a good deal of suffering with it, albeit joy as well. Yet, the suffering precludes the joy of arrival. We enter this world in the throes of pain and suffering, for mama and baby alike. The pains and pangs of childbirth wrenching at a mother’s body, and the delivery and shock of cold and new and first breaths to a wailing newborn.
This lays in stark contrast to what normally follows next. Before long we’ll find tired, but beaming mama with swaddled babe nursing contentedly at her breast.
Suffering and pain versus soothing and contentment.
Is there anyone alive who has never questioned suffering and pain or pounded fists and wailed, “Why me?”
It may not always come out in this exact way, yet most of us have had our version of this.
If you’re in a place right now of seeking answers and encouragement to help you in the pain, consider these two books.
They’re both stories of suffering and hope. Of lessons learned in the midst of mourning and in circumstances beyond our control. They offer light and finding faith as our tether rope, fixing us to Christ.
Suffering is Never For Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot. Isn’t the title alone encouraging?!
I like how she sums up a definition for suffering to represent it as she talks about it in these pages.
“Suffering is having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have.”
It’s a good explanation. It makes a lot of sense. Whether it’s a plantar wart no one can see, but it’s causing me great pain, or a body covered in boils, or a dark depression, we do not want these afflictions.
It may look like longing for your friend, husband, aunt, sister-in-law, or baby who died. It may be the feeling of forsakeness inside. Perhaps it’s empty rooms in a too-big house as you wander the halls.
The common bond is when we find ourselves wanting or not wanting and circumstances we can’t change.
Elisabeth Elliot walks us through verses she clung to and truths she learned and applied in her life. She shows us what a difference acceptance and gratitude can make in our lives. And more than that, she shows us that God is love, He loves us and we are seen by Him.
Even If Not by Kaitlyn Bouchillion
Three little words, but they carry a huge impact. Kaitlyn shares how much those words came to mean to her along with the symbol of an ampersand.
Her story and words carry encouragement and hope to embrace the messy middle of our lives and each today instead of longing for the ending of our story to turn out exactly how we would write it. To trust God enough to hand it to Him and know He is able.
Kaitlyn faced a brain tumor and surgery and a whole lot of questions and unknown. One of her Even If Not moments. As she states on page nine, ~ “You and I both know God is going to come through but it might not look like what we’re hoping for.” Even If Not.
Truly. In all of our questions, that is my heart’s desire too. Choosing Jesus even when all the answers seem wrong or muddled and suffering presses its miserable fingers in deeply and disturbingly.
Kaitlyn encourages us to cling to Jesus and to share our stories because stories are powerful.