Saturday, April 30, 2005


Why pain?

For the past two years, our family has been on a trek that has been defined by pain, joy, anger, and despair. Watching your daughter suffer through two brain surgeries, 6 months of chemo, various therapies, and hope only being answered by disappointment will shake a parent to the core of their soul.

As I write this, I'm watching Maggie lay through the after-effects of another seizure. They wipe her out. Within the next two - three weeks, she'll be scheduled for a highly advanced MRI that should isolate the hot spot of her seizures. Having that information will likely lead to the removal of the right temporal lobe of her brain.

Many people have asked me how all of this has effected me. I've grown closer to my wife than I ever thought possible. I've sat in my office for days and just cried, not getting any work done. I've noticed the tone in my voice become very tense when I talk with my kids. We've made it through financial hardships due to the wonderful kindness of others. Praying to God, I've lashed out in anger and been thankful that we are exactly where He wants us to be, all in the same prayer. I've longed for our family to return to a normal way of life, struggling to come to terms with this new normal. I've come to realize that this new life that God has for us is so much richer than what we ever had before. There is no safer place than we are right now - exactly where He wants us.

Meanwhile, my daughter has layed in bed praying that she won't have another seizure as she goes to sleep. She's cried herself to sleep countless nights that her hair would grow back and that people wouldn't call her a boy. Its' been a long haul for her and its' not over yet, even with finally being declared cancer free.

So, why pain? I'm convinced that God begins to show us His true heart through suffering. He longs for us to communicate with Him on a real, personable level. Lash out at Him with anger and frustration and in another minute, you'll be crying to Him for help. That's prayer. Its' real communication. Its' transparent communication. We do that when we are suffering. Our guards are down and we are reliant on Him and His body for help - we can't do it all ourselves any longer. That's where He wants us so we can be molded. If we are transparent with others at the same time, we show others that the Christian walk is never an easy one. God never promised us a life of ease. He did promise to comfort us.

So, relish where God has you and be thankful that He loves you enough to bring you through such a journey and show you a glimpse of Himself that very few others will ever get to see. No matter what happens, hold on to the fact that God is good.
Rob, I cannot even imagine the difficult times your family has faced with your daughter's illness. It is a testament to your strength and faith that you not only endure the struggle but draw strength from it. My oldest daughter was very ill at birth and spent almost a month in the intensive care nursery and it was not certain that she would survive. She did, but there were times I didn't think I would. I cannot imagine what you and your family are going through but know that your friends are thinking of you often and that you will get through this. This is what makes us strong.
Rob, I've followed your trials with your daughter for awhile now and have always been in awe of your strength, your faith and your courage. I am now more so after reading this powerful sharing of your thoughts and feelings. Know that by sharing these very personal words you have bestowed a powerful gift to anyone who would choose to take from it the wisdom you show.
Rob, thanks for your testimony. I can see that your faith in Jesus Christ is big. It is such a delight to see other Christians making Jesus their first thing, not the blessings that they receive or the good life that they may have. When we make Jesus our first thing, then all the other second things follow. David in the Psalms also cried out in anger to the Lord, but he always ended in praise to the faithfulness and goodness of God. I see this same love for God in you. Once again, thank you for your testimony.
Thanks for sharing this with us Rob. Very real and very true. I pray your daughter continues her recovery and that you all continue to find God's peace.

Your article points out the stumbling block for many Christians. In the face of trials and pain, it's hard to keep close, and cling to Him in the midst of the pain. It's not easy when you hurt. But in a sense you have overcome by fighting the temptation to run from Him. Congratulations. I hope many are inspired to do the same by reading your article. I certainly am.

God bless you and best wishes.
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