Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thoughts on suffering

We are part of a small group through our church and meet weekly to hang out, do a Bible study, and pray. We LOVE our small group -- there are 12 people ranging in age from mid-20's to mid-40's and there are many different stages of life represented. We have been with this group for about two years and receive so much support and joy through it.

Anyway, I've been feeling fairly emotional these last few days. I'm sure the fast approaching AF is the main culprit, but her friend IF is always hovering nearby waiting to pounce. Early on at small group we were just socializing, and two women next to me brought up another young couple at our church.

"Did you hear their good news?" one said in a voice that conveys it all.

"Oh yes," the other responded with big smiles.

I sat silently nearby, glad that I was not part of that brief conversation. I felt that tightness in my chest that accompanied all (3) of the pregnancy announcements I have heard about since we started TTC. I wished they were having their joyful conversation about me and my DH...

We began our Bible study, and discussed suffering. Strangely, it felt really painfully nice to talk about, kind of like listening to a sad song when you're blue. A key verse of the passage:

"'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind? Jesus answered, 'It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him." John 9:3

As the conversation swirled around me and people shared their own experiences with suffering, I was moved to feel deep, deep empathy for those I know who have suffered. So much suffering does not have an explanation here on earth: our dear friends who lost their teenage son to suicide 3 years ago, a woman in our church who lost her 34-year-old husband to cancer and is raising her young daughter heart was breaking for them last night. Yet, somehow, I was also moved to see that God is at work, and to truly believe that Christ is worth these sufferings on earth.

One other example of suffering came to mind last night. I read this aloud during our prayer time together, and my voice trembled with the beautiful and painful truth I saw in these words:

About King David losing his son:
"On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, "Behold, while the child was yet alive we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him that the child is dead? He may do himself some harm. But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead...then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped." 2 Samuel 12:18-20a

Afterwards I laid in bed reflecting on these passages and how this ties in to my own struggle with infertility. Tears of joy and sadness silently streamed down my face for a long time. Joy because even as I hurt right now and I know deeper pain could lay ahead, I still believe in God's work and I still worship him! And sadness, of course, over my infertility...Jesus wept when his friend died, David was in anguish as his son was dying, Joseph wept loudly over his the betrayal of his brothers...even as they walked faithfully trusting God, they still felt the pain. Somehow, the glory, worship, and pain seem intricately woven together.

And, I realize, my words cannot convey it all.


Caroline said...

Hi Hillary,

Thank you for your beautiful post. Strangely enough I have been thinking about suffering lately too. Sometimes IF hurts so much that you just have to embrace the emotion and stop trying to fight it.
You are a great example of someone who can remain faithful even through difficult times.
I am thankful for your friendship and example.

Sarah said...

I found this pretty quote and it seemed to connect with your last post on suffering.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was within me an invincible summer."

Suffering in silence is so hard when it comes to IF. Would you ever bring it up to your bible group? Or are you trying to keep the IF news on the DL?

Mary said...

AF seems to be popping up everywhere lately in the blogging world. Soon you guys will have your own good news to tell people. And you will be stronger from it. Your faith gives me faith. You impress me as a person, Hillary.

♥Tabitha said...

Thank you so much for this post, I really needed it!

Find joy in every journey said...

Beautiful post. I love the verses you chose. There is so much suffering in the bible. I really believe that the Lord uses IF to bring us closer to him. My faith has really been strengthened through my journey with IF, which sounds like yours has, too.

andrea_jennine said...

Lovely post!

(My feed reader apparently stopped processing your blog, so I just now caught up on about 2 months worth of posts...)