Life is precious and fragile and painful; yet in my God, there is hope.

Olivia’s photo at our front door, with peonies, which fittingly represent healing and life.

Sometimes there is no explanation for tragedy except that we live in a fallen world.

Recently we marked the first anniversary of the loss of our dear friends’ daughter, Olivia. We still keep her photo up in our living room as a reminder to cherish every day we get with our children.  And today, I cried through yet another miscarriage with a friend.  I have almost heard about as many miscarriages among my friends in the past few months as I have heard about successful pregnancies.

I do not know why God has created me to feel others’ losses so deeply (as I leak tears onto my chest while typing).  I just do.  So many things on this earth make so little sense to me.  How could a family that wants a baby so badly lose a child?  Why would God allow Olivia to drown?  And don’t get me started about all the other injustices in our world, such as hunger, and child prostitution, and slavery, and corporate greed, and … (that’s me getting started and now stopping myself).

I really do trust that my God is a good God.  I know it deep within my soul because I’ve seen it time and again.  I just walked through an amazing miracle in Greg’s uncle’s life, where we prayed for an inoperable cancerous tumor to disappear, and it did.  (The doctor’s could not explain it, but I can.  Praise Jesus!)  Today, despite the news of loss, it is my mom’s 60th birthday, and I’m so thankful and blessed to have her around and healthy.  I love you, Mom.  And I’m sorry that the world now knows how old you are.

I believe that God wants to bestow the best blessings on us, ones that we wouldn’t even know how to ask for because his plans are better than ours.  The only way I know how to walk through these sufferings is to remember that Jesus suffered in my place; that as a parent, I could not imagine loving others so much that I would allow my own child to suffer and die to save someone else (as God did with Christ).  And I have hope that God uses all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.  (Romans 8:28)

I think one of the greatest things I’ve learned by becoming a parent is how to walk alongside those who are suffering.  I look in those precious little faces of my children daily and am reminded how much I could lose at any moment.  When someone I know is going through a tragedy, the best thing I know to do is love on them and serve them.  I cook for them.  I pray with them.  I shed tears for them.  I am honest with them when I am at a loss for words, because I know saying nothing at all is worse than saying the wrong thing.

Until I am in heaven, suffering and loss will be a part of life on this earth.  The Lord gives and the Lord allows things – precious things – to be taken away.  Even so, blessed be the name of the Lord.  I thank Him for the hope He gives me.  (Job 1:21, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 5:2-5, Romans 12:12, and Romans 15:13).

For A, J, J, and G.

3 thoughts on “Life is precious and fragile and painful; yet in my God, there is hope.

  1. We lost our six year old son two years ago to a brain tumor, and since then my faith has taken a big hit. I, too, struggle with understanding why such terrible things happen to anyone, much less sweet innocent children. As shaken as my faith is, I feel that God put amazing friends in our lives to help us through Joey’s death, and even now as we move on with our lives. Thank you for sharing your prayers. I will hold your friends and their daughter in my heart.

  2. Oh wow, Kathy. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can feel the emotion in your note. I’m so thankful that you can see how God gave you friends to help you through Joey’s passing. I think our friends take a lot of solace in knowing their daughter’s life meant something and has a purpose, despite how short it was. They started a foundation in her memory. You can check it out at if you are ever interested. I will keep you in my prayers, and ask that God will show you new mercies daily to draw you back to Him in a real and powerful way.

  3. This is a world of tragedy and pain. It is also a world of joy and fulfillment. It is my conviction that God is present to us in both worlds. The question always is how these two worlds can exist at the same time. There is no easy answer. The closest I can come to it in my own experience is that only a world of freedom could create that possibility. How could we choose good if evil did not offer us a choice. Creativity always comes out of chaos.

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