My family was at a wedding a week ago; all of my five kids, my grandchildren and me. Quite a feat. It was almost three years since we had all been together. What a joy for this mama.
Only one of my five is married and she is in the middle of it with teaching her kids and taking care of her family and two dogs. She’s a fantastic (exotic) cook, too! Her husband is a military man, and he’s the best! Then my sons. One is just out of the navy. One is in the tech field and one works as a truck driver for a trash company. All are hard workers and I’m pleased with their efforts to make their own way. My youngest is in college and works at a job in the video game field. When she and I visit a restaurant, park, or store in town, people come up to her and ask her questions. They recognize her and usually want some advice on this game or that. She seems to be noticed wherever we go. It’s quite the experience for me to see my youngest make her mark in the world.
I wish they all lived around here. Alas, they don’t.
None of us likes to suffer. Yet all of us suffer at one time or another. Pain is part of life. A few weeks ago a much-loved Christian woman from my hometown was involved in a vehicle roll-over and did not survive. The Christian community was stunned. She, her husband and their family were on a mission’s trip where they were going to help in an orphanage in Mexico. Their family has made many such mission trips over the years.
I was talking with an acquaintance who knew the woman in the fatal accident. She said the words we all think at times like this, “I don’t know why God allowed this to happen. We don’t know why.” She shook her head in sadness. I had written the draft for this blog post a few days before the passing of our Christian sister. Its words were fresh and I thought about them as we spoke.
Three Reasons for Pain and Suffering
When You Seek, You Will Find
A couple months ago a friend and I were talking about our pasts when she said something surprising. She told me she could identify the exact time in her life when she learned to talk with God and to listen for His answer. We have been friends since I was in sixth grade and she in fifth grade, so I was more than remotely curious.
A few years back.
“What happened?” I asked.
The words written by Henri Nouwen in this thoughtful book, Life of the Beloved, helped a friend of mine through a trying time in her life. She later shared Nouwen’s book with me. “Beloved” is a warm term to describe the relationship of God with His children. Henri Nouwen wrote this book for a friend at his friend’s request. His friend wanted something for himself and his secular friends that would describe what Nouwen had found in his religion, written specifically for those whom do not understand the relationship component of “God with Us.” This is a warmly written book, almost fatherly in its calm treatment of the spiritual, much like a teacher will do with a skeptical student when the teacher goes in through the back door to approach a difficult-to-grasp concept. It reads like a personal communicant on God and how God fits into real life in a personal dimension. Spiritual in tone, this book is not about religious practices or the deep yearning, and it is not about doctrine or an intellectual pursuit. It is about what it means to be a beloved child of God, someone who finds their value in God, and not through doing or in prideful acts.