When the Battle-Weary Speak, We Listen

by Laura on November 17, 2011

When I read Cody’s comment from last week’s post about the brutal cycle of hope and disappointment, I immediately emailed him and asked if I could share it as a post. This missionary family to Haiti has suffered blow after blow over the past few years, including the loss of their young daughter to cancer and being robbed at gunpoint just recently.

And there’s something weighty, and deeply good, about his words— something about them that caught my breath and quieted my own noisy heart. Cody commented so honestly just yesterday–

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“Wow! This is a discussion that I can really enter into these days. We ourselves have felt like the carpet has been ripped out from underneath us BIG TIME. But it is true that as believers in Christ and His eternal promises, like Scripture says, we are “struck down, but not destroyed, persecuted, but not abandoned, hard pressed, but not crushed.” And we certainly have been all these things.

Having lived through the earthquake in Haiti where we are missionaries, then hear that our 4 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage IV terminal cancer, then to return to the states and live in hospitals and hotel rooms for the next ten months for treatment, then to have her called home to Heaven after all the fighting, then to return to Haiti a few months later, and now we are back in the states because last week our house was broken into at gunpoint and shots were fired through our bedroom door where I had my wife and children hiding behind as the thieves also had 3 guns pointed at me demanding that I give them all our money.

So, yeah, I totally get where you are coming from as far as the confusion or the frustration as to why this happens.

But here’s what I continue to say through it all…and trust me…this is not just some trite Christianese. In the words of Job, “though He slay me, yet I will trust Him.”

You see, the problem comes when we try to make sense as to why these things happen to us but only look at things from a temporal, and often self-centered, viewpoint. That’s where it doesn’t make sense at all and that’s where we can get very discouraged. But as Christians, we must remember the words of Jesus, “In this world you will have many troubles, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.” So, I think our solace and our hope come not from a season, no matter how long or short, of trouble free, all your dreams are unfolding, life is good, but rather from knowing that no matter what happens, Christ has risen, is on His throne, and has promised to take us to be with Him. Here is where all of our hope lies. We can’t forget that.

I understand that we can always try to find solace or confirmation with thinking that you don’t have it as bad as others. But what does someone like me do with something like that. I didn’t have cancer, but even worse, my little princess had cancer and did not survive it. My kids were not safe…they were just shot at last week by evil men who invaded our home and violated us. I cannot find solace in a statement such as “well, at least I’m not as bad as someone else.” Even though I’m certain that that’s true. I’m sure that there are people who lost more than one of their young children to a deadly disease.

But that’s not where we can find our hope and solace. Our hope as believers comes from ONE thing. God is good. It is not trite at all to say this. I think by hearing some of what we have gone through it is safe to say that I am allowed to say such things and not sound fluffy duffy and trite. But it is plain fact. He is sovereign and is in control of everything. And He has a purpose for everything. Even our greatest sufferings, trials, setbacks, failures, etc. He will use it for His glory. We simply need to trust Him in this. I think we need to be careful when we talk about our dreams. Again, sometimes we have a tendency to become self focused when we talk in terms of our dreams. It can be dangerous. The Bible doesn’t call us to pursue our dreams, but rather to pursue Christ, to live for Him and make His name known. And this must be for His glory alone, not for ourselves, otherwise we are missing something here.

Trust me, I know the struggle. And right now, sitting here in an undisclosed location in the states after having to flee Haiti in a moment…again…we wrestle and ask the Lord what He is doing through all of this because we certainly cannot make sense of any of it. And often, the Lord has been silent when it comes to our questions. But we sense that still small voice deep within the core of our being that bids us come as we hear Him say again, “Trust me.”

I will end my “comment” with something that I wrote about after Susana was taken home to Heaven. Corrie Ten Boom writes, “Only Heaven will reveal the front side of God’s tapestry of our lives.” Right now, we can only see the back of the tapestry. It looks like a mess. Nothing makes sense. Colors are random. Knots are everywhere. There is no rhythm or pattern. That is what the backside of a tapestry looks like. But when that tapestry is completed and flipped over and hung out for all to see, the comments are no longer, “This does not make sense”, but rather, “Wow, how incredibly beautiful!” And this, I believe, is what Heaven will reveal.

But until then fellow soldiers…press on. God has a plan…and He does all things well.”  – Cody {read the story of their robbery here}

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I’d love to hear your thoughts on Cody’s perspective of suffering. Actually, I’d like more than that. I’d like to drop a love bomb of sorts on this family right now, recovering in an undisclosed location in the States. I’d love for us as a community of friends and bloggers and missionaries to flood this family with comments of encouragement. A virtual flood.

Here’s what you do: Go to Cody and Maria’s Latest Blog Post and Leave a Comment. Encourage their hearts, leave a Scripture or a prayer or a hope for them. Let them feel the connection of people who care about them, even though we may only know them through his powerful words on a random blog post and a picture I stole from somebody else’s website. Really, will you, please? It’ll only take, like, three minutes, tops.

Cody and Maria / How Can They Hear Blog

  • http://thebossymom.com Susan Hill

    Want some irony? I pasted his comment on my blog because I was so blown away by how incredible it was. I posted every link I could find from your site to fully reference and credit him writing it. Then as I checked my links to make sure they worked, I saw your post. I had already published my post but I quickly emailed him (including my post-link) to make sure it was okay.

    Thanks for showing the link to his post. I will definitely direct those who read my blog to ‘send them a love bomb’. I’m with ya there. Wow. His story and comment definitely made me think and re-focus. Just wanted to comment here to let you know since our ‘discussion’ originated from your post. (Thank you for posting it. Has made a major difference in my situation!)

  • kathi tharp

    Although I have never met u I have been following ur stories and wow what a testimony u have because of all these trials and what a light u shine in my life. Praise God and Thank you for allowing him to use your family to set such an amazing example!

  • http://bahava.wordpress.com Katy

    awesome post and i love that when people have been through job like situations and yet still choose to say those words, they hold weight. praying for you all in this transition and time in the states.

  • http://www.aholyexperience.com Ann Voskamp@A Holy Experience

    I am just weeping here.
    Weeping love for Jesus, for hearts fixed on Him, for the beauty of those trusting Him unwaveringly.

    It may seem trite — but I mean it with ever fibre of my being: *Thank you*.

    All IS grace,
    Ann

  • http://evenonesparrow.blogspot.com rachel @ even one sparrow

    Where are the words to express the pounding, the resonating, the YES of my heart?

    Cody has it right. God is good. Our vision is short-sighted here. But God is good.

    As Americans, we generally buy into the delusion that Jesus promised HAPPINESS. Caedmon’s Call sang, “I mistake my happiness for blessing.” Blessing is not the same as happiness.

    I really cannot convey what his words mean. I will be tweeting this and posting it on FB.

  • The Langstons.

    We are in prayer for you and our church, Cave Spring Baptist has been in prayer for you and your family. We love you and pray for God’s peace to flood your lives.

  • http://www.stumblingaroundinthelight.com Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight

    So many tears & fears & heartache; so many years I tried to comfort myself with, “but some have it even harder…at least Caleb still lives….”

    Yet there was no comfort in those empty justifications.

    Such beautiful truth: The only comfort is in the trust that God is good, God is caring, even amidst the pain and fears.

    Thank you both.
    Thank You, Jesus!

  • http://www.angiewashington.com @ngie

    this is a very good thing you are doing, Laura.

  • http://www.howcantheyhear.org Cody

    WOW!!! Hey, thanks for the “love bomb”. Words of encouragement from fellow soldiers really are a blessing. May we all continue to run the race with perseverance as we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. may He be glorified in all!

  • Tamara

    “The Bible doesn’t call us to pursue our dreams, but to pursue Christ.”
    Amen. And Amen.
    Thanks for the posting, Laura.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com Laura

      Right? Right?!?! Probably my favorite quote, too.

      Beautiful, just beautiful.

  • As white as snow

    An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him LK 22;43

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  • http://www.carriebalvin.blogspot.com Carrie

    Such powerful words.

    Thank you for reposting his comment!

  • Matt Peterson

    Laura,  i’ve  just recently discoved your blog and can i just say “just in the nic of time” :) My husband and i are in China and are going through a difficult time in life and it has been SO encouraging to read such honestly and practical wisdom about this life we live.  I’m excited to be following along. i have a baby in arms now, but this is Heather not Matt. :) too lazy to change it….

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