Finding Hope in the Midst of Suffering

by Bethany Murray August 3, 2016

As I sit here quietly while my little boy naps, I remember that day one month ago so vividly. On that day I realized that I was miscarrying our second child. It was the child who we had been dreaming of and planning for after receiving news that I was expecting. This was the child who we could not wait to meet. This was the child to whom our little boy would become a big brother. They would play and grow together, becoming the best of friends, I had hoped. But in a matter of minutes, those hopes and dreams were gone.

I have grieved much since that day over the fact that, in God’s original plan, this was not supposed to happen. Before the Fall in Genesis 3, all babies were to be born into this world and death was no such thing. But as sin entered the world, miscarriage and all other suffering entered the world. Suffering is everywhere and inevitable. The phrase, “these things should not be” has constantly entered my mind in this past month. Not only in my own suffering but also in suffering around me. Just this week, as I have watched a local family bury their six-month-old daughter. These things should not be. As we have watched some of our dearest friends fight a long, hard battle of infertility. These things should not be. Tim Keller has made the point that Christians actually have greater room for sorrow precisely because we know that in God’s original intention for this world, these things should never have been. But because of the entrance of sin into the world, we do experience these tragedies and we will experience them until we are one day with Christ. But from the beginning, these things should not be.

And while this phrase consumes my mind these days, I also keep coming back to, “but God”. In Ephesians 2, Paul is writing about the nature of those who are not following Christ. He tells of the condition of believers before we began walking with Christ. But in verse four, he brings in a conjunction that brings us hope. Verse four tells us that “but God being rich in mercy”. That small conjunction, “but” tells of our saving grace as believers. It shows that although we were far from God, He extended grace and mercy to us. This same conjunction has also ministered to my soul in the midst of the many things that should not be. As stories of suffering pile on top of one another and fill my text threads, I know that these things should not be. BUT we hope in God. Psalm 43 asks, “why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” This is the natural response to the things that should not be. But as Psalm 43 goes on, we see the supernatural response to these same things. We preach to ourselves, “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” This verse reminds us that miscarriage and all other suffering in this world will not have the final word. Because of Christ and His work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, one day we will be freed from all suffering and sin. As we hope in God, we look to that day when our suffering is no more and the things that should not be will never be again. We fix our eyes on the promises of God and His Word. Thanks be to God that He is our everlasting hope; a hope that exceeds any of the hopes that I have for my family and my children.