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Written in Tears

April 7, 2011

Tim Challies reviews Written in Tears by Luke Veldt, the story of how he and his wife unexpectedly lost their 13 year old daughter in Spain as a pastor and church planter.  Challies says:

Rather than write at length about a short book, let me share just a few meaningful quotes:

I hope. I believe. I know. I think. That hope is my anchor, the one certainty in an unsure world; it’s the huge gamble on which I’ve staked my life. Some days I’m as sure of it as I am of the ground I’m standing on. On other days, I wonder if I’m just trying to talk myself into something.

Sometimes people of faith have a hard time remembering that suffering was an excruciatingly painful process for Job. ‘The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord,’ we quote Job brightly—forgetting that when he said it he had shaved his head and torn his clothes and that a few days later he was sitting on an ash heap, covering in painful boils and cursing the day he was born.

What those who have suffered loss understand is that … fears are not irrational. We know that a 99.9 percent survival rate means a devastating loss for one family out of a thousand, and that your love of God is no guarantee against that one family being yours. We come up against the indisputable conclusion that the faith we were resting in before was based largely not on the providence of God but on statistics.

I believe that God is good.

I don’t believe that it’s appropriate for you to tell for you to tell me so when my daughter dies.

When my daughter dies, it’s my job to tell you that God is good. Until I can do that, don’t be like Job’s friends. Offer your support, and wait in silence.

Don’t try to make the pain go away. The pain doesn’t go away. Hurt with me.

The … reason you should hesitate to share your thoughts on suffering with grieving friends is that they may already understand it better than you do, may be experiencing it at a level you have not, may be asking better questions and demanding better answers. It’s not that the information you have to offer is necessarily wrong; it just may not be relevant. Maybe you should be listening to your friend instead of offering advice.

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