Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Where is the God of love when suffering occurs? That question resounds in the moans of human history. Even an agonized Joseph Smith pleaded in his prayer, "O God, where art thou?" (D&C 121:1).

The God of perfect love is a God of perfect wisdom, and he is nearby. But his plan permits suffering in his universe. Without apology, he keeps sending his spirit children into the thick of things. In his long view, suffering makes sense. It can never make much sense to us, however, until we see things his way.

Oddly enough, our vision sometimes improves when our conditions worsen, creating an occasional windowpane, or window of pain, in the veil. A paralyzing problem can bring the stillness that causes us to pause and, for a change, reverently look at the whole scene, which is the smallest scene we can trust.

--Wayne Brickey "Making Sense of Suffering", p.1.



                                                        Daughter of Jairus, Joseph Brickey


I absolutely love this painting by my favorite LDS artist, Joseph Brickey. The agony in the mother's face--she does not yet see the Master at her door. The father's faith in bringing Him, yet uncertainty in his face as he sees that his daughter is actually gone. They don't know yet how soon their anguish will be turned to rejoicing.

I wonder why the Savior delayed His arrival until this point? He knew the pain this would cause--knew He would only remove it within moments.

Nine and a half months have passed, yet there are so many things I still don't understand. I know that Jesus Christ suffered this grief that I feel--my specific, individual pain. But I don't understand how exactly that helps me right now, since I still have to pass through it. My "windowpane" is frosted, I guess. My mind can look at the whole picture and see that this is to refine me and prepare me to be in the Lord's presence. My testimony is strong and I know that this will be made right one day. But my heart keeps screaming, "It's not fair! It hurts too much! Why did this happen to me?" My emotions still rage and overpower my rational mind sometimes.

The knowledge that I crave--the reason for this suffering and how Christ's Atonement will help me in it--is worth more pain to me. I don't want to stop hurting until I understand it. Maybe that sounds crazy, but I feel like I have already passed through this much, it will only be worth it if I have learned what I need to learn.

One thing I do know is that the Master's delay in righting this wrong will make it so much the sweeter when it does come. I looked forward so deeply and joyfully to Benjamin's birth--like Christmas morning times a thousand, I used to say. Resurrection morning will be like Christmas times infinity!


snbjork said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle, I think it is wise of you to have such a burning desire to truly understand all of this. There are so many things in life that are incomprehensible (or so it seems) to our finite little minds. So many things we can't truly wrap our brains around.

I'm so thankful to be a member of the Church and to have the gift of the Spirit in my life. Without that gift I really don't think I could cope when times got hard for me or my family.

I'm grateful that your testimony has remained intact through this great challenge and that it is being strengthened! You are an awesome example to me of love and patience and learning. I just cried when I saw the beautiful picture you posted. As you said, you can see the deep anguish in the mother's face. I know that you know exactly how she felt.

Thank you for allowing me to grieve with you. I love you.

Andrea said...[Reply to comment]

I love your insight, comparing that to Christmas morning. Good Comparision. I am glad that you openly share how you feel. It helps me.