Love Through Suffering

Sometimes I wonder how any of us truly survive in this world.

Yes, I know. It is ultimately God. Still, there is such brokenness, such hardship, such tragedy, despair, violence, and deprivation in the world that I'm really awed at how resilient the human spirit is.

I truthfully wonder at times how it is I've endured all that I have in my own life. I think if you've suffered to a great degree, or perhaps to any degree, you'd ponder this yourself. And perhaps you do.

I understand.

Everyone has their own thoughts, beliefs, and explanations about such things. Everyone has their go-to responses. But how do you look someone in their weary, red, tear-stained eyes and so easily explain away their struggle or hardship?

How do you look into the wounded eyes of someone whose childhood was filled with abuse, betrayal, neglect, or rejection and assure them God cares? That He always has?

How do you move so quickly past the many long, difficult, exhaustion-filled years of ones debilitating illness to encourage belief for better days?

How do you genuinely touch a broken heart that's lost someone so precious and dear inside of twenty minutes?

How do you reach past the hurt, turmoil, brokenness, suffering, and injustice of a persons life to spark real enduring hope?

How do you? 

I understand that many issues can be involved but how is it that we can oftentimes be so causal and dismissive about the suffering of others? How is it we even do that with our own suffering?

Could you let down your hair
Be transparent for awhile, 
Just a little while, 
To see if you're human after all.

Honesty is a hard attribute to find, 
When we all want to seem like
We've got it all figured out.

Well let me be the first to say 
That I don't have a clue, 
Don't have all the answers,
And God knows I pretend like I do.

Just trying
To find my way
To find my way
The best that I know how.

[Trying by Lifehouse]

I think the words of this Lifehouse song best describe how we often feel around those who always seem to have "the answer." And let's be honest; we, as Christians, can come across this way at times. We can hide behind religious rhetoric and act like we've got it all together and know everything there is to know.

The truth is, there are many biblical references that exhort us to examine ourselves and stand in truth and transparency.

The truth is, we can't always make sense out of what happens; we don't have the answers to all of life's questions, and we don't always know how to make everything better. Sometimes things happen that can't be neatly explained. Sometimes the truth is extremely painful and the only way to deal with it is head on. And sometimes there are just no words to match the heartache.

Truth is, we can't fully know the depth of what another person has endured or gone through in their life without investing genuine time, compassion, and understanding. Even at that, only God really knows the extent of it.

And truth is, we have to come out of our personal comfort zones to support someone who is suffering. It can force us to examine our own hearts and perhaps even our long-held beliefs. And it can stir up unresolved issues we're still carrying around too.

Jesus cares deeply about all of our suffering, heartbreak, and pain. He not only cares, He wants to help us through it. He wants to hold us close during these times and love us with His everlasting love. And He doesn't dismiss or belittle our suffering. Rather He wants to love us all the more deeply through it; patiently, tenderly, completely. He really sees us and understands the truth of our struggle.

We're scared but His love is safe.

We doubt but His love is sure.

We hold back but He loves without reservation.

And guess what?

We're the ones He desires to love people through. Us. The question is, will we let Him?

Instead of telling people how much Jesus loves them how about we actually start showing them. How about we truly love them. That is being Jesus with skin on, so to speak.

In my opinion, the only real answer is to love; especially through suffering.

Love purely without trying to sugarcoat their circumstances. Love deeply without trying to give personal advice or quote Scripture. Love sincerely in the silences without trying to fill in the gaps. Love tenderly without opinion. Simply and genuinely love.

Now I'm not about escapism. I believe in facing reality and dealing with our stuff. I also believe we are each ultimately responsible for working through any healing processes that are needed. And I believe God can help us do that. However, in those times and in those moments when we're on the front line of peoples suffering, when they're really hurting and in need of comfort, when we're holding their hearts so to speak, lets not dish out pat answers or casual comments. Let's not throw platitudes around. Lets simply love them where they are.

That's what we all need.

~ Michelle

Michelle Holderman 
Copyright © 2012


  1. What a beautiful post, Michelle. It's funny because I think you are absolutely right He loves us with an everlasting love, yet we can't always make sense of it all. I posted a kinda negative blog a couple of days ago on how I was feeling because sometimes it's too easy to question everything and forget that we don't need to know all the answers. We just need to trust Him. Thanks for the reminder and blessing.

  2. Ginny, I always appreciate you stopping by. I just read your post you spoke of and left a comment on your blog. I'll just say here that I truly appreciate your honesty.

    Living with Lyme is very difficult; that's for sure. It is, however, comforting to be able to rest and trust in Him; even without knowing all the answers to our questions. You're a blessing to me too! Take care of yourself. (((Hugs)))

  3. Michelle...
    What you wrote here is so filled with wisdom it is hard to take it all in at once. I am one who will sometimes write a response or give a quick answer or even advice...mostly unwanted that can be flippant or diminish what the person is going through and what they really need is someone who understands and listens. This past week we have had emails and phone calls concerning several who are struggling with Lyme or looking for doctors. You have given me pause here and have me reflecting on how I responded to them. And the trusting without knowing all the answers...oh boy do I need that. I always want to know why and figure things out before I can feel at peace and not worry...that does not really work with Lyme or life for that matter!
    Yes, Michelle...that is what I need too..just to be loved where I am at. Bless you for speaking from your heart to ours.

  4. Renee, I've been guilty of doing that before too. I think we probably all have. I've learned a great deal through my own personal experiences concerning this. I'm sure we could all share some stories. But I think people just want realness. And it is a learned thing to know that we're just not always going to understand life nor God. But I've come to see that He's more interested in our trusting Him more than He is our always understanding Him. That's my two cents :)

    Bless you, friend.

  5. awesome post Michelle.....sometimes it's hard to believe the resiliance of someone who'se managed to come through so much. People say that about I know it's Him....He softens the tough stuff...His amazing love somehow breaks through the hate..the hurt...the pain. Stay strong inspire.

    1. Nikki, I somehow missed replying to your comment here. Its only been two years...LOL...but I wanted to say thanks for your words. Seriously. You have a deep understanding of this I know. You inspire many by sharing your story. Thank you, friend.