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Response to Suffering

This is a special Tea Time Where I share two writings from my children that demonstrate God’s grace, strength and love for us through our suffering.

Author: Ben Newman

Here’s something I wrote today for all of you, friends and family.

Then I felt it again
Something not felt since the death of a close friend.
A feeling no words could emote.
A sudden loss of hope without a way to cope,
A sinking feeling of emptiness inside your chest,
That comes with the death of a beloved, parent, lover, child, friend.
Hell even just the loss of the above is unbearable, painfully horrific and life changing
An empty vacant space that no other name could take the place felt inside your heart,
the feeling when all is gone and that relationship that you held so tightly is lost forever.
And you’re left in a blinding light of pain or abandoned in a crippling darkness.
Often when I lay my head to rest at night, I fight demons hidden in plain sight and try to find an adequate amount of sleep.
And in this translucent state
When my body is asleep, but my souls is awake
I see the names and faces of my beloved ones
And I visit the places where they’ve too felt this overwhelming feeling of loss.
You help me see the light in life and cling tight to my fraying ropes of hope.
Show me how to cope and keep me afloat
In this shipwreck
“Never stop treading water” said the captain to the little boy as the sea swallowed their ship behind him.
I seek shelter and refuge in our common suffering.
I often wonder whether I just surround myself with tortured people, or if we are a tortured species.
I see how much suffering exists and amongst it all we move on.
I see it in the lonely widow lying still blinded by pain in her big empty bed with a cat lying by her head.
In the young mother whose lover abandoned her and their child in the darkness of the night.
Spread his peacock wings in flight, his sight set on his own selfish desire for human flesh (Not that peacock wings get you far anyways).
In the street wanderers whose spirits I pass by daily, suffering, crying out for just a hand to hold or a flower to smell.
And I tell you this, friends:
I take on all of your pain as part of my own struggle.

six months gone-

Author: Rachel Newman
6 months. 183 days. 263,520 minutes.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve lived through that many days or minutes or seconds without my Dad. It is a weird mix of emotions. Sometimes it seems like it’s been forever this way. And then other times it seems like he was just here yesterday. It seems odd that he missed birthdays and holidays and new life phases. Some days I try to operate out of a mindset where I simply can’t talk to him. He was just busy or out of town or…something. That seems to soothe the pain and anxiety for a little bit. However, in reality the loss of my dad left me with a huge wound. The pain is so great. The loss is so unbearable.

In many ways, I have to re-learn how to live. I have to figure out how to function in my fatherless world. It started out in little ways like who to call on my way home from work in the afternoons. I also would catch myself wanting to tell Dad things that I knew he would find interesting. But as time continues to pass, I keep having to figure out new ways. Where do I go for advice? Or comfort? How do we function as a family again?

As I’ve been struggling through, the Lord has taught me about utter dependence on Him. Before I could rely on my Dad or myself for so many things that the Father ultimately gives. In my sinful heart it’s so easy to run to the tangible. Granted, the Lord gave my father as my earthly authority and protection. But I was mad at Him when He took him away. I didn’t want to depend on Christ. I wanted my Dad back. The Lord in His sovereign mercy continues to show me how He alone is enough. He provides the best protection, comfort, and love.

Over these past months, I have also found ways to stay connected to my dad. I find myself doing things like him. Cleaning, grocery shopping, doing thoughtful things for others. I find him in the everyday moments of life. I think I honor him most by living out of the things he taught me.

Here is a brief sample:

• Make friends with your car guy and the UPS driver
• The Three A’s of Prayer – You can pray anytime, anywhere about anything
• The story of Balaam and the donkey – “If God can speak through an ass, He can speak through me”
• You have to be a friend to make a friend

The greatest thing my dad taught me was about how to love. He loved God well. He loved others well. He daily lived out the gospel in front of me. Dad was an example of a servant leader. He modeled Christ in the way he sacrificially gave to others. He saw people right where they were. He accepted them and walked alongside of them to get to another place. I saw him do it over and over again, and I experienced it as his daughter. I’m so thankful for God’s grace in my dad’s life and death. I can’t wait for the day when I see my precious dad again in the presence of my Father.

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