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  • Comparative Suffering

    Comparative Suffering

    It is something you tend to hear a lot when you have endured a time of significant sorrow or suffering: “I know it’s nothing compared to yours, but…” We have a natural tendency to compare—to compare our experiences to another person’s and to rank or rate them accordingly. The person who has suffered the loss…

  • When God Gives Us a Platform

    When God Gives Us a Platform

    There are many ways we may respond to the sudden onrush of some new pain or the sudden onset of some fresh sorrow. There are many options set before us when health fails and uncertainty draws near, when wealth collapses and bankruptcy looms, when a loved one is taken and we are left alone. There…

  • Contemplating Life Without Romans 8:28

    Life Without Romans 8:28

    I have often heard it said that Romans 8:28 is the wrong verse to bring to the attention of those who are grieving, that while it is true in our especially difficult moments, it does not necessarily become helpful until some time has passed. And while I can only speak for myself, it has been…

  • As the Outer Is Peeled Away

    As the Outer Is Peeled Away

    There are many different ways to chart the journey through life. We can do it in life stages, like childhood to adulthood to middle age to old age. We can do it in decades, like teens to twenties to thirties and so on. But lately I’ve been pondering the passing of the generations, how when…

  • Journey

    A Day’s Journey

    A Day’s Journey: Stories of Hope and Death-Defying Joy Tim Keesee In January of 2023, Tim Keesee and I set out on a journey—a journey that has since taken us around the world. Together we have visited twenty-odd countries spread across all six inhabited continents. But before we embarked on that journey, Tim had found…

  • How Joni Eareckson Tada Blessed Me Forty Years Apart

    How Joni Eareckson Tada Blessed Me (Forty Years Ago)

    Joni Eareckson Tada has had a long and faithful ministry. I expect you are familiar with the basic outline of her story—how in 1967, when she was just 17 years old, she was involved in a diving accident that left her paralyzed. In the initial stages of her recovery she stewed in sorrow and self-pity…

  • Behind Your Sorrow

    When You Long to Know the “Why” Behind Your Sorrow

    We have a natural longing to know why. It is the question a child first asks her parents. It is the question an inquisitive toddler asks at every turn. It is the question that has spurred a world of exploration, invention, and innovation. Why? It is no surprise, then, that when we encounter troubles, when…

  • Infants Are Easily Discontented

    Infants Are Easily Discontented

    Infants are easily discontented. They cry when hungry, they cry when tired, they cry when uncomfortable, they cry when afraid. It often seems they cry for no reason at all! Toddlers are perhaps a little better, but they are still quick to fuss and complain, still quick to express every little sorrow and every minor…

  • Memorable Loss

    Memorable Loss

    Is it possible for beauty to exist alongside realities as distressing as dementia and as dreadful as death? Is it possible to write about such realities in a way that is both devastating and encouraging, that is both shatteringly sorrowful and heartbreakingly beautiful? Karen Martin’s Memorable Loss: A Story of Friendship in the Face of…

  • The Calm Will Be the Better

    The Calm Will Be the Better

    There was no silence like the silence that descended over the trenches of Western Europe on the morning of November 11, 1918. At exactly 11 AM, an armistice came into effect that brought a halt to all fighting on land, sea, and air. Never had silence been better appreciated than when that silence marked the…

  • God Doesnt Need You To Do His PR

    God Doesn’t Need You To Do His PR

    A couple of weeks ago I read a story about Tesla. The reporter had written a long piece about the company’s declining share prices and what it might mean for its future. He had written about its eccentric founder and some of his perplexing public comments. At the end of the article he included a…

  • I Want Him Back But Not The Old Me Back

    I Want Him Back (But Not The Old Me Back)

    Christians have a complex relationship to suffering. We do not wish to experience suffering. It is not our desire, preference, or longing to go through times of pain and persecution, times of sorrow and loss. Yet we also know that God uses such experiences to accomplish significant and meaningful things within us. We know there…

  • We Do Not Know Until

    We Do Not Know Until…

    C.S. Lewis famously said that while God whispers to us in our pleasures, he shouts to us in our pains. And, indeed, as we pass through trials and afflictions we find that God speaks his truths to us in fresh and encouraging ways. And then it’s also true that we tend not to appreciate our…

  • Much Will Be Required

    Much Will Be Required

    You know the old adage, I’m sure: To whom much is given much will be required. Or, to express it in the words of Jesus, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” The point is clear: God…

  • Two Years Later: What Aileen Is Thankful For

    I have said a lot about Nick over the past two years. I have written a lot of articles and done quite a number of interviews and even published a book. And I have been aware all the while that I can only speak to a small part of our loss, for there were many…

  • Shaken to Bear Fruit

    Shaken to Bear Fruit

    The strange machine along the streets of Madrid seized my attention. Its long arms reached out and wrapped themselves around the trunk of a tree. Its motor vibrated those arms at high speeds so they could shake the tree violently. Its net sat suspended just beneath the lowest branches. As the machine buzzed and roared,…

  • A Manifesto for Times of Suffering

    A Manifesto for Times of Suffering

    In the relatively early days following Nick’s death, I understood that I would face a number of temptations—the temptation to sink into unremitting despair, the temptation to descend into self-pity, or the temptation to charge God with wrong. I knew also that God was calling me to carry a deep sorrow for a long time…

  • Emerging From Our Trials Unscathed

    Emerging From Our Trials Unscathed

    It’s undoubtedly one of the most-told and best-loved stories in the entire Old Testament. It has all the hallmarks of a great tale—heroes and villains and peril and deliverance. It tells of faithful young men who faced unjust persecution, faithful young men who were sentenced to die a horrific death—to be consumed by flames in…

  • Songs of Suffering

    Joni’s Songs of Suffering

    Few people have a sweeter and kinder spirit than Joni Eareckson Tada. Few people have suffered longer and more consistently than Joni Eareckson Tada. These two things—sweetness and suffering—do not necessarily go together, but by God’s grace they can and often do. They most certainly do in Joni’s life which is one of the reasons…

  • When God Took Away His Goodness in My Grief

    When God Took Away: His Goodness in My Grief

    There is a deep mystery to suffering. While the Bible makes it plain that we must expect to encounter times of sorrow and loss, of trial and grief, we often don’t know why these times come. Though we know he is weaving together a marvelous tapestry that will wondrously display his glory, we also know…