For My Friend Suzanne

I watched from afar. We shared this journey. Me first than you. We cared for our husband’s during long illnesses. We watched as they entered glory.
Tim and John met once. Do you remember? I was working in Salisbury opening a new store. Tim brought the Harley up and we rode out to your beach house. I believe it was a divine meeting. The start of an eternal friendship.
You are now where I was nearly three years ago. Beginning to learn how to live without the husband of your youth. But like Tim, John left you a gift. A profound understanding of God’s love. An understanding I find difficult to explain to others.
So many people ask where God is in suffering. But those of us close to men like John and Tim saw Him. We saw Him in the way these men rose above their affliction. The way their lives became enmeshed with God. In their suffering, they embraced Him. And God became so real to them and those of us watching.

Where is God in the suffering? I love Philp Yancy’s explanation in his new book The Question That Never Goes Away:
From Jesus I learn that God is on the side of the sufferer. God entered the drama of human history as one of its characters…in a most intimate and vulnerable way… We are right to protest against violence and injustice, and right even to call God to account…We cry out for God to do something for us, whereas God prefers to work within and alongside us… God has chosen to respond to the human predicament not by waving a magic wand…but by absorbing it in person…From Jesus I learn that God is on the side of the sufferer…
I wish I could take away your suffering. The path you’re on is so familiar to me.

But since I can’t, I’ll choose to be on the side of your suffering. To enter into your pain. To hold onto it and share it because I long to be like Jesus. To be vulnerable in the most intimate way.

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