It’s the end of week one and this was one of the longest and hottest summer weeks I’ve ever experienced. Wearing scrubs may highlight the fact that we are health care professionals (or, in my case, pre-professional), but it’s sometimes good at hiding the sweat underneath. Sweat on skin that can’t breathe can feel suffocating in the July heat.
Suffering and grief have been things we’ve all been thinking and talking about lately. I’ve been struggling a lot with the easy, cliche answers that I’ve heard so many times and seen in so many books and gospel tracts. Struggling to the point of anger, maybe. Easy answers will rarely meet someone’s needs, especially when the need is so great. After a health screen is complete or a patient tells us about the things going on in their life that are causing anxiety and depression – after realizing there is so very little that we can do with our own skills or professional training, sometimes it feels so futile and pointless and dumb and irrelevant to ask about their church experience or spiritual life or experiences with God. It especially feels so forced and awkward when the LIFE an individual has been living is a greater struggle than I could ever comprehend. How can I express the love of God when that has been proven time and time again to seemingly be a big fat lie? Do I do this with my words? With my actions? Should I just serve as Jesus would but remain silent, hoping my actions speak for my intentions?
I think the best I can do is pray it won’t be me out there doing the work at all. “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5) has been something the Lord has been growing me in throughout this year, and it is becoming even truer this summer. The best I can do is pray for the strength to love this place and this time, even when I do sometimes want to go back to the comforts of familiar academia and friends and people I can love without trying to. But Christ has blessed me unconditionally this week as well. He’s surrounded me with people that I’m already starting to love, too. Prayers for unity and strength as a team have been answered in excess.
Yesterday, Bea, Haley and I read from John 16.
“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
I really do think God keeps us from understanding things we aren’t ready to recognize yet. Maybe we’re just as unprepared as the disciples were for hearing the full truth about Jesus Christ and the glory of the Kingdom of God, free from figures of speech, parables, and stories. I will never fully comprehend the extent of some kinds of suffering – and I’m okay with that. Is that alright to say? I’m okay with not fully knowing. And I don’t think it’s a type of blissful ignorance that I’m resting in, but rather, a peace that comes from trusting an incomprehensibly good and sovereign God who loves us more than I could ever understand.
P.S. Here’s a picture of some of the sweetest women our team has had the pleasure of meeting this week.
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