Cul-de-sacs and Bridges

Posted on February 7, 2024
Tags: grief, helper

A Christian blogger I follow recently posted a heartbreaking update to living with her painstaking illness. What was hard to read was the profanity in her post title and the absence of Scripture in her lament. She said (in a few more words) that she was not suffering well. My heart sank as I continued to read her post and hear her grieving heart through her honest words. I quickly prayed for her comfort.

What this post spurred was a genuine conversation between me and Tricia. Our responses as we processed this post were different from one another. We both felt how honest expressions of suffering can sometimes make us uncomfortable. And as such, suffering causes our hearts to reach for a respite and solution. But in which direction will our heart move? As helpers and sufferers, do we respond through our wisdom or run to our familiar comforts? Or do we turn to Christ, our Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6) and Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3)?

One of my favored illustrations about suffering describes how easily we get caught up with the world’s solutions to our pain, trying and testing the options repeatedly. But this pursuit leaves us in a holding pattern, in other words, like driving in a cul-de-sac. Oh, how I have lived this looping and hopeless path. But Christ does not leave us in our unceasing state of circles. He gives us the only way out: Himself. We see this throughout Scripture with the bridging word, yet.

We see this in Jonah’s pain in chapter 2:4-6

Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O LORD my God.

We read in Habakkuk 3:17-19

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
he flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.

And in Job 19:25-27

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!

Oh, how our Lord loves us. As helpers, we can embrace these biblical truths, reminding us that our sufferings and those we care for have a way out of the “cul-de-sac.” May we never forget the bridging “yets“, the promises of Christ in our pain and infliction. And please, join me in prayer for those who desperately need to hear the gentle but lifesaving yets. God’s promises are the only remedy, reminding us our pain is temporary; we can fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen, the eternal glory and future in Christ (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

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About the Author

Tanya is a certified counselor with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) and co-founder of the Reproductive Loss Network. She also serves as Director of Client Services & Education at a medical pregnancy clinic outside Sacramento, CA. She leads a team of Reproductive Grief Care Advocates who provide care and support for men and women experiencing loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth, hysterectomy, infertility, and abortion. Tanya also serves as a biblical counselor at her local church. From her extensive years in training and advocacy, she is passionate about sharing her expertise through her work at RLN where she is devoted to increasing awareness and care for reproductive grief throughout churches and community organizations.

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