Grace in the Face of Suffering


By Lauren Webber, RN

The Faces of Suffering. 

This would be the title of the Times magazine news spread if they had chosen to highlight the 100-day national physician strike in Kenya. Thousands upon thousands of innocent lives suffering needlessly at the hand of bureaucracy, injustice, and corruption. Both sides pointing fingers, but neither listening to the silent cries of the vulnerable. Such is the state of our world today, where so much injustice and suffering goes unhighlighted, or is overshadowed by the next day’s news. In such a world as this did the God of the Universe slip in, unnoticed, and take on the suffering of this world so that we might have Hope when darkness threatens to undo us. In such a world as this does He continue to weave threads of Grace through a tapestry of broken strands.

This is when the missionary transitions to the part of the update that highlights God’s grace in the midst of limited resources and broken systems. I could share a miraculous story of a patient who survived the odds of tragedy and explain how God is in the business of healing despite our limitations. I could. And HE IS. But, the little girl pictured above did not survive, and her family is facing life with a massive void instead of her hopeful future before them. Her life deserves to be acknowledged as much as the lives of the ones who pulled through and have full lives ahead of them. And, so I ask you to look at her, to see her humanity, to see her innocence, and to mourn with her family that is waiting for the day they will see her again. 

Please, sit with us in the suffering. 

So, why do I choose to highlight death when we are coming up on Easter and celebrating new life? Because, to be honest, death is still all around us. Brokenness is still all around us. Injustice, cruelty, bigotry, and darkness still surround our everyday lives regardless of what corner of this world we live in. There is no escaping it. But there is a way through it. There is a way to face the bleakest miseries and the deepest sorrows, and still have Hope. There is a way to face the hardest days, and through tears still rejoice. John 1:5 says, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” In the midst of a broken world, Jesus has come to breathe new life into our souls. He has come to reverse the unraveling process that began at the fall and persists through every strand of our lives today. He has come to repair the torn edges and bind our wounds with grace. He has come that we might see beauty where all others would see brokenness. He has come to give us new life that we might be confident of redemption – a promise that one day all things will be resurrected and made right again. Brokenness will not have the final claim on our existence. He has come and defeated death, so that we might have new life.

Which is why we press on…
to walk with those who are suffering,
to shine light upon injustice,
to lend voice to the voiceless,
and to share a Hope that cannot be stolen through death.

Lauren Webber, RN, is married to MedSend physician assistant Derek Webber, PA-C.  The Webbers serve in Kenya.


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