"There's only one thing that enables me to accept what I cannot understand about my suffering and the suffering of the world: the cross. I look at the cross and the enormous suffering it represents, and I am humbled and ashamed that I think I could know better than God what is good and right and purposeful. I see that there is a larger plan at work that my heart and my mind can barely comprehend. But mostly, I see that the cross is the ultimate example of God's ability to work all things together for good - even the most wicked deeds ever conceived. And if God can work together the cruel death and enormous suffering of His son on the cross to bring about the greatest good of all time, then perhaps he really can do something good in and through the suffering in our lives too."
A friend and I were talking and struggling with the question of how to reconcile our God, that we know to be completely good, with pain and suffering and the loss of a baby, clearly so far from good? I Peter 5:10 says, "In His kindness God called you to His eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. After you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation." What is the connection between suffering and glory? Nancy Guthrie points out that again and again in scripture, Jesus' death by crucifixion is referred to as his glorification. For example, Jesus said, "The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory" (John 12:23) but this wasn't said as he ascended into heaven; he was heading to the Cross. Unimaginable glory was put on display through the appalling suffering of the Cross. Suffering is glory in God's economy. They are not at opposite ends of the spectrum (as my simple human mind has equated them) but mysteriously intertwined.
I'm blessed and comforted by her words. My entire body still aches for Libby and Blake. They are suffering and we, as their friends, suffer at watching their pain. But glory will rise. I still struggle with what the next days, weeks, months and years will look like. But I know that God is and will bring about a good from this that could never have taken place before Paxten came into our lives. Just as he did when He sent his only child to die on the cross. The glory to come will be worth these wounds. We'll be glad we followed the way of the Cross. One day we'll experience in reality what we now embrace by faith -- that suffering is the pathway to glory.
A while back while talking with Libby she mentioned being so grateful that so many were seeking the Lord and had mentioned that their lives had changed because of Paxten but she also had a fear that it would just be for a while. That this would be something that would eventually fade from people's hearts. Honor Paxten's life and never forget what the Pearson's have taught us. I hope you know the God that Blake and Libby and I know. I pray that you'll seek this peace that passes all understanding as you watch them grieve but not as ones without hope.