So why am I at such a loss right now? Why am I finding NO words to comfort or encourage my friend?
You see, my friend received some bad news a couple of days ago. She fought breast cancer... and we all thought she had won. Instead, the doctors found four malignant nodules in her lungs.
My friend and her husband have spent today considering how they will tell their five children, ages 6-19, that Mom is sick again. No matter what, this is bad news.
I don't know what her treatment options are at this point. I don't know a specific prognosis. I just know that my heart hurts for my friend, her husband, and their children. What pain they are facing!
In a search for understanding, I reread my recent post about my own infertility and how I've learned to trust God, even in that pain. I can envision that God has a reason for that pain, even when I can't understand it. I can hope that good will come from my infertility, somehow.
But it seems a cruel thing to say to my friend and her family that good will come from her cancer...that God has a reason for this pain. And I don't believe God inflicts us with painful events/circumstances. He can use even horrible circumstances for our good, but He doesn't create them for us.
I have prayed for this friend for many months, and will continue to do so. I will pray for a miracle, which I know God can do. I will pray for peace that surpasses all understanding, because peace is certainly not what one would normally feel in this situation. And I will pray that God will give me words that comfort and encourage, lift-up and hearten, perhaps even inspire.
In the process, I pray that I will deepen my understanding of the interaction between God's grace and love and the universal experience of human suffering. How should I, as a Christian, respond to instances of human suffering? How can I bring the eternal truth of the Good News when someone is confronting bad news?