And These Are Hard Words…

I pull out those bright, plastic, yellow men that shout–
“Children at Play” to the oncoming cars.
And I see the swarms in our yard and backyard and on the hill behind our house.
Children of life.

But then her email comes…
A heart-friend whose adoption has fallen through.
And she longs for a full house, but
I know that feeling…
That twisting feeling that pinches your heart into a thousand pieces you don’t know how to mend.

And another friend,
A new Christ-follower.
Laying everything down…
She follows Him.
And there’s huge joy and transformation and she gains everything eternal,
But her husband’s job is lost,
And that word–unemployment–it looms large and shadow-like.
And we wonder at the– why?

So just this morning, I wrestle again.
A wife devoted, caring for a husband who cannot live or exist without her.
And her heart jolts with an attack.
And in the pain she dials 9-1-1 but refuses to leave the side,
Of her husband whose own disease wages war against the gift of life.
And out come the questions of confusion.

The stillborn child.
The senseless rampage.
The raging wildfires.
The drought of death.
The wife deserted.
The slain Christ-follower.

And then there is our own story.
One child, so loved, so prayed for…
And because of genes…a genetic code beyond control,
 Our control,
She’s gone.
Not lost…
But gone in that first-sense that could-would bring this mama’s heart comfort.

How do you make sense of all this?
Those “Job days”.
“What I feared has come upon me;
What I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25).
How is God good always?
C.S. Lewis grieved,
“If I had really cared, as I thought I did, about the sorrow of the world,
I should not have been so overwhelmed when my own sorrow came.”

It’s on my wall–
“God is good. All the time.”
I pray you not to shout out Romans 8:28…without 29.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.
For those God foreknew He also predestined,
to be conformed to the image of His Son…”

Yes–God works all things for His child’s good,
And He defines–
Because His heart for His children is that through
The struggle,
The suffering,
The pain,
They will become more like Jesus.
That is the– good.
And I believe it,
But only because I know who He is.
And only–
Because I’ve seen it…
The way He weaves blessings from strands of heartache.

We walked into the hospital with Selah.
We left the hospital with empty arms, an empty crib, and empty hearts.
And I came home and threw my lifeless body on our bed and wept,
A silent piercing cry,
Deep guttural sobs so heavy they choked out even sound.
Weeping in a pool of mangled love.
But then I pulled out Job.
(And that was only God in His grace goodness…for turning my heart there)
I know that.
Because I easily could’ve been that mama full of hate…and hurt…
That warps forever.
And so these are the hard words.
Hard to say.
And hard to hear.

“Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the  offering
Blessed be Your name.”

I can only whisper it to my hurting friend…
But there is nothing more solid-real-comforting I could say.
And today doesn’t make sense as we look on with vision blurred.
The baby she prayed for, longed for, hoped for, dreamed for…
And in a moment, the tides turn, the waves crash,
And the joy is drown by sorrow.
Slicing pain slashes through hopeful-diapers piled high,
And closets with blue hangers and a new name that pours forth meaning and–
A near-three-year-old who whispers prayers for a sweet, new baby brother.
All that–

What words can I say?
Only the hard words…
The solid words.
The words that aren’t just bandaid platitudes, but that point her back to–
Because she knows our Father too…
In that deep way.
And her own words are evidence:
“He will be glorified through us.”
“He has protected us, guided us and now He is leading us still.
So, we will follow and continue to trust Him.”

Hard words to ingest.
But I know she does…
Because she knows God loves her.
And He loves that baby.
And He holds the bit.
And His guiding reins will help her cling tighter to the True Rock–
Cling so tightly that her nails imprint the line.
This is what I’m praying for her tonight.

And for those others who writhe and twist and weep amidst the pain–
I pray their hands will reach out to grip those hard words too.
And that in them they’ll find strength to…
Release and rest,
Grasp and cling,
To our Father’s love-promise.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…” (Lam. 3:21)
That God will cover their faith in His perfect will–
His will to draw blessing from the heartache,
As a path to mold each form and heart and will and being…
More into the image of His Son–
Who lived those hard words Himself.

It would all be different without eternity.
If life was only here and now.
But hard words are rooted in
With Him…
That changes everything.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave…
His only Son,
That whoever believes in Him,
Would not perish…
But would receive eternal life, in Him…
Christ Jesus, Our Lord.”

I know it’s not easy to swallow…
But tonight I pray you’ll drink deeply with us–
And that His love will satisfy your thirsty soul.
That the hard words
Will bring tender comfort…
And sweet balm to any hurting hearts.




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  1. Just beautiful. So much senseless pain in this world. It makes my heart hurt, and yet so, so grateful for a God who loves, who holds us, and who gives eternal hope.

    • That’s the whole solid, hard, rock foundation isn’t it?
      Eternal hope…
      And not just so we can feel better in the middle of the pain, but because Heaven is real and we can cling to that sure hope.
      I’m thankful for you Johanna…always feel like we’re on the same page.

  2. “But hard words are rooted in forever.” Yes. Exactly.

  3. Thank you, Kara. Got word that my cousin lost her daughter today, which makes this all the more real to me.

  4. This is BEAUTIFUL! It takes me back to those days of grief, and then the days of hope that came after. I pinned this so I can share it with those I know grieving when His Words are what they need to hear. Eternity makes forever, it makes it all worth it. And thank you for Romans 8:28 AND 29, everyday the memories conform me to Him (and make it all worth it!)

  5. today when the Hospice social worker came in, she told my grandfather that he has such a great attitude. He replied: “Well, I’m a Christian. I have hope in Christ and know where I’m going.” Praise God for salvation and the hope of eternal life in Him! I look so forward to the day when I get to Heaven – no more pain or suffering, just forever praising the King.

    • Catherine…I love this…your grandfather’s response. I know these have been hard days, with painful meetings and many decisions. Your grandpa’s words are so incredibly beautiful to me–he probably doesn’t even realize the hope they bring…but I love love LOVE being around those with that kind of faith…who see death, but really.. they rest their eyes on the eternal (very real) beyond…of Heaven.
      I’m praying for you…I know your heart is hurting.

  6. Christie says:

    Thank you Kara!

  7. Julia Gibson says:

    This is beautiful. I wish I would have had someone like you in my life when my brother was killed. All my “friends” abandoned me. I know this isn’t much solace, but everything happens for a reason. When my brother died, 23 people accepted Jesus at our church. It was a good thing.

    God bless.

    • Oh Julia…I felt that “catch” in my throat as I read your words…
      I’m so so sorry for your heavy heartache, for the ache that must still be there in that empty spot of love for your brother.
      And then–what an incredible, beautiful, precious legacy…for God to weave those eternal strands of blessing through your brother’s life.
      Wish we could go for a walk-and-talk…

  8. I really needed to read this today. Thank you so much for writing it and thank you to Warrior Wives for posting it in her links today.

    Thank you, precious Lord, that you do work all things for our good – keep me focused on you and not my circumstances.

    • Oh Angela…that’s exactly it…eyes on Him…on Forever.
      Can’t tell you how thankful I am that this was some sort of encouragement…
      And Elizabeth is a special friend. I love that you’re spending time over at Warrior Wives :)

      If you haven’t read Paul Tripp’s book– “Forever”…it’s totally worth reading and God has used it in my life to lift my eyes off the hurting and the circumstances back to Him and what will last.

  9. Oh Kara, that’s beautiful! And thank you so much for Romans – both of those verses are so helpful. I walk through pain in a different way this year and I know this is God’s “sharpening”.

  10. Stacee T. says:

    Beautiful words of a faithful Heavenly Father who is still in control even when everything seems so out of control, who loves us so deeply… more than we could ever imagine! Thank you for taking the time to write this, Kara!! Love you!!

  11. Marianne says:

    I have been wrestling with this issue myself. It is not the first time I have felt this way, but it never gets easier! Your words are like a balm. Taking us from the heartache to the promises. Thank you.

    • I have to cling to those promises Marianne…and just as you wrote…it’s a constant “wrestling”…I’m so thankful that these words were some sort of comfort. I’ve been on the other side…where other’s intended to offer comfort, but their words felt like salt in a wound. It’s always better in person, with an arm around a shoulder…when the love behind the words can be communicated with more empathy…but I also know there is nothing else that offers real hope–but pointing back to Him.

  12. Thank you for reminding us of God’s precious truths and encouraging my heart! I know God does what is best and I have to hold tightly to that truth as my heart aches too! I love that He has a plan and I can trust that even when I do not understand!

    • I’m so sorry Amanda for the hurting you are walking through…it’s so difficult when you can’t see “around the corner”…when it still doesn’t make sense.
      Love what you wrote–“hold tightly to that truth”
      Praying He’ll pull you close tonight and you’ll sense His love surrounding you.

  13. I loved this post. It was very much needed. My husband and I have come through a rough patch financially and just when we get our footing, it seems like the carpet gets yanked out from under us. There’s much that burdens my heart these days, but I am reminded that Job lost everything and gained so much more through God because he refused to give up and give in.

    The world seems to be falling apart around me – all these wildfires in the state of Colorado and now a man goes on a mass-murdering rampage in a movie theater and I wonder “where is God in all this?” But I am reminded that He is right here. He always has been and always will be. And He will be glorified in all this. And I pray that His love will wash over the victims and their loved ones and remind them that they have a God who cared enough to step down out of heaven, take our punishment upon His shoulders, forgive us of our sins, give us the gift of salvation, and live in our hearts.

    • I feel like your swirling thoughts are pretty much exactly what has been going on in my head lately…
      And I’m so sorry you’re walking through those financial struggles…I battle worry…and that is a huge trigger.
      I love what you wrote above…and echo your heart of compassion for the victims in Colorado. I wrote this the night before everything happened and almost cancelled the post the next day…but I know that only He offers real comfort in the midst of such deep, heavy grief.

  14. sara raby says:

    Beautiful words! How faithful is our God!

  15. becca bozarth says:

    Oh how I struggle with this ‘choosing joy when things appear sour’ Thank u for the post, beautifully written.

  16. Just a lovely faithfilled post. Praying for all those who have lost a child are another loved one. God cares and loves us all. My favorite scripture is Proverbs 3: 5-6. We just trust in him who knows our hearts and what we need.
    Blessings to you for this one~

  17. I have been drawn to Matt Redman’s lyrics lately;

    “Scars and struggles on the way
    But with joy our hearts can say
    Yes, our hearts can say

    Never once did we ever walk alone
    Never once did You leave us on our own
    You are faithful, God, You are faithful

    Kneeling on this battle ground
    Seeing just how much You’ve done
    Knowing every victory
    Was Your power in us”

    God is faithful. And for that I am so thankful. <3

  18. Great post.
    Such hard things in this life- but where would we be if we did not know His love for us, as we see in Jesus on the cross? We would never be able to believe that He is good in our suffering- but you are right, He is good, all the time, even when we don’t understand Him.
    Found you on the hop and glad I did.

  19. I found your post through A Holy Experience, and it is a beautiful post. Wonderful words, for many who cannot put to words what heartache feels like. Thank you for writing it!


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