The joy and blessing of miracles co-exist with tragedy and human suffering. One does not negate the other.
We can witness a family member set free from addiction but still suffer from the toll taken on our lives by their years of substance abuse.
We can survive a severe car accident but still grieve over having a limb amputated.
An outnumbered military convoy can win a battle but still feel the devastation over the soldier who didn’t make it.
These are all miracles in the midst of pain and loss. In simple terms, this is our fallen world as we currently know and experience it.
Jewish Voice financially and prayerfully sows into the work of over 170 ministry partners throughout the world who share the Gospel with and provide practical aid to Jewish people and their neighbors. I recently asked these partners to share how they have seen God’s divine power on display. So many encouraging miracle stories came flooding in — accounts of healings, salvations, doors opened, strongholds broken — but I was not prepared for this email from a congregational partner in Ukraine who said:
“The reality is that all miracles and answers to prayers are mixed with pain and suffering.”
As I paused to reflect on their wartime losses, these words shattered me. Often, the Lord is quick to give me a word of encouragement. But this time, the Lord prompted me to imagine the reality of the ongoing devastation of their war — homes bombed, the tears of Ukrainians fleeing their beloved country to seek refuge, the anxiety over their loved ones staying behind to fight the war.
But the Lord then settled my spirit, reminding me that, despite their hardship, we can take heart in Jesus’ words:
I kept reading the ministry partner’s email…
“We had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah celebration, but each person suffered in one way or another. One man was healed of cancer and tuberculosis, but his wife died in the war. His child lives as an orphan in Germany. There continues to be the tears of parting and the pain of broken families. There are many refugees in Odessa now. Their stories are great miracles, but also very painful.”
I instantly felt the weight of these words. I think, so often, we expect the joy of the miracle to cancel out any sadness surrounding the experience. But the reality is, we can praise God for miracles but also sit with Him and with each other with the pain still in our midst. We can glorify Him for coming through with a mighty act of power on our behalf and still be grieved by the challenges and hardships of extenuating circumstances. We can recognize and celebrate how He has moved a mountain for us but still cry in the valley with each other.
While our current world is not all unicorns and rainbows, our confidence rests in knowing that one day, the Lord will wipe away every tear from every eye and there will be no more pain and sorrow (Rev. 21:4). Until then, we can glorify God by honoring the dichotomy of joy and pain in our fellowship with one other.
I am grateful for the solemn reflections that this ministry partner’s story evoked within me and feel the Lord giving me the words to craft an email response that might read something like this…
Dear brothers and sisters,
We celebrate these miracles while grieving with you in this ongoing season of suffering. We rejoice in the sweetness of our Lord during Rosh Hashanah while we cry out to Him over the pain you’ve endured in this war. We weep with you like Jesus did over Lazarus, we hold up your weary arms like Aaron and Hur did for Moses, and we pray that, in the midst of the suffering, you rest in the perfect shalom of Jesus who has overcome this world.
Grants Administrator, Outside Ministry Support