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The Sunday morning before Christmas, I sipped coffee from my beautiful new *Britt mug while reading my Bible and praising God that my family and I were finally all on the mend from so many various sicknesses just in time to begin Christmas week. Hallelujah!

I then headed down our long, wooden staircase when my slippers lived up to their name.

I stepped onto the second step and slipped backward, launched my Britt mug into the air, and slammed my head and back on the step.

I then slid all the way down the stairs faster than if I’d been on snow, using my ribs as a sled.

FWAP! WHACK! Boom—boom—boom—boom—boom—boom—boom—boom—boom—BAM.

Crumpled at the bottom, my head was bleeding and pain pierced through my ribs.

But my Britt mug survived without even a chip. It’s made of tougher stuff than me.

Some accused me of trying to get out of cooking on Christmas. Others, of trying to avoid nursery duty at church. I neither confirm nor deny such remarks.

I will confirm, however, that breaking ribs is not what it’s cracked up to be. (Sorry.)

Why Pain, God?

As I lay in agony at the bottom of the steps, I tried to process what just happened and what to do next in the midst of the intense pain.


Screaming would be good now because my husband didn’t hear my grand tumble, and I couldn’t imagine moving an inch to get to him.

But I couldn’t breathe.

Oh well. I’m screaming anyway. And I did.

God gave me the lung power I needed, and my husband came running and rushed me off to the ER where I received great care and a lovely dose of morphine.

A CAT scan showed I’d broken ribs #8 and 9, but sustained no other damage besides a small cut on my head and some impressive bruises. Apparently, I’m almost as tough as my mug.

My sister—and a gifted nurse—nearly willed me back to health the first day. For never having suffered cracked ribs, she sure knew how to make the pain easier to endure.

Speaking of pain . . .

I’ve struggled with the question many times in the past of why God allows pain.

With the depth and breadth of all He’s able to do, surely God can use something other than pain to accomplish His purposes.

God answered this question for me years ago as I read John 9 and 11.

I Was Blind, But Now I See

Perhaps about the same time Jesus came to earth as a baby boy, God ordained another baby boy to be born blind.

He’d pre-determined that this baby would grow and live into adulthood with this crushing disability during a time period when there was little to no help for the blind.

Why would God make him suffer so much for so long?

John 9 shows us.

God had planned from before his birth that Jesus would come upon him in Jerusalem and display His healing power in this man.

Never in history had anyone been able to heal a man born blind (John 9:3, 32). Until Jesus.

God was okay with this man and his family experiencing the deep pain of disappointment and struggle for many years until the ordained moment that He would bring about His great purpose for his blindness. And He did.

The man not only received his sight through Jesus, but his eternal salvation.

Yes, he suffered for a time. But he’s rejoicing for eternity. Oh, the wonderful grace of God.

Lord, If You Had Been Here, Our Brother Would Not Have Died

Jesus’ friend Lazarus was sick. Deathly sick.

Mary and Martha rushed a desperate plea to Jesus on behalf of their brother. But because Jesus loved them, He stayed in Jerusalem until Lazarus had died (John 11:5-6).

That seems confusing.

When Jesus arrived, these grief-stricken sisters wept before Him. They didn’t understand why He’d failed to come in time. And He offered them little explanation other than to say, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23-24).

Martha assented to the teaching of the resurrection of the dead in the end times, but this truth didn’t dry her tears or give her peace.

No doubt she felt like the grieving mother at her son’s Christian funeral when a well-meaning friend says, “He’s in a better place.” True, but this is not always a welcomed truth when all they want is to hold their loved one again.

Mary and Martha experienced deep pain, and Jesus was fine with allowing it until the ordained moment that He would bring about His great purpose for Lazarus’ death—to display that Jesus is the resurrection and the life (John 11:38-44).

The Better Question

God is not a monster who enjoys our pain. Jesus wept to see such grief and misunderstanding of who He is (John 11:35).

God is full of wisdom, and He alone sees the end from the beginning.

He knows best how to bring about what will bring Him the most glory and us, our ultimate good.

We serve a kind, compassionate God who makes no mistakes. Nothing is ever out of His control. Nothing. Ever.

All His ways are good and right. He never fails.

As the powerful old hymn says, What‘ere God ordains is right.”

Even when we didn’t see that coming, God did. And all He does and allows is right.

The better question than why God allows pain is: “Who are we, Lord, that You would even bless us?” And “Why do I ever doubt You or Your ways?”

I may never know why God allowed me to take a tumble down my stairs and break my ribs. But I don’t need to know because I know my Lord, and all He does is right.

Even when we didn't see that coming, God did. And all He does and allows is right. Click To Tweet
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*(Shameless plug: My oldest daughter makes gorgeous—and strong—pottery on the North Shore of Hawaii. (Click to see her work: @MuddyBusCo on Instagram)
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