Is Suffering Good?

Yesterday was an awesome day of recovery for Tara; but today was a miserable one. Nausea ruled the day. Medicine didn’t help. Sleep didn’t help. A comforting touch didn’t even help. Sitting, standing, lying down; none of these helped. Our minds were eased when told this is normal recovery for this type of surgery. But that didn’t make Tara more comfortable. When I asked if there was anything I could do to make her feel better, she said in tears “Just love on me. Tell me it will be okay.” So I reminded her of the promises of God using His words. It still hurt, but there was some peace.

We are upheld by the word and spirit of God and your prayers and encouragement; all of which regularly bring us to tears. When we think about the last 11 days we realize the significance of suffering in our walk with God. We have grown tremendously in these days. I have seen His power on display doing things in our lives I know we could never have done on our own. I am convinced of His presence and power more than ever.

It seems that in the world I know, I have spent resources that God has given me alleviating the very thing that could refine me and give me joy. We have a second car so getting around is not a hardship. We stockpile food in our pantry so there is no chance we will go hungry. We have sinks to provide clean water and power tools to make light work of big jobs. I know all of this stuff isn’t bad, but I do wonder how we would be different if we HAD to depend on the power of God more regularly.

In our first blog back on February 1 or 2, I mentioned we were in Haiti over Thanksgiving. I would be remiss not to mention something that impacted our lives, and was actually the first chapter of the life conversation we were just having. Shane and Kara Gauthier (and 5 kids) are part of The Paulos Group (, near Fort Liberte, Haiti. The tagline of The Paulos Group is ‘proven and innovative solutions to poverty”. They are building modest yet quality homes that Haitians can afford and gain equity over time. This would be one great place to send some extra resources, instead of always providing extra comforts for ourselves.

Thank you all again for your prayers and encouragement. We love you all.


31 thoughts on “Is Suffering Good?

  1. Dear Ones, I am so very sorry that you had a bad day, Tara. I pray that God will bless you with a peaceful and restful sleep tonight.

    A dear friend in my bible study gave me a beautiful white, porcelain angel for Christmas. It has outstretched arms and hands to hold a card or picture so I can keep it on my kitchen cupboard. I have the Woods family picture in it so I have you all in my prayers constantly. The picture is 3 yrs old, but no matter, you are all there— the adults haven’t changed, but the children sure have!

    I know that God is holding all of you in that same way– but His loving arms are totally around you and his healing light is shining on you. How blessed you are to feel His presence and power even more now than you did before. Praise God!

    We love you so very much—
    Good Night–Sleep tight!
    Aunt Gail and Uncle Max

  2. One day at a time Tara. Just one day at a time. You can do this!! We are all lifting you and your family to God in prayer. He is hearing your name over and over again. If we ask for angels, they will come and minister to you, and comfort you, and hold you close. They will help you through this one minute at a time, then an hour, then a day. So we pray for angels…

  3. Suffering is good for us in that it draws us closer to God. That is not to say it is in any way pleasant. I’m sure Christ didn’t experience anything pleasant in the crucifixion and yet his resurrected body gives us hope and strenth to continue the race. Sometimes, it is the only thing that keeps us going. I am so thankful that in our weaknesses, He is made strong. Keep loving on Tara – Jay. That is the best medicine you can give her. I know you would take on her pain, if you were able. I have seen the love between you before the cancer. I am certain it radiates and lights up the entire room these days. It’s amazing how our priorities change. Tara, my prayer for you is that God would minimize the suffering in this healing process, if it is His will. If it is not, that He would give you the supernatural, spiritual strenth to withstand it. For Jay, I pray that you would stand strong in the gap for your wife, that you would continue to love on her and reassure her, that this too shall pass. Know that you are loved and being prayed for continually. I have to share one good thing that has come about due to your trials. My oldest daughter and I have grown closer again. I have been able to love on her and enjoy her company in ways that I have not been able to in years. The anger in our hearts has left and love has taken its place. Thank you for sharing your burdens and joys. May God bless you above and beyond anything you could ever imagine.

  4. Psalm 130:1-6 “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning…

    Dear Jay and Tara (Micalyn, Esther, Andrean, Jenna and Lewis), As you cry to the Lord, I pray that his hope and love will overwhelm your hearts and give you courage and strenth to wait on him. I thank God for you all! Love you always! jennifer

  5. I remember hearing of how CS Lewis asked God during some of the most painful days of his beloved wife, Joy’s, days with bone cancer, if he could somehow bear some of her pain. God apparently granted that request, and Jack was suddenly overcome with a physical pain he couldn’t have conceived of, while Joy finally fell asleep. As I have felt the grief and pain of not only your situation, but of some other very dear friends, I have wondered if, somehow, in the weight those surrounding you feel, perhaps your burden is actually lifted, even just a little. I don’t know if it is possible, but I pray that it might be so.
    Dear Lord, help us all to share a bit of Tara’s pain, so that she might get some much needed rest. Please lift the burden from her, and divide it among your servants who have deep reserves. Guide and comfort Jay as he, in turn, comforts his beloved.
    May your peace reign victorious in their room tonight.
    Becca Murray

  6. Hey Tara- When I read Jay’s entry today, I thought ‘His mercies are new every morning’- sometimes we need a new morning sooner that later, uhu? Then I thought Mark has a saying for my running races, it’s “You go, girl!” It’s the saying printed on the bottom of my road ID and I thought, “You go, girl!” I know you are, Tara.

    But here’s the funny part of this, and I thought of your kids, you know, liking to laugh- well, do you know there is a thing called a ‘Go Girl’? If you’re kids, have never heard of it, they might a kick out of it. Women can pee standing up with Go Girl | Go Girl Female Urination …

    Tomorrow morning will be new and “You go, girl!” Well, you know what I mean!

    Julie Foley

  7. Continue to love on each other and to let Hod love on you. I can only try to imagine how hard today was for Tara. Hoping and praying for a better and nausea-free tomorrow. We are encouraged to hear of the progress with strength and walking. In His name,

  8. I hate suffering, deprivation, loneliness, illness, pain, alienation, not getting or getting less than what I think I need or deserve, which are the very tools of sanctification that God uses to shape me into the image of Christ. When suffering happens, I feel like this huge piece of marble getting chiseled away by the chunk. And I don’t want to have a shape if it means chiseling, cracking and breaking. My preference is to remain a shapeless piece of rock. I don’t want pieces of me flying off. “Hey, what’s with the hammer and chisel! I might need that chunk you’re breaking off!”

    After reading your latest blog, I did a quick research on suffering in the Bible. It’s fascinating to see that, in context, suffering always has some external/eternal purpose. Here are but a few passages that jumped at me:

    Suffering is “not in vain,” it produces righteousness: Galatians 3:1-4
    Suffering was Christ’s “ticket” back into glory: Luke 17:24 & 25; Luke 24:25 & 26
    Suffering teaches obedience: Hebrews 5:8
    Suffering glorifies God: I Peter 4:16
    Suffering comes with abundant comfort and salvation (I know. Crazy, ain’t it?):
    II Corinthians 1:5 & 6
    Suffering demands prayer: James 5:13
    (And my personal favorite) Suffering is nothing compared to our coming glory: Romans 8:18

    I have been listening to nothing but Christian music for the last couple of months and what a blessing that is. As I composed this post, “If My People Pray” by Avalon started playing. I had never heard it before. What a powerful song! Pray in and through your suffering, my Dear Brother and Sister! I will be praying with you.

    And heaven will rain
    Rivers of My grace overflowing
    Night and day
    My ears will be open
    If My people pray
    Let us not grow weary as we wait for the day
    When the light turns our night into morning
    On our knees, calling Your name as we lift our hearts to heaven Yeah,
    Knowing You will say …

    If My people pray
    And reach for Me
    With hearts that are broken
    I will not forget what I’ve spoken
    Come and seek My face

  9. Tara- my strong friend. We have been praying for you daily. So many men and women in the twin cities and gals in my sisters’ bible study in Texas are lifting you up. I hurt for you tremendously and pray that you would know His POWER as you live in His strength. I look forward to hearing how the Lord revealed Himself to you through these unbearable days. You are chosen by Him. You will persevere. You will grow as His leader and encourage/teach those around you. I love you and believe in you. Navina

    Paul says in II Corinthians 12:7-9 ” …there was given me a thorn in my flesh… Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

  10. You are saving lives. Did you know that? You are allowing God to work thru you to turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. By this public suffering, your genuine faith is deepening many of our faith and no doubt it will bring others TO faith. If we could line up to take on a night of your pain and nause we would…if The Lord doesn’t grant this then we’ll be your hands and feet in all the other tangible ways so you can rest and allow this thing to run its course. Weep. It may help the nausea. It has to do something because Jesus did it. (Hand squeeze). Praying.

  11. oh tara…I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You know the One in whose suffering you now share. Consider Him. And consider that He now sits victoriously over all that wreaks such havoc. Then fix your eyes. This suffering will not last…it is a weight. Run…and fix your eyes. Love you much…praying.

  12. Tara, I called the nurse’s station to see if you could have visitors today.When I learned you could not, I prayed. Now I know why you could not. I am so sorry to hear of the nausea and not being able to find a comfortable position. Jay, when you wrote yesterday of seeing the needs of the world in the hospital setting, I share with you the words of a friend now in heaven. He suffered from MS. He would say often of his many trips to the hospital, “God sent me on a mission trip!” He shared Jesus with all he met and would ask if they were going to heaven. Heaven is our comfort, knowing Jesus has prepared a place for us. It is all important we know without a doubt we are going there. In the meantime He prepares us for that place. Your family is so precious to God! Phil 1:29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.
    1 Peter 1:6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
    And my favorite from 2 Cor 4:7-18 talks of being jars of clay, and the “light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us a glory that far outweighs them all.”
    Do not lose heart!
    There are different kinds and different degrees of suffering but you are making the most of your horrible experience. God is your focus and He is receiving the glory and praise as you point others to Him. In the meantime we shout out to you, “GET WELL SOON!!!”

  13. Jay and Tara,

    Our family memorized most of James 1 last year. We have had lots of dialogue over suffering due to this chapter. Suffering isn’t fun but does draw us close to the Lord and for that we are personally thankful! We had a few moments with Mike and Esther on Saturday evening at our house and they both radiated an inner peace that can only be explained by God.

    I am fascinated that so many of us are checking in at 2AM – The Lord stirred me to pray. You are loved and I hope both of you are resting well!

    • Hi, Piper. Not to ruin it for you, but just so you know. You’re the only one up posting at 2AM this time. =) The times on this web site are 6 hours ahead of our time (CST). It confused me until I realized this. So if the time says 2AM, it was actually posted 8PM the night before. So most of Jay’s posts are dated the day after he actually posted them.

  14. Jay, Tara and family,
    We are praying for your comfort and thanking God for your heartfelt words. Your physical suffering we can not remove but please know we are lifting you up in prayer to the One who can. God Bless.

  15. Your new posts are such a beautiful present every day. I love it and have such optimism for this entire series of events and outcome. Walked outside and looked down at Mrs Zimmerman’s house this morning and thought of the time you walked through the mud I had created – and realized Tara has at her side, at man who will do anything (and I think I truly mean anything after thinking about that) when called upon to do the difficult. I love you all. Thank you for each and every update.

  16. I am so sad to hear about your pain and nausea Tara. We certainly would take that from you if we could . . .We read this blog every morning and often times (daily) I am brought to tears. Sometimes it’s tears of joy for the miraculous way God is using you, sometimes my tears are sadness for watching you and your family adjust to the trials within this journey, and today my tears are for you and the helplessness we all feel. I am praying that God has revealed to you a new day, that the worst of this recovery is behind you, and that you are able to sustain liquids, food, or your flavored Kiefer drink☺ It is so sweet to read of you and Jay and your love for one another. We all want to love you through this . . . and you will be ok.
    “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. “ 1 John 4:1
    God sure picks interesting times in the night to place your name on my heart Tara. I hope your night was peaceful, you can be assured you were covered in prayer!

  17. Jay thank you for your continued inspiring thoughts and updating us on our Tara. I am so sorry that yesterday was so miserable.I prayed that today would/will be better for her. This am reading our church newsletter I saw this!!1 Corinthians 13.7 Love bears all things,believes all things,hopes all things, endures all things. The love that you,Tara, and your family have for God and each other is such a witness for us all! We will continue to pray in CL for everyone ‘s strength to endure this trial. Love Aunt Cathy & Uncle Mike

  18. I was pondering your post this morning, as I enjoyed a steaming shower. Suffering is one of those things that I resist at all costs and yet know that I rarely (probably never) grow without. I often think about how little suffering I have had to endure … Minnesota winters, the occasional cold shower, the chaos (yet blessing) of raising 7 kids. I know that I would be closer to God if I had more suffering, but can’t quite bring myself to ask for it. I enjoy comfort just too much.

    On different occasions, I’ve heard Jim Daly refer to the time he was in China as the international director of Focus on the Family. As he was leaving them, a Chinese missionary couple told him they would pray for us (in America). Jim felt compelled to asked them how they pray for us. With smiles and apprehension, the man replies, “…for the church in America to get more persecutions, as we see you as rather weak.” (I discovered today that Jim has a book out called “Stronger” on this topic. I haven’t read it, but bet it’s good.) It scares me just how soft and weak we’ve become. Would we stand up to persecution or immediately cave? “OK, I’ll say or do anything, just please don’t hurt me?” I think we also often protect our children to their detriment. We try to keep them from any harm (whether it’s a bump on the head or the harsh words of a bully) instead of teaching them how to deal with the it in a positive way, making them stronger.

    “Lord, my desire is that you totally remove Tara’s suffering. But you know best. You have plans for this suffering … in Tara’s life, in Jay’s life, in the lives of the hundreds who are following this post. Lord, therefore, I ask you to allow Tara to endure absolutely no more than she must to achieve your purposes. I pray that you would draw Tara and Jay to yourself, that you would be their comfort and strength. I pray that your power would be made perfect in Tara’s weakness, and I praise you for using Tara and Jay to bring many more into your kingdom. We love you, Lord. Amen.”

  19. Jay & Tara,
    Lifting you up today as I know the Lord’s power is being perfected right now…using this “weakness” to show His ultimate strength.
    Thought you might, perhaps, need a “giggle break” this afternoon.
    The first one is to remind you to eat some spinach & carrots when that starts sounding good again…

    And the second one is a completely different one:)– A call for the Holy Spirit to settle in, to establish EVEN further His residence & in your room, in your home, in your hearts, in the physical temple that the Lord has created for you, Tara…for those of us in witness of what He’s doing here, to worship & praise the Lord Jesus at all times!

    Much love from our family to yours-
    The Duensers

  20. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread …for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6

    Jay and Tara, keep walking where God leads, keep living life in God’s power, keep believing in a better tomorrow. Love, Roger and Jacqui

  21. I so well remember the seesaw of “good” and “horrible” days in recovery. So frustrating for those who love us, who agonize and wish there were some small thing they could do to lessen our torment! We’re emptied out, aren’t we? Here’s something I read from Charles Spurgeon: “Before the minister shall preach the word to thousands, he must be emptied and made to tremble under a sense of inability. Before the Sunday-school teacher shall bring her girls to Christ, she shall be led to see how weak and insufficient she is. I do believe that whenever the Lord is about to use us in his household, he takes us like a dish and wipes us right out and sets us on the shelf, and then afterwards he takes us down and puts thereon his own heavenly meat, with which to fill the souls of others. There must as a rule be an emptying, a turning upside down, and a putting on one side, before the very greatest blessing comes.”

  22. Tara,

    You are on my mind constantly, I finally got a chance to get on the website and read all of the updates/comments. The word that always comes to my mind (even before I read how strong and courageous you are and have been is “SUPERWOMAN!” you are indeed a super woman in every aspect of the word. Your faith is super, your family is super but best of all our God is super. It is not everyday that you get to meet and know a Superwoman like you. You have touched my life even more than you probably know, your kindess to me and especially Shauna being her small group leader is priceless. Please know how much we care and are praying for you and your family.

    Love and prayers,

    Heather and Shauna Winkels and family

  23. Hi Tara and Jay and your sweet children,
    So many people have written such beautiful things….Jay, your writings are so inspiring…..we can only add to the many, many people doing so, that we are lifting you up in prayer and can only pray for God’s will. We are so sorry for Tara’s physical suffering, and your whole family’s suffering. Just know we are thinking of you constantly and praying.

  24. Greetings Tara and Jay,

    You both have been an inspiration to us as you travel this difficult and painful path. Your faith in Our Lord radiates in your words and actions when I know you would much rather not be going down this unimagined road. We have been praying for God to give you that Supernatural strength to stand firmly for Him.
    We don’t talk much about the Supernatural powers of God (at least we do not–why I do not know?). From our viewpoint, God has been doing numerous Supernatural happenings over the last two weeks,i.e. doing 3 or 4 major surgeries in one, by the best in the world “Medical Team”, He has raised up a major “Prayer Team”, He is giving you Supernatural strength to face each day, These are just a few that God has brought to mind and obviously both of you may have several Supernatural happening that you and God only know.
    We do give Praise to our Almighty God for HE is our Great Physician. We remain on our knees asking for more Supernatural sightings of our Lord.
    Love you all so much, Uncle Gary and Aunt Barb

  25. Tara and Jay,
    I just heard about everything this weekend and have been praying for healing, patience, comfort, etc., as well as wisdom for the doctors.
    Your faith is shining in this hard time…true disciples of the God we love.
    All my thoughts are with you.
    Kristie Moody

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