Enduring The Ache

For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. (1 Peter 2:19, ESV)

Celia Barquin Arozamena, who completed her college career at Iowa State earlier this year, was killed Monday at a golf course in Ames, Iowa.

This headline popped into my news feed nine days ago as I made my way through the Atlanta airport, and some of you read more about it in our devotional earlier this week. Here was a brutal act of evil that left the golf community in shock, in mourning, and asking, “How could this happen?”

The humid southern air was heavy with tears and disbelief in the Symetra Tour player dining area throughout the day of Celia’s death. Social media was flooded with adoration and respect for this young woman from Spain. Celia was doing what I have spent hundreds of hours doing, practicing alone in the early morning hours. Her sights were on Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying School process just a few weeks away.

Why God? Why?

Why did she suffer this atrocity? Why do we now have to suffer the loss of her presence? If God is real and good, how could he let this happen?

If we are honest with ourselves and God, we all have faced such questions. I wish I had concrete answers to ease the ache behind them. I don’t. But I do have God himself and the words he has given us.

God is not the author of evil in our world, and more often than we realize, he does choose to shelter and protect us from the evil attacks of the enemy. Sometimes, however, he takes us straight through dark seasons just like Job and Peter experienced.

The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” (Job 1:12, NIV)

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.” (Luke 22:31, NASB)

When we are walking through the darkness, it can be really hard to believe the words Joseph spoke to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). What good can come out of the murder of a vibrant young woman?

I did not have the pleasure of knowing Celia personally, but my heart is burdened and angry at the suffering she endured. As I searched the Scriptures for comfort, God brought me to today’s passage with fresh eyes. Peter acknowledged that unjust suffering is real. Most likely we will never get our why questions answered, but Peter does give us some hope to face the suffering.

To endure means to hold up against or to bear with. To hold up or to bear with sorrow means being mindful of God, into whose soil our roots reach for the nourishment we need. He is our steady beacon of light directing us to safety. When the darkness of suffering feels like it is too much to bear, we must take our questions, doubts, and sorrow directly to God. Only his grace can provide the rest, strength, and shalom we long for.

Tracy Hanson
September 27, 2018
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