Why healing can’t be hurried up {guest post}

Whenever I read Shelly Miller’s writing I slow down. She takes me through a meditative and visual journey, whatever she writes. She is a fellow minister’s wife, with much wisdom, and I’m delighted she’s sharing her God and Suffering story here. Over to Shelly:

Sitting under the square hole in the mud wall, a window without glass or screen, I prop my voice recorder on the meager table and begin asking questions. I’m unprepared to hear the answers. How does one describe the horror of seeing their entire family mutilated and then go on to forgive their perpetrators?

Young Rwandans take turns on the couch across from me. Sit next to an interpreter and describe being orphaned, captured, beaten, raped, pillaged and wandering during the 1994 genocide. Then they share the redemption, how living in Hope Village changes their lives.

A five-year effort fund-raising for this child-headed village of 80 children brought me here. I can’t swallow their suffering stuck in my throat. I barely hold the recorder steady for the trembling emotion ready to tumble out.

I’ve never known this kind of suffering. Their stories cast light on the shadows of my own experience. Yet how do I feel more at home with my Rwandan friends than those in my own seaside southern community?

Culture can’t separate what is common to man. Poverty isn’t just a price tag or a place, it’s pain of the soul, the empty place in each of us waiting to be filled up with promise.

Henri Nouwen says, “The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means “to suffer.” Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God’s glorious coming.

Healing cannot be hurried up and hope is hallowed ground. I saw it in their eyes brimming with slanted light on a Fall day. I know it myself.

As a child of divorce, I’ve waited on a soppy pillow of endless longing for the hope of healthy family.

As a teenager of a single parent struggling with alcoholism and poverty, I’ve waited to embrace peace and stability embedded in the wallpaper of my own home.

As a pastor’s wife living in cities thousands of miles from my hometown, I’ve waited for the carpool of community, the seat of belonging.

I don’t walk barefoot on red clay roads carrying water bottles for miles, sleep under mosquito nets, or wrestle through forgiving my neighbors for killing my family. But I do share the fate of knowing the God who gives life to the dead and calls into existence things that don’t yet exist. (Romans 4:17)

And perhaps patiently waiting is the kind of suffering that speaks a common language, one without need of interpretation. We’re all seeds lying under the soil of what is yet to be, waiting on the promise of resurrection at just the right time.

Shelly Miller is smitten with the art of story to transform a life. She writes about her own struggles as a child of divorce and alcoholism, and the way God redeems it all as a clergy wife raising two teens. With experience as a full-time missionary, advocate for orphans in Rwanda and leader of women’s ministries for small and large congregations, she is passionate to help people realize calling despite circumstance. When her husband H isn’t leading a church planting movement in North America, they drive five minutes across the street to take a walk on the Atlantic, with a camera strapped to her shoulder. She blogs at Redemptions Beauty, tweets at SMIllerRB and connects on Facebook at Shelly Miller, Writer.

Over to you:

  • Can you relate to that kind of suffering which is to do with waiting, being in the in-between?

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14 Responses to Why healing can’t be hurried up {guest post}

  1. Megan Willome 28th November, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Yes, that verse–for me today.

    You share so well, Shelly.

    • Shelly Miller 28th November, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      Megan, so glad you saw them. I thought they fit this post so well.
      I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
      and in his word I hope;
      my soul waits for the Lord
      more than watchmen for the morning,
      more than watchmen for the morning.
      (Psalm 130:5-6 ESV)

  2. Mark Allman 28th November, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    I totally agree that waiting can be suffering. It can be extremely tough at times when the waiting has no end point that we can see. To wait patiently is tough. At times we wait with anger. with bitterness; with demands of God, with pouts and with very little resolve. May God help us to be better at waiting upon Him and his time. May we resolve to wait while feeling the weight of it without resorting to bemoaning it every step.

    • Shelly Miller 28th November, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

      Agree with all you say Mark. And I think the longer I am walking with Jesus on this pilgrimage, the more I can wait patiently knowing His purposes and plans are worth waiting for. There are just so many questions that begin with why about all the waiting. Hindsight is usually most clear but there are some pieces of suffering for which we will never have answers. And that perhaps, it one of our greatest challenges as Christ followers.

  3. Joy Lenton 27th November, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    A beautifully written and incredibly moving post. I love that it doesn’t so much seek to answer all the imponderables of suffering and delayed healing, but rather chooses to point us to The One who can bring forth the promises of resurrection and new life to bear upon our hearts and lives. So many eminently quotable phrases here. Thank you, Shelley. It’s a pleasure to read your thoughts and to meet with you here. 🙂

    • Shelly Miller 27th November, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

      Joy, its a pleasure to met you too. I think we often like to have all of life’s messes wrapped up neatly with a bow on the top but it just isn’t how real life is lived out is it? T

  4. Mandy 27th November, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    What a beautiful, moving post Shelly, thank you. Praise God that he enables us to forgive and be forgiven when humanly the circumstances appear impossible.

    • Shelly Miller 27th November, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

      I find myself using the phrase “but God” often. It is only through Him that this kind of forgiveness is possible. He is the God of miracles. Thank you for your kind comment.

  5. Shelly Miller 27th November, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Thanks for having me today Tanya, what a privilege.

  6. Mia 27th November, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Hi dear Shelly
    Yes, suffering has many faces and true forgiveness is not possible with man, but, praise be to our Pappa God, nothing is impossible to Him. Only He can work forgiveness in and through us. To me forgiveness is the greatest power in the world and our Lord Jesus being given all power on earth and in heaven by our Father, brings sooooo much joy to my heart! Oh, the genocide in Rwanda was unspeakably cruel!
    Thank you for your post.

    • Shelly Miller 27th November, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

      Yes, nothing is impossible with God. I saw it there sitting on a bench between perpetrators and the victims who forgave them, saw them singing in a church choir together and it gave me new perspective on the word forgive. Thanks for your generous comment Mia.

  7. Diana Trautwein 27th November, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    Here it is, Shelly! And worth waiting for. Thank you for sharing a piece of this part of your journey. Really interesting comparison about the myriad ways suffering comes to us on this planet and how we meet at the foot of the cross, no matter which road has brought us there. Thanks.

    • Shelly Miller 27th November, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

      Thanks for coming back Diana, for your faithfulness in following. I’m so grateful for my time in Rwanda, its helped me to find perspective in my own life when I think about what they have gone through, yet they smile and give so generously.


  1. Why Healing Can’t Be Hurried Up | Redemption's Beauty - 1st December, 2012

    […] join me at Thorns and Gold to finish the story. I’m Tanya Marlow’s guest today on her series God and Suffering: […]

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