We can’t see

I recently met a man who suffers from PTSD, as a result of experiences in the Vietnam War.

I can’t begin to understand the depth of pain he knows and feels on an ongoing basis. The aches and pains in my life must be child’s play to him.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:11: “No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit…”

For me to try to speak to his pain or put forward a solution would be foolish. There are trained professionals to counsel those who suffer pain. But in many cases, their effectiveness is limited, either due to the lack of adherence to solutions put forward or to the depth of the injury that caused the pain.

(If someone gets an arm cut off, there is only so much a doctor can do.)

And I can’t see the “why” for that trauma.

Solomon, the man God described as the wisest man to have breathed this air, said in Ecclesiastes 3:11: “…people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

I take comfort in the two words in the middle of that truth, “God’s work.” God is working. He is working in ways I can’t see. He is working toward goals I can’t understand. He is working in a timeline that is way longer than my little lifetime.


(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)

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