Tension | In February 2006, six weeks after her daughter, Penny, was born with Down syndrome, Amy Julia Becker journaled: “I went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment today. The receptionist was very nice. She told me about a good friend of hers who has a daughter with Down syndrome. The young woman is in her mid-20s, with a job, with highlights in her hair. I think the receptionist was trying to comfort me by giving an example of how functional someone with Down syndrome can be, but her words betrayed her. She said things like, ‘They dress her in cute, funky clothes,’ and, ‘She can walk around the neighborhood all by herself and the neighbors keep an eye on her.’ What I heard was not that she wears cute clothes and goes for walks, but that her mom still chooses those clothes, she can’t drive, and she needs the neighbors to look out for her on a walk around the block. I didn’t feel particularly consoled. People are always trying to downplay the hard part and overemphasize the good instead of letting the tension remain” .
Limitations | Job is about letting the tension remain. It’s written for people who struggle with loss. It’s realistic about confusion in suffering and limits in understanding. Although Job “feared God and turned away from evil” , he lost everything – his family and his wealth – in a single day. Yet, even as he mourned: “Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head” , he also worshiped: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” .
Honesty | Suffering is universal, but sometimes we’re tempted to avoid admitting that it brings doubt, fear and anger. We want our praise nights to be pep rallies. A realistic understanding of the Christian life, however, includes a recognition that the founder of our faith was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”  and that, if we want to be glorified with him, we must also suffer with him .
Prayer | Lord, Make your name holy in our lives, as we walk in your footsteps. Let us live in the tension of the suffering of the cross as well as the joy of our salvation through it . Help us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice , even as we learn to love others in grace and honesty. Amen.