It’s the Only Half We Need

RSH 1710

This morning, as I was trying to summon the energy to sit down and write, I stumbled upon this blog post by Tim Keller.  Go ahead and read it.  I’ll wait.

Apparently, Tim Keller, a favorite author of Kevin’s and a pastor of a church in New York City, also had cancer.  And when he did, he struggled with the question, “Why me?”  And then when he didn’t die, but others did from the same cancer, he again struggled with the question, “Why me?”  My friend Candace said that she and Stuart have gone through the same thing.  Why was Stuart spared and others weren’t?  The mind naturally turns to this question.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I’m not struggling so much with “Why us?” rather with the bigger question of, “Why evil at all?”  Why is there sin, sadness, brokenness, and death.  I understand the fall, and man’s free will to turn from God, and the trickle down effect that this has had over thousands of years of brokenness.  Yet still, it really does seem like maybe, just maybe, it might have been a better idea to have just not let evil come into existence to begin with me.

But that’s just me.

Anyway, luckily, I’m not God.  And in Tim’s article, he goes through four of the main answers that people tend to hear for the question of suffering, none of which are very satisfactory.  In the second half of the article, he points out that of all the world’s religions, Christianity is the only one that teaches that God came to earth (in Jesus Christ) and became subject to suffering and death, “so that some day he can return to earth to end all suffering without ending us.”

He goes on to say:

Do you see what this means? Yes, we don’t know the reason God allows evil and suffering to continue, or why it is so random, but now at least we know what the reason isn’t—what it can’t be. It can’t be that he doesn’t love us! It can’t be that he doesn’t care. He is so committed to our ultimate happiness that he was willing to plunge into the greatest depths of suffering himself.

And he rightly acknowledges that this is only half of the answer.  But he quickly points out that “it is the half that we need.”


I don’t know why this is happening to us.  It’s not right.  It’s not fair.  I don’t know if Kevin is going to live or die.  And the not knowing, frankly, is killing me more than I imagine the actual grief of death might be.  It’s slowly driving me insane.

And I can honestly tell you that I don’t trust God right now.

I can honestly say that I don’t believe He has a plan for all of us, so please, dear friends, don’t reach out and encourage me that He does.

This right here, this that we are going through…  It’s senseless.  It’s horrible, and it hurts, and it sucks.  And I do not, for one second believe that it is part of God’s plan.  And it frankly hurts when people tell me so.  They say these things in love, in an attempt to be encouraging, but the most encouraging thing right now is for all of you to sit with us (physically or virtually) and agree that this stinks.  It really really does.  Stupid cancer.

And then, after we’ve all had a good cry about it, we can look up and see that God is still here.  Thank goodness that we can cry and shake our fists and scream angry, unwritable words at God and He can take it.

I don’t know why this is happening or what will happen next and I will probably not understand any piece of this mystery on this side of heaven.  But I am finding a lot of comfort in realizing that the half of the answer I have is the half I need.

God loves me.  God loves Kevin.

“We should not expect to be able to grasp all God’s purposes, but through the Cross and gospel of Jesus Christ, we can know his love. And that is what we need most.”

That is the only half I need.

12 thoughts on “It’s the Only Half We Need

  1. Rachel,
    We have been blessed to be a part of this struggle that has been going on in your lives and see glimpses of the Lord’s hand through out the events that have taken place. I was reminded of a institute class when I was young and David was trying to get our focus on Christ, he said ” I know that when I get to heaven, I will be able to forgive God for making the world,but I don’t know that now, because I know too much of the suffering of it. It takes divine knowledge to justify the creation of this rotten world.” We are riding this through together with no garauntees except for His presence within us. There-in lies our strength because we see how weak we truly are. Paul

    • Oh Paul, I just sobbed and sobbed through what you wrote. Yes, there will come a time when I will have to forgive God. And I didn’t even realize I was holding a grudge! This is just so hard and it hurts so much! That divine knowledge is such a mystery, and so grateful that scripture helps me to understand why we can’t comprehend it!

  2. This sounds to me Rachel as though you are going through the “Dark NIght of the Soul”. At these times all we can do is Keep Going!
    Love, Irene

  3. Rachel

    I to, have thought about life the way you do. Even in the Bible, people are not always happy with things that come their way. I am thankful that you can tell things the way they are. Not all flowery but real. Life sucks sometimes.
    I pray for you and Kevin each day, but I to do not understand why God lets things happen to us. Trust is a difficult thing. Gods purposes for us are in a big picture to large for us to grasp.
    I know God loves you and I pray for strength for both of you every day.
    Thank You for sharing your life with us.
    Sending love your way,

  4. You don’t know me … I am a friend of Helen’s. But let me just say, that I send my love to you and pray for you all. I really like what you have said here… it is the half that makes all the difference. We really do see through a glass darkly. As Corrie ten Boom said, “There is no pit that Jesus is not deeper still.” We take that by faith, which is a gift. Someday…

    • Thank you Jan! Funny, looking through the glass darkly is the name of my next blog post! It truly does feel that way so often these days. Thank you for the quote from Corrie. So true, so true!

  5. Rachel,
    You are perfectly deserving of your feelings. And many of your friends ask the same questions of why? Yours are much deeper. But why Lord, do godly people have to suffer? Nobody asks to have a life of Job. Hoping that our daily thoughts of you and Kevin bring you those perious moments that you so need, just to keep going on.

  6. been there and some days I find myself there still. praying for you, walking the path ahead of you as best you can…knowing that some days all you can do is shake your fists at the sky and scream. and I hope the half you need is enough for the moments. praying.

  7. Rachel and Kevin- I am still checking blogs everyday for updates and to find out where you are at to pray more specificaly. I agree – non of this is fair- why doesn’t God pick on the creepy or mean people, but people trying to do His will and promote His love- they deserve to be taken care of. Sometimes I just find myself yelling- ” What are you thinking, God?!!!” Anyway- neither of you is alone, you have an army of friends going through this with you. I wish we could carry some of the pain for both of you instead of sharing it with you. We love you both and I really appreciate your writings and especially this one of realizing that we know the half we need to know. God Bless- Love Debbi

  8. Rachel,
    Thank you for saying it as it is. I weep when I read your blogs, for I so wish I could have verbalized those same words- CANCER SUCKS. I too have watched a loved one suffer with cancer. That is what drove me to look for my creator. How could all this bad evil stuff happen to the one I love, my mom. It has been over 20 years now since she went home to the Lord, and she is one of my hero’s of faith. I know this is true- God loves me & He loves you 2. It is in His hands… release and let it flow….. he is the mighty comforter and lover of our souls. love u xxx

  9. Rachel, I am praying for your family. I found this blog via Tim Keller’s blog from when you responded to his article last year. I was curious if you had seen that he replied to your reply? God bless you and your family during this time of trial.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *