Most people who have lived long enough have experienced some sort of loss or suffering. Have you woken up to a new reality? Felt like the expectations you had for your life were destroyed? Your plans had totally changed? Questioned how or why this is happening? I had the chance to hear the testimony of one of these moments where everything changed yet goodness continued to flow in and through the life of a young couple.
Stories help and shape us and can serve as direction and encouragement as we continue along our own path. They're a breath of fresh air, a drink of water, a whisper from our Creator through the mouth of His vessel. I recently listened to Jay and Katherine Wolf, authors and speakers who wrote Hope Heals, tell their story. At the age of twenty-six Katherine had a brain stem stroke, leaving her with severe handicaps. She and Jay were a young married couple, had moved to California to pursue their careers, had a six-month old baby, and Jay was months from finishing law school. Their world was turned upside down.
Last week as Jay wheeled Katherine onto the stage and took his seat next to her, one of the first things out of their mouth struck me as deeply profound. Katherine said, "Perhaps the detour is actually the path." The thirty minutes that followed were full of life-giving truths that came from souls refined in the fire of suffering. To anyone who has had a dream stolen or a heart broken, let this be an encouragement:
Redemption, in any form, hinges on one fundamental event: the resurrection. The defeat of death once and for all is the hope for all things to not only be reconciled but restored. As Tim Keller described it, "The resurrection means everything sad is going to eventually come untrue and it will somehow be greater for once being broken and lost."
In every great story there is a conflict and resolution. In every great person I've ever met there was a conflict and a resolve within that person to not be defeated or defined by that conflict. There is a lot of pain in the world these days, and we need more storytellers like Jay and Katherine shining light on the redemption hidden in every story. Ernest Hemmingway once said, "Write hard and clear about what hurts." I think he was on to a larger truth that we can move others in a deep way when we are willing to use the suffering we've received.
Read more about Katherine and Jay's story at hopeheals.com.