These are the darkest months of the year and many are floundering emotionally. Including me. I already struggle with seasonal darkness and occasional depression, but right now I’m going through what many believers call a dark night of the soul. We’ve been praying more than two years for my daughter’s healing and it feels like God’s not there.

In December 2021, she contracted covid, which developed into pneumonia. And she’s never been the same.

My daughter has gone from being a physically fit mother of three in her 30’s, to a person who spends most of her time in bed, in constant pain. And no one can find a solution. She’s been to every kind of doctor and tried treatments and supplements. There have been a few tentative diagnoses, like long covid, toxic mold, and POTS, but no relief from the symptoms. In the meantime, she’s in constant pain, exhausted by the least exertion, her heart beats too fast (even when laying down), she struggles for breath, and cognitive issues make it difficult for her to form and express thoughts.

My baby is in pain and I can’t fix it. I have to trust her to God—praying that she and her husband’s hope will not die. That their faith will remain strong, even in the dark. And that their children will see and learn a deep trust in God, even when, as yet, there is no relief from the pain and mounting medical bills.

Maybe you’re there too. You or your loved one are in a dark night and wonder how much longer you, or they, can hold on.

It’s helped me to read biographies of Christians who’ve either been healed, or received a more perfect answer from God. I’ve read about Catherine Marshall, Amy Carmichael, C.S. Lewis, and Joni Eareckson Tada, and I am humbled by their stories. They’re honest about how they ricocheted back and forth between quiet faith and railing at God in despair. Some great movies based on people’s lives also encourage me—“Miracles of God,” “Heaven is for Real,” “I Can Only Imagine,” “I Still Believe.” Especially when not every ending is tied up in a pink bow, and yet are full of hope.

So why does God allow good people to suffer? Why is my daughter, who was steeped in ministry, now confined to bed in excruciating pain? Why are you, or the one you love suffering without relief? The book of Job from the Bible helps a lot. Job was given insight into a world beyond ours—the spiritual realm—where there is a constant battle going on for the souls of men. There we learn that God allows Satan to cause us pain and suffering sometimes, in order to prove and strengthen our faith. But God will never let Satan go too far. It’s up to us to trust God knows what He’s doing, even when we cannot see behind the curtain.

God’s Word gives me hope to keep believing, because I know He’s the only One who can make things better.

The prospect of the righteous is joy,
    but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.

Prov. 10:28

In this world, both believers and unbelievers suffer, but only those who trust in Jesus have the promise of heaven, where there will be no more tears or pain, or separation from God.

Hope deferred [delayed, overdue] makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

Prov. 13:12, brackets mine

Maybe you feel like it’s long past time for God to answer your prayers. His lack of response makes you wonder whether He really is a loving God.

You’re not alone. For centuries other Christians have wondered this too. But have realized that even when the pain seemed unbearable, God was in the dark with them. There is no hope anywhere else but in Him. Jeremy Camp has learned this in his own experiences and expresses it well in his song “Out of My Hands.”

Please contact me if you would like me to pray for you. And leave a comment if you have a praise story that would encourage others.