When There is Pain, Where is God?

Many times in life I’ve been faced with pain—everything from the death of a loved one, to financial woes, even reliving childhood heartache through the life of my child. It never gets easy, no matter how big or small it is—it still hurts. Each time I pray, asking God to remove the situation from my life.

blog photo - pain

Two weeks ago, as I picked up the kids from school, I watched Anastasia walk across the parking lot. She wasn’t smiling like normal and I could tell she was holding back tears.

She climbed in the car, stared out window and said, “Do you think I have a big nose? Sam kept telling me it was huge.”

Oh Lord, no!

My whole life I’ve been “nasally challenged”, meaning…I have a big nose. Growing up, the boys teased me relentlessly. I remember a time I went on trip with our church youth group—whenever I spoke the boys would sing the chorus, “The nose knows!”

I knew her pain. I felt her pain.

That evening we cuddled in bed for over an hour as she cried and cried, “I didn’t realize I was ugly! I never thought of my nose as being big until he said it.”

Her pain prevented her from hearing the truth. She’s beautiful.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I laid in bed praying, “Lord, why did you give her my nose? Please make the teasing stop!”

I finally gave up on sleep and decided to read. I was in the middle of Philip Yancey’s new book, The Question That Never Goes Away: Why? when I got to a passage that spoke directly to me.

Yancey mentioned how there were times in the Bible where God miraculously intervened to rescue men and women from their situation. However, more often He didn’t. Instead, God choose to work through “changed people to change history.”

“We cry out for God to do something for us, whereas God prefers to do work within and alongside us.”

Anastasia’s pain is part of growing up but it’s very real to her. However, I had focused my prayers on asking God to remove her circumstances, that I totally overlooked the possibility of God using it to bring about change in Anastasia, and me.

Change that would build compassion.

Change that would be positive and deep.

Change that would be used to improve the world.

This became my prayer for her.

We were in the car this weekend when Anastasia asked, “Have you ever wanted a nose job?”

Oh no! How honest should I be???

“Uh, yes, there have been times I wanted one.”


“I don’t want one. If I do, I’d be changing part of God’s creation.”

Wow…she didn’t get this from me!

God is obviously walking beside her through this ordeal, making a change in her that can be used to improve the world!

What prayers have helped you to endure pain?

Why do you think God chooses to walk alongside us through our pain instead of removing it?




  1. Val Faulkner says:

    So we can get beside others in pain and relate and share our dependence on God in times of pain and how we have grown. God has turned it to good in our lives. A lady in my Bible Study once said to me “If you had not gone through problems we could not have shared with you.”

    • Laurie Russell says:

      Hi Val!

      This is so true. I have developed deep bonds with others due to pain and suffering. It peels back all the frivolous fronts, that really don’t matter, and reveals a soul that is in need of love – from both God and others.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Laurie: My nose was my hang-up when I was growing up. At the time I was 12 or 13 my face was so skinny that my nose did look more prominent. As I grew to adulthood and my face filled out more, I let go my self-consciousness about it. But because I was self-conscious and let it show, that’s what everybody teased me about (we are all going to be teased, especially by those who want our attention the most). And boys!!…they’ll use what a girl they like is sensitive about to get her attention – ’cause that’s what works. It didn’t help either that my uncle zeroed his camera lens and enlarged my nose 10 times every time he took a picture of me, ’cause he know exactly how to pull my strings and get a big laugh. Today we all laugh about it. Anastasia is beautiful and she doesn’t need to worry about her nose one bit. With her hair, face and figure, whoever is going to notice the nose anyway? God blesses every one of us with different attributes and that’s what makes us interesting. If everyone were alike, the world would be in a terrible rut. We would all look alike, and none of us would be very interesting (unless we develop our character and personality) … just another clone. Praise God for the differences!

    • Laurie Russell says:

      Thank you so much Jane! I remember the days in my teens, fretting about my nose, and you and Marilyn were always so kind! God knew that insecure teen needed you two in my life. Love and miss you!!!

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