The Suffering

Christmas Eve. A surgeon, Turk, has been asked to work a 24 hour, overnight shift at the hospital because it is one of the busiest nights of the year for trauma and the emergency room. He tries to get some shut-eye in a bunk room for the doctors, and just as he lies down, his pager goes off and he gets up and rushes off to the ER. Some time later he comes back to the room to try to squeeze in 30 minutes of rest when again, his pager goes off just as he lies down, so up and out he goes. This cycle continues the entire night and he rushes out some 12 times throughout the night. After the final return, he slumps on the bed looking absolutely depressed and hopeless and tired.

At 6:30 Christmas morning, Carla, Turks wife, is waiting at home for him, so that they can go to church. Just then Turk walks in the door.
“Hey! You better hurry up, mass starts in fifteen minutes,” Carla says.
“I’m not going. I’m not going… ever,” and Turk goes into his room and shuts the door.

The next evening the two of them are talking back at the hospital.
“I feel abandoned! All my life, I believed that God listens to our prayers, and that He cares for us, and that He watches over us. And last night, there were so many people that needed to be watched over. How am I supposed to believe in someone that is willing to let innocent people suffer? Huh? Answer me. Please!” Turk says.
And Carla replies from her heart, “I can’t,” as Turk then turns and walks off frustrated at his recent dilemma.(1)

How many of us have struggled with that question? I would say most of us have. I know there have been trying times in my life where I certainly have had to ask that. It is most definitely no easy thing to tackle. It’s also probably one of the longest debated questions. It has turned people away from God. It has repelled people from God who never really did believe in Him. Experiences like Turk’s have tried and tested even the best of Christians too.

Some people give up, never really trying to actually answer that question. Some ask once, and then think that the answer is not there… think God is not there. Some ask the question, but never fine out what the answer is. Some do find it though. Some accept that there are some questions that just cannot be answered in this life.

The thing is… what if just looking at the question dead on, is the wrong approach? What if it’s the wrong question? It’s a perfectly legitimate question, believe me, but what if there is more than meets the eye?
As I said before, this topic has been addressed for hundreds of years, and I could come at it from a hundred different angles, but for now, just one.

What if there is more than meets the eye?

That Christmas night, Turk is alone on the roof of the hospital, thinking and pondering about the past 24 hours’ events, and about God, and his problem of suffering in this world.
Glimpsing at the Christmas tree in the park in the distance, he see’s something in the park. He turns and races down through the hospital and outside, and over to the park, where he goes up to the girl that he saw from the roof, all alone and clutching her stomach. The woman was pregnant and has fallen to the ground because she had just gone in to labor.
“You’re gonna be okay,” Turk says to the girl, as he delivers the baby right there…(1)

Maybe there’s more than one answer as to why there’s suffering in the world. Perhaps there’s a slightly different question. Perhaps some will find God amidst the search for an answer. Perhaps some may never.

My father died of cancer nearly 11 years ago now. I suppose there are times I feel cheated. I remember when he died, feeling a little upset at God for taking him because I felt he never deserved to go out like that. I felt sorry for myself, I felt sorry for my younger sister, and I felt sorry for my mother. I even felt sorry for my dad, having to suffer like that. I singled out God for it all. But, over time, something dawned on me… What if… what if his death wasn’t about me… and what if it wasn’t about him? What if it wasn’t about my mother or my sister even?

What if God had an even bigger plan?

What if God needed that to happen, to affect someone I’ve never even met? What if it was to affect the life of someone that met my father one single time and was impacted by him, heard about his death later and it changed this person’s life – thus impacting thousands of other lives through that change?

I don’t know. The fact is, I’ll never know the answer to that question this side of Heaven. Am I okay with that? I suppose I’ll have to be. The fact is, I realize that in reality I don’t know why he had to die, and in that not knowing, I can never blame God for cheating me, or cheating him out of life. Do I miss him? You bet I do. If I had the power to change some things would I? Quite possibly. Am I okay with him dying? Only in knowing and believing that God has a plan. God had a plan for my father, and God has a plan for you, and for me. What do we do with that?

The question of the problem of pain and suffering in this world is a legitimate question, and I believe there are answers. I believe it starts with Jesus, who knows pain and suffering first hand. Innocent, He was beaten profusely, spit on, mocked, and hung by nails on wooden cross to die, all in one day… and He did die. He died a horrible death.(2)
Do you know why? Because God has a much bigger plan…
The good thing is He came back to life. He conquered death. He suffered for you and for me and for all of mankind, so that you “might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ…”(3)

A short time later Turk’s friend, J.D., commented saying, “Miracles do happen. I think you just have to be willing to look for them.(1) My friends if you don’t believe in God, are you willing to truly look?

(1) Scrubs:
(2) John 19 –
(3) John 17 –



6 comments to “The Suffering”
  1. Many of us need to fall to our knees before we receive clarity. It was nice to see you write about your Dad and relate it with the Father. Very inspirational.

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