Why Do We Suffer?

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By Dawn Kelley, NLW Community Development Director


Earlier this year, my husband of 19 years took his own life…

He struggled with mental illness and, towards the end of his life, he believed it would be best for me and our two boys if he were no longer a burden on us.

With the holidays coming up, I find myself in a terribly difficult place emotionally and, to be honest, I am tired of grieving. Sorrow is messy and I don’t like messes. Life takes us down roads we never imagined and people make permanent choices that leave loved ones permanently scarred. For me, a scar would be a welcome addition because it would mean this wound would no longer be gaping open.

I want the pain to end. I want God to heal me. Right now. I want to move on. But God has chosen to leave me right where I am and I must humbly submit to His timeline for my healing. It is a process by which He is teaching me to be vulnerable and honest and to entrust myself to Him. Which leads me to explain why I am sharing my journey of grief with you all: because of the power of a testimony to encourage the body of Christ.

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. — 2 Corinthians 1:8-10, NLT

If you are in a place where you are simply just trying to endure the pain of a gaping wound, please be encouraged: God still heals. But your healing — my healing — will not always come when and how we want. In fact, our healing is not even the end goal. The goal is to get ourselves to Christ in the middle of our suffering.

A relationship of complete trust in Him during the worst of circumstances is the desired result. It is in the process of suffering by which we learn to solely rely on Him. If we do not need healing, we do not need Him. Not only that, I must daily (sometimes every moment) remind myself it is better for Him to heal me properly, in His own sweet time, than rush through it to avoid pain and do a terrible job of mending myself in the process.

So, until that day…

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. — 2 Corinthians 1:2-7, NLT

To connect with Dawn, you can email her at dkelley[at]nlwinternational.com. 




  • Mildred Chiwala

    This is a powerful testimony Dawn, I am so much encouraged on how you have kept on trusting in God and His timing. I am so sorry for the the loss of your beloved husband. You have my sympathy. I know it has been a hard time for you and your family. No word can really ease the loss, but I know you can hold onto the happy memories that you shared together – this is what keeps them alive in your heart. I will pray for you to continue to have peace and strength. May our good Lord heal your Heart.

  • Lucy M Muteneka

    Dawn’s story is so touching! The moment I heard it in Zimbabwe was like ” what an amazing lady!” She passed through suffering but she continued to love the Lord! I have shared to some ladies, especially those who pass through similar situations.
    Many have stopped loving God! Dawn can be a good encourager to the ladies/ men.
    I remember tears falling down my face because of the touching testimony! We always pray for her and her children! May the God of all comfort be with her all the time!

  • Tisha Peterson

    You are amazing. You are beautiful inside and out, full of strength and mercy. You are an inspiration to us all. You are wholly and completely loved, and God sees you right where you are. Thank you for sharing your struggle to help us all❤️.

  • Gwyneth Nalwamba Kaseke

    Because He lives, i can face tomorrow my dear friend. I love your continued dependence on Christ. You are an encouragement to all of us. This maturity in the knowledge of God’s word. You cause me to totally depend on Christ each time life throws issues at me. Bless you Dawn

  • Jackbeth mfune

    Am encouraged by your love for God.Even in pain you still yield to him.what I can simply say is that I can see Jesus in you dawn.love you and prayers for you

  • Diomara Mauney

    Reading your story it is reminder to me when I use to question God .
    Why ,why God allows so much suffering.
    when through my suffering he stood silent and did nothing!!
    All I know is that one who wasn’t guilty died in my place ,one who didn’t commit sin pay for my sin ,one who didn’t deserve to suffer, suffer because of me and he didn’t open his mouth, like a lamb he was led to be killed ,one when I was his enemy he loved me enough to die for me .that’s love !
    I looked for love all my life, true love, and I only founded in Jesus Chris.no one else can satisfy us like Him .
    I am a new creation.
    I am who he said I am.
    Who am I to question why ?

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