Where Joy and Sorrow Meet













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© John and Dana Hanley. All Rights Reserved.

First published August, 2015.

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Bible references: King James Bible (Public Domain).


Table of Contents



Awakened 7

Cries of the Heart 8

It’s OK to make me cry 9

A Higher Plane 10

Our Journey 12

Making His Presence Known 18

Heaven’s Answer 19

Joy and Sorrow Have Met 21

It Is Well 22

Postscript 23


At the Easel of the Master Painter Part IV / Part V 23

Endnotes: 24



“As great a discovery as chloroform was which anesthetized the pain in the physical bodies of people nothing is so great in my discovery as the love of Christ as it anesthetized the pain in my heart when I lost my own child.”

Sir James Young Simpson^^i^^

Chapter One


John: Pain highlights the fragility of man’s physical frame. Sorrow forces one to concede that man is a spiritual being; that he is more than mere flesh and bones. Suffering, then, is a warning indicator for the soul as C.S. Lewis writes,

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.^^ii^^”


And rouse it does for on December 12th, 2010 tragedy awoke our quiet home when we lost our twenty-one month old son Mattias (Tiggy) in a household accident^^iii^^.


Naturally our first questions pointed heavenward because circumstances were proving that life is ultimately out of our control. The mechanics of this world were marching on and we could not get out from underneath its death march^^iv^^.


At the same time we were made acutely aware of just how precious life is, the intrinsic nature thereof being self-revelatory. Could we have ever known how difficult it would be to purchase funeral clothes for our children while others were filling their carts with gifts as the sounds of seasons greetings swirled through the air?^^v^^


Certainly these emotions of helplessness and distress were brought to the fore and we wrestled; not with the basics of our Christian faith (2 Tim 2:19) but with our humanity. It hurt (Joh 11:33-36), deeply. Casting Crowns captures this rawness,

“I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say “Amen”,

And it’s still raining.”^^vi^^

In processing these thoughts I’ve found no shame in petitioning God for the answers that elude us. Actually, regardless of our circumstances, favorable or unfavorable, we should always be seeking God’s face for the Ancient of Days has given this wise advice that we should take to heart,

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom, for, it is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart. (Psa 90:12; Ecc 7:2)

Chapter Two

[]Cries of the Heart

Dana: Why? Why Mattias? Why my baby? He was such a good boy. So sweet. So happy. Why?” And there were those who answered,


“Jesus just needed your baby boy more than you did.”


“The Lord needed that smile to brighten Heaven.”


“God was short an angel.”


“Isn’t it an honor — a compliment — a privilege — that God deems you worthy of this trial?”


I never know how to respond to these insights into the ways of God. I prefer wrestling with why. It isn’t such a faith shattering question that it needs to be swept under the rug. Crying out why does not mean that our faith is weak, nor that we have placed ourselves in judgment of God.


“Why?” is a statement of belief.


Else why would we ask Him anything at all?


It is a recognition of His power and presence in our lives.


We know what He could have done. We just don’t understand why He didn’t.


It is a recognition that God is good.


That is why it is so difficult to reconcile the death of a loved one with what we know about God. But from the depths of my being, I am plagued with a feeling that This. Just. Isn’t. Right.


It hurts, not just emotionally, but physically. It leaves me nauseous and makes breathing difficult. My limbs feel heavy, as if they’ve turned to lead. This is not the way it was supposed to be.


And it isn’t. In six days, God created a world of beauty, hope and perfect communion with Him (Gen 1:31-2:3). That was destroyed by sin (Isa 24:5; [+ Gen 3:6-8+]), and death entered the world (Jam 1:15).^^vii^^


Today, our lives are for the most part pretty easy. Life expectancy has increased so much in the last 100 years that you can conceivably reach retirement without losing anyone closer to you than a grandparent. What we consider trials are often really no more than annoyances.


Amidst our taken-for-granted blessings, we forget that all of creation groans under the weight of the penalty of sin (Rom 8:22). Until it touches us and we groan alongside it. Until it touches us and we realize this is not the way it was supposed to be. Until it touches us and we cry out, “Why?”

“Asking why is okay – - – Jesus did – - – (Mat 27:46)”^^viii^^














[] +]

Chapter Three

[]A Higher Plane

John: In the midst of such heartfelt cries it certainly makes a huge difference whether God exists or not. For example if there is no God; there is no hope. If there is no hope; there is no deliverance. If there is no deliverance, pain and suffering ‘just is’. If pain and suffering ‘just is’; mankind is at the mercy of a heartless universe. William Lane Craig explains,

“If God does not exist, then both man and the universe are inevitably doomed to death. Man, like all biological organisms, must die. With no hope of immortality, man’s life leads only to the grave. His life is but a spark in the infinite blackness, a spark that appears, flickers, and dies forever.^^ix^^”

On the personal level Mr. Craig opines,

“This thought is staggering and threatening: to think that the person I call “myself” will cease to exist, that I will be no more!^^x^^”

Surely life without God is but a voided breath in which humanity loses any hope for the answers it seeks and any chance of relief from its long-suffering’s. But let us ask the question, “is this the way the world really works?”


Those who have lost loved ones will answer ‘no’. Even unbelievers make comments such as, ‘he’s looking down on you’ or ‘he’s in a better place now’ indicating an inexplicable knowledge within humanity testifying that the grave is not the end. Richard Wurmbrand gives this perspective,

“Suppose that we could speak with an embryo in his mother’s womb and that you would tell him that the embryonic life is only a short one after which follows a real, long life. What would the embryo answer? He would say just what you atheists answer to us, when we speak to you about paradise and hell. He would say that the life in the mother’s womb is the only one and that everything else is religious foolishness. But if the embryo could think, he would say to himself,

“Here arms grow on me. I do not need them. I cannot even stretch them. Why do they grow? Probably for a future stage of my existence. in which I will have to work with them. Legs grow, but I have to keep them bent toward my breast. Why do they grow? Probably life in a large world follows, where I will have to walk. Eyes grow, although I am surrounded by perfect darkness and don’t need them. Why do I get eyes? Probably a world with light and colors will follow.”

So, if the embryo would reflect about his own development, he would know about a life outside his mother’s womb, without having seen it. It is the same with us. As long as we are young, we have vigor, but no mind to use it aright. When, with the years, we have grown in knowledge and wisdom, the hearse waits to take us to the grave. Why was it necessary to grow in a knowledge and wisdom which we can use no more? Why do arms, legs and eyes grow to an embryo? It is for what follows. So it is with us here. We grow here in experience, knowledge, wisdom for what follows. We are prepared to serve on a higher level which follows death.^^xi^^”


Certainly there’s no denying that our days are challenging. Therefore it is necessary that we contend with the issue of pain and suffering at face value. We should use it as the catalyst which drives our broken humanity into the very throne room of God where we’ll discover to our surprise the love of His protective hand (Isa 42:5-6).


As troublesome as life appears remember that night comes before the dawn and our greatest triumphs (Col 2:15) can only come about after our greatest strife (Luk 22:44).


God beckons those who are sincere in heart and motivation to consider His ways extolling His creation,

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart…YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS….seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you…” (Mat 11:28-29; Luk 11:9).




[+ +]

[+ Stop. Breathe. Cry. Sometimes, it’s worth more than a smile+]

Chapter Four

[]Our Journey

Dana: It was a horrible, horrible accident and I’m still stuck replaying all the decisions I could have made differently that might have left my energetic little boy here in my arms, dispersing my dishes about the house, sneaking fruit out of the refrigerator and eating the tips off markers any chance he got. And it is only beginning to sink in how much worse it could have been.


Friday was such a windy day. 45 mile an hour gusts. We had an extension on our chimney with a draft inducing cap on top and the wind caught it and took it down with a crash. I was so glad I don’t let the children play outside on windy days. See, we have some loose tin on one of the barns and I’m terrified the wind will bring it down.


My husband went up but there wasn’t much he could do other than make sure that the chimney wasn’t damaged to the point of being unusable. It was bitterly cold. Wind chill that night was expected to reach minus 25. The men from the volunteer fire department who were first to arrive would leave the basement door open, causing all our pipes to freeze and break. It wasn’t a night we could go without heat.


But that caused some challenges. The stove didn’t have enough draft so the smoke started coming into the house. Flames shot out the front and scared me to death. I had the older children help me clear the area of anything flammable. I swept the hearth to make sure there weren’t any pellets or bark near the stove to catch fire and was so thankful John had been called to a job in Lincoln. I could stay up most of the night until he got home in order to babysit the stove. I got the fire extinguisher out and re-read the directions to make sure I knew how to use it.


It was bedtime, but the children were rather excited about the whole thing. I also didn’t want them breathing all the smoke. They asked for a family movie night. At first I said no, but then I thought they could get out their sleeping bags, watch a movie and hopefully fall asleep without any bedtime struggle since I really didn’t want to leave the stove.


Plus I figured if the house did catch fire, that put them all in one place. Since the first time I set the smoke detector off in the middle of the night without so much as a flinch from the children, I’ve been terrified about how on earth I would rescue six children on my own.


I finally got the smoke cleared and the stove heated up enough that the heat of the air started the drafting in the right direction. I checked on the children and they were all sitting, enjoying their show. I decided to go ahead and put the baby to bed and see how the stove was doing before maybe joining them for awhile.


As he was falling asleep, Tiggy and Ellie came up and started wrestling and jumping around on my bed. I played for a minute, let Tiggy shower the baby with his sweet little kisses but that is an amazingly difficult way to get a baby to sleep.


“Why don’t you go back downstairs and watch the movie with Koko?”


I will regret those words for the rest of my life. Over and over in my mind I keep him. Let him stay up. Let him bounce on the bed. Let the baby be awake until Tiggy bounced himself out of energy and fell asleep. He was such a good little boy. He obeyed immediately. I laid the baby down.


The phone rang. It was John. I had called him about the stove but it was under control now. I heard a crash, dropped the phone and ran to the basement.


“Tiggy!” I heard my daughter scream.


She and my son were standing there, doing their best to hold up a dresser. A heavy dresser. A sturdy dresser.. Nothing like what you’ll ever find at WalMart or Nebraska Furniture Mart. I loved that dresser because it was sturdy. Hardwood, and the drawers were even made of wood, not that balsa-like material in our other drawers. I hate that dresser. And the television we set on it because it was the most sturdy piece of furniture we own.


When the dresser started to tip, my twelve year old went for it. She was scratched by her puppy who was frantically trying to get out of the way. She was hit by a television. Still, she went toward the dresser and tried to catch it. My three year old was hit. She has a dresser-knob shaped circle on her ankle and some bruising on her leg. She didn’t so much as shed a tear. I wouldn’t find out anyone but Mattias had been hurt until we were at the hospital and I came out to tell them how Mattias was doing and try to calm them down a little.


And the dresser my husband had pushed and shook and stood on when we bought it to make sure it could take some climbing landed on my little Tiggy, cracking his head against the concrete floor. I don’t remember getting from the stairs to him. I only remember kneeling over him, the weight of the dresser on my back and screaming.


“Call 911!”


I shouted and my daughter was already running with the phone. I didn’t make a lot of sense, I don’t think. I said my address over and over as clearly as I could, but the lady on the other end wanted to know what happened. I remember screaming about my baby and blood and just screaming before taking a deep breath and repeating my address. She reassured me an ambulance was on the way. She had my address. But when help arrived, all they understood was that there had been an accident and a baby was involved.


John: Regrettably we may leave home too hurried to say our good-byes or in our weaker moments with a slammed door and an unforgiving word for the ones we love. Before leaving for work I received three flying leap hugs from Mattias. I would soon learn the value of taking that time and appreciating the ones we love.


Dana: I was panicking. I thought blood was coming from his eyes, nose and ear. I didn’t think there was any way he would live long enough for the ambulance to get there. I called my husband and told him he had to come home.


He stepped off the train, told his train crew his son was dying and got in the car. Normally, it would have taken several hours to get off the train in some outlying area, wait for a bus and so forth.

When the paramedics did finally arrive and I listened to them describe the injuries, I realized all the blood was coming from a cut above his nose. For a moment, I could breathe. For a moment, I thought maybe he would make it.


John: We are grateful that the first responders were able to reach our home. If the accident happened the year before two feet of snow would have prevented any such assistance.


Dana: One of the men from the volunteer fire department drove me and all the children to the hospital. The same man who dug out our whole road when our mini van fell in the ditch. The same man who advised me about the dangers of winter, the need for an alternate heat source and the need for food and water stores. The same man who put our little grass fire out. And the same man who re-graded our road after the fire.


We got to the hospital and Mattias was still alive. He was responding to pain. He had a bite reflex. My husband arrived shortly after.


John: At the county hospital we were able to comfort the children as best we could, ‘it’s no one’s fault, stop bickering, their working on him, we’re going to figure things out.’

While making sleeping arrangement the first plan was to split them among two homes. Fortunately they were able to stay at a friend’s house, under one roof.


Dana: I thought maybe. Maybe there was a chance. But he was so little and that dresser was so heavy. I wanted to be in the room with him. Holding him. Talking to him. But I didn’t want to be in the way. I didn’t want to distract anyone if I screamed. I didn’t want to take nurses away if I collapsed. I knew this might be the last I saw him alive and I had to fight all my maternal drive to be with him to give him the best possible medical attention he could get.


They wanted him at the Children’s Hospital in Omaha but Life Flight wasn’t flying. The sheriff was checking to see if the roads were open. They were. They began preparing him for transport. I told my parents Omaha and they left their home in Kansas. Omaha called and said he needed to be at a trauma center. Lincoln would be best. I figured my parents would figure it out.


John: Mattias was transported to the city hospital. As my wife and I drove we pulled over to allow the ambulance to pass. Once again we were left wondering whether our son would still be alive by the time we got somewhere. We kept track of the emergency vehicle several miles before it was swallowed up by the hills.


Dana: When we got there, Tiggy was still alive. Getting a CT scan. We sat in a room with a nurse offering drinks and heated blankets. John wrapped me, practically swaddled me, while she discussed their respite rooms and that we could stay there at the hospital.


The CT scan was not good. Severe fracture to the skull. Severe brain trauma. They described the surgery and the risks. They wanted to make sure I understood the risks and I wanted to yell at them for talking to me when they could be getting started.


We were led out to the hall and told what we were to see as Tiggy would be carted from the intake room to surgery. They paused with the cart so we could see and talk with him ever so briefly before continuing the dash to surgery. Something in me knew it was goodbye. But I kissed him ever so lightly on the forehead because I was terrified of hurting him.


“I love you, Tiggy! Be a good boy.”


John: During the short walk between the emergency and operating rooms I told him I loved him and to pull through so we could play vroom-vroom’s together. He loved toy cars.


The wound on his head was unavoidable. Filled with tenderness I also kissed him ever so gently on the forehead hoping he wouldn’t feel any more pain.

Dana: And they took him. The last thing I heard as he went through the door was one of the nurses informing the surgeon that his blood pressure was improving. And again I had a glimmer of hope that would flicker faintly for another hour before we knew for sure.


John: I wonder did he hear our voices and that’s why his blood pressure improved? For one last time did his spirit push his little body to say in such a feeble manner, ‘l love you too’.


Dana: He had held on for five hours. He was a fighter. Strong and sweet and full of a life that could not be easily taken. He hung on long enough for my husband to see him, so my husband and I could be together to see him for the last time.


John: The doctors walked down the hall to the waiting room 45 minutes ahead of schedule. You could see the heartache etched on their faces. A parent’s worst fear was about to be confirmed. Before the words even left their mouths we knew Mattias was gone. The doctors encircled us, their tears freely flowing.


Everybody involved that evening were impacted in some form. I felt immense distress for the staff as much as they did for us. It truly takes a special person to work in a field categorized by the highs of saving a life and the lows of seeing one end. Asked if we would like to see Mattias we found ourselves standing in front of that door.


Entering, unaware the front lines had been drawn (Eph 6:12) and the height of battle was drawing near when Satan wanted to attack me personally (Job 1:11). We proceeded over to where our lifeless son lay. My wife went to the opposite side of the bed and I took my position closest to the door.


After a short period of grieving together my wife’s family arrived. From the moment the doors opened I watched as if in slow motion their every step. They walked across the room, intent and full of purpose, passing by without any acknowledgment, reaching their destination, my wife. It was their parental duty. Of this I have no delusions, I fully understood.


However from my vantage point, from my life’s experience, it was the most difficult moment of the entire evening. The pastors and hospital staff kept a respectful distance. My wife was in the arms of her family and the only other person in the room was Mattias. His lifeless body stretched out upon the bed. He was gone… I felt so helpless and utterly forsaken.


Wanting a comforter, needing someone, I was physically finding none. Much like the abandonment that came with the first six years of my life standing there, right then was ultimate loneliness, agonizingly so (2 Chr 32:31). Nothing could relieve the pain as emotions were crushing in around me. I stood on an island. Displaced. Defeated. Devastated.


The inner turmoil intensified and total despair overtook me. Though it seemed I couldn’t cry anymore a new stream burst forth from the depths of my already shattered soul. My cries went to heaven, O’ God…


I would soon find the embrace of my extended family (Gal 6:2) and though the storm raged on it would never again be as intense as that precise moment (Isa 41:13).


Dana: I think about that long, impossible walk towards the hospitals exit. With every step, the door shrank away from me until we were suddenly there.

Nurses stood at the door, offering condolences, hugging me, asking me if I needed a wheelchair. I remember being mildly irritated at the suggestion.


But as soon as I stepped out, I collapsed.


My husband and two nurses caught me and carried me back inside, placing me in the wheelchair I had refused. Everyone was talking, trying to figure out who was going to ride where. A nurse suggested no one move the car seat. So it sat there empty for over a week.


John: We broke the news to his siblings. Each responded as expected. Dakota was silent, Steffen was angry, Nisa was goofy, Elianna O’ sweet child. Micah at one and a half months just needed his mommy.


Dawn broke. It was Sunday morning. Our lives would never be the same again.



Chapter Five

[] Making His Presence Known

John: Alan Redpath in his bestselling book ‘Victorious Christian Living’ shares this advice,

“Sometimes in the course of human experience it is good to sit down and reflect on what has been conquered by the grace of God. Not boastfully, but with a humble and grateful heart, to survey the years that have gone and to go over the pages of memory carefully to recall where the grace of God has triumphed, so that we will be able to look into His face and say, “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. (Rom 5:20)^^xii^^”

Reading through our journey did you notice, as Mr. Redpath suggests, the unmerited divine assistance of God moving alongside us that evening? Well, there’s one more piece of information I’d like to share that binds His handiwork together.


Traveling under specific instructions to, “maintain a legal speed, arrive safely, your son needs you”, a numbness that’s hard to explain overtook me. Time slowed to a crawl and silence ruled the car. Elijah testifies it’s in these quiet moments that God makes His presence known (1Ki 19:11-13).


Topping a hill I happened to glance towards the horizon where I saw a solitary shooting star blaze through the night sky. It was the most beautiful shooting star I’ve ever seen. At that exact moment my heart leapt with joy (Psa 108:1) as this thought immediately came to me,


“I AM God! I AM still in my heavens!”


My soul soon quieted and the numbness returned. For the remainder of the drive and the time spent at the hospital I held out hope (2 Sam 12:22) yet, somehow I knew deep down Mattias would not survive. A shooting star shines but for a few seconds and Mattias’ life would be gone all too quick.


Yet, in that star (Psa 19:1), before I even knew of the battles that lay ahead, God planted the seed whose roots would go deep as a firm foundation (Rom 15:12). He had granted me comfort in the fact that there is One who knows all the stars by name (Psa 147:4) and this truth He imprinted upon my heart that cold winter’s night.


When I was at my wit’s end and felt so abandoned in that hospital room He sustained me then, as He does now (Psa 3; Psa 54:4) because the battle rages on. Only His comfort and care is what got/gets me through my trials of grief, loneliness, and loss. That same sustaining power never ceases and is present in the gospel message:

“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.” He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.^^xiii^^”

Chapter Six

[]Heaven’s Answer

John: Known for the Lord of the Rings trilogy’ J.R.R. Tolkien coined the neologism eucatastrophe meaning,

“…the sudden turn of events at the end of a story which ensures that the protagonist does not meet some terrible, impending, and very plausible doom.xiv

Though Tolkien’s interest is in myth, it is also connected to the gospel; Tolkien calls the Incarnation the eucatastrophe of “human history” and the Resurrection the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation.xv


Dana: A recent comment, words of encouragement.

“You will again call God good.”


Pause for reflection.


I’ve cried out in anguish with a sorrow so deep there were not words to attach to the prayer. I’ve cried out in anger over sliced hot dogs, snipped drawstrings and safety fences that in the end were not enough to spare my little boy from a terrible accident.


I’ve wrestled with why. Why? Why isn’t my little boy here, asleep in his little bed with his bottom in the air and a car tucked under his arm?


But did I ever stop calling God good?


I think of recent conversations, Facebook statuses and Twitter updates with others extolling the virtues of God.

“Car needs over a thousand dollars worth of work. Didn’t know how we were going to afford it. Then we did our taxes and the money we’re getting back covers it almost exactly.

Isn’t God amazing?“

“Had lots of errands. Forgot to fill the tank. Low fuel light came on as we came into a part of town where I did not want to stop. Ran out of gas, coasted down a hill, into a gas station and right to the pump.

Isn’t God faithful?”

“Hubby got the job! After over a year, our savings held out and he got the job!

Isn’t God good?”


Pause for reflection. What about when things don’t turn out so well?

As I knelt on the floor, the weight of a dresser on my back, trying to keep my son’s head and neck straight as I rolled him to his side so he wouldn’t aspirate on his own vomit…

{Was God amazing?}

As I stood shaking in the ER, wanting to be with him (needing to be with him), terrified of being in the way as I heard them trying over and over and over to get him intubated…

{Was God faithful?}

And, only minutes after a nurse had told us he would be in room 201, went over the use of the respite rooms, admonished us to be strong for him, as the surgeon came in and told us he couldn’t save our son…

{Was God good?}


It isn’t really something we post to Facebook quite like that, but even in tragedy, God is amazing. He is faithful. He is good. Because His character is not dependent on my circumstances.


He has done many wonderful things in my life, but His character is not revealed through my wealth nor through my safety nor through my comfort.


His character is revealed through the cross.


And as I think of my son crushed, his skull broken, his form lifeless, I can think of only one thing. Our Father did it willingly. For me. For you. For the world He loved so much He gave His only begotten son.










S.M. Lockeridge, That’s My King

Chapter Seven

Joy and Sorrow Have Met

John: Looking north-east from our front porch and within walking distance sits the cemetery where Mattias’ is buried. One may assume this to be a continual stoking of our pain and suffering, but it is not (1 Co 15:55). When we look across the field at the tree line we realize that is where our son’s physical body is laid.


Looking up to the heavens we acknowledge that is where our son now lives (2 Sa 12:23).


Tolkien describes it this way,

“…your whole nature chained in material cause and effect, the chain of death, feels a sudden relief as if a major limb out of joint had suddenly snapped back. It perceives… – that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature is made…and produces that essential emotion: Christian joy which produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled…^^xvi^^”


Truly at the foot of the cross is where the terrible wages of man’s sin, death (Rom 6:23), meet face to face with the life giving payment made by Jesus Christ (Rom 5:8)^^xvii^^. Bruce A. Little expresses this meeting of joy and sorrow perfectly,

“If you ever doubted that God loved you look to the cross; for there He could never love you more and He could never love you less!^^xviii^^”







[+ The highs, lows and constancy of Christmas+]

Chapter Eight

[]It Is Well

Horatio Spafford was ruined financially during the 1871 Great Chicago Fire and the economic downturn of 1873. In November of that same year, he lost four daughters when the SS Ville du Havre collided with the Loch Earn in the Atlantic Ocean. His wife who survived sent this message,

“Saved alone…”


While sailing over the area where his daughters perished, Horatio penned his famous hymn, “It is Well With My Soul” a reminder of the

“eternal hope that all believers have, no matter what pain and grief befall them on earth’^^xix^^.”


Blessed with three additional children on February 11, 1880, Horatio Goertner Spafford, their four year old son died of scarlet fever. Still, Horatio sang,

“When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know…

Though Satan should buffet^^xx^^, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control…

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul…

It is well, it is well, with my soul^^xxi^^”





John 3:16 – The Story of Love

Chapter Nine


Since our son’s death our hearts have turned toward the plight of children who have never known the kind of love he did even in his short life. Children who live in poverty so extreme that their own parents sell them into slavery. Children who are raised by the streets and who will more than likely turn their own children over to those same streets. We humbly ask that if these pages have brought you any comfort please consider helping these children by supporting:


Tiny Hands International

P.O. Box 67195
Lincoln, NE 68506



[] At the Easel of the Master Painter +] / +]


iSimpson, Sir James Young, via, Zacharias, Ravi, ‘Through Conflict and Crisis’,



iiLewis, C.S., ‘The Problem of Pain’, p 93




“It is a tremendous moment when first one is called upon to join the great army of those who suffer. That vast world of love and pain opens suddenly to admit us one by one within its fortress. We are afraid to enter into the land, yet you will, I know, feel how high is the call. It is as a trumpet speaking to us, that cries aloud—‘It is your turn—endure.’ Play your part. As they endured before you, so now, close up the ranks—be patient and strong as they were. Since Christ, this world of pain is no accident untoward or sinister, but a lawful department of life, with experiences, interests, adventures, hopes, delights, secrets of its own. These are all thrown open to us as we pass within the gates—things that we could never learn or know or see, so long as we were well. God help you to walk through this world now opened to you as through a kingdom, regal, royal, and wide and glorious.” Canon Scott-Holland, Letter to George John Romanes, 1892


ivThe world’s death-march:


“I have also had letters from Satanists offering an apology for their religion. One of them writes:


“A defense of Satanism needs only the Bible for documentary evidence. Think of all the thousands of earthly people, created in Gods own image, mind you, destroyed by fire and brimstone (Sodom and Gomorrah), a lethal miscellany of plagues, and, to top everything off, the drowning of the earth’s population, except for Noah’s family. All of these devastation’s brought about by a “merciful” God/Lord/Jehovah. What could a merciless god have done? But in all the Bible there is no record of even one death being brought about by Satan! So, let’s hear it for Satan!”


This Satanist has not studied the Bible well. Death came into the world through Satan’s deceit, his luring Eve into sin. This Satanist has also drawn his conclusions too soon. God has not yet finished with His creation.” [+ Wurmbrand, Richard+], [+ Marx and Satan+], Living Sacrifice Books, p 69


vHard to say goodbye:


“Some people say, God’s children shouldn’t feel the pain. That we should understand, we’ll see our friends again. But I know how the angels felt, all through the last words Jesus said. The skies grew dark, the land shook, from the tears that they shed. And though I know my brother, was in the Lord on the day he died. My eyes grew dark and my hand shook, as I stood by his side. And I may say I have no fear and I don’t ask God why. But it can still be hard to say goodbye. When the tears start to flow, you know it isn’t wrong. And if you think I’m over it, you can see…God is still the only reason I can carry on. Now you must carry on.” Asmus, Gerry, ‘Hard to Say Goodbye’, www.gerryasmus.com


vi Hall, John Mark / Herms, Bernie, Casting Crowns, Praise You in This Storm, Sony/ATV Music

Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.


viiDestroyed by sin:


“The Hebrew word Adam, like the Greek anthropos and the Latin homo, means “mankind”; in that sense, the first man was a representative of the entire race—a kind of perfect statistical sampling of mankind in general. Thus the truth of the old school-book doggerel: “In Adam’s fall, we fell all”: had you or I been in the Garden, we would have done the same as Adam and Eve did, so we are in no position to blame someone else for our condition.” [+ Montgomery, John Warwick+], ‘Tractatus Logico-Theologicus’, p 149




ix Craig, William Lane, ‘The Absurdity of Life Without God’,





xiWurmbrand, Richard, [+ Tortured For Christ+], Living Sacrifice Books, p 88


xiiRedpath, Alan, ‘Victorious Christian Living: Studies in the Book of Joshua’,


CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 8, 2013)


xiiiStevenson, Mary, Footprints in the Sand


xivMazur, Eric Michael, ed. (2011). ‘Encyclopedia of Religion and Film’, p 174


xvTolkien, J.R.R., ^’^The Monster and the Critics and Other Essays’, p 155


xviTolkien, J.R.R, ‘The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter 89


xvii To be expected:


“Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state?” Gregory of Nyssa


xviiiLittle, Bruce A., ‘Evil and the God who Knows

[_ www.bethinking.org/suffering/evil-and-the-god-who-knows_]


xixEditor, cyberhymnal.org/htm/i/t/i/itiswell.htm


xxSee: [+ Genesis 3+], [+ Job 1+]


xxiSpafford, Horatio, ^’^It Is Well with My Soul’, 1873, Public Domain


This hymn is based on 2 Kings 4:26: “Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well,” and Psalm 146:1: “Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul.”



Where Joy and Sorrow Meet

Desiring to reach out to others battling their own personal times of difficulty, Where Joy and Sorrow Meet by John and Dana Hanley offers hope and encouragement after loss. Read and discover that Christian truth, where joy and sorrow meet. Never shy in detailing the raw emotions of grief, nothing is hidden. From human helplessness, to petitioning God 'Why?'. From questions of eternity, to living through the event and its aftermath it comes to a head in the as they explore the question, "Is God Good?" Job never received an answer for his travails. What he did receive is the lesson that God is sufficient amidst our pain and suffering. The Apostle Paul expressed the same sentiment and here, John and Dana explore the same themes for anyone struggling with the loss of a loved one.

  • ISBN: 9781310013300
  • Author: Dana Hanley
  • Published: 2016-06-08 17:50:14
  • Words: 6742
Where Joy and Sorrow Meet Where Joy and Sorrow Meet