Thursday, March 18, 2010

How much can one family take?

Sometimes it seems tragedy hits in waves. We know one such family that's getting hit in spades.

My friend Tiffani called yesterday. "Even as we speak," she said, choking, "The Dole's house is burning down."

This was shocking enough news, but piled on top of what the Doles have already endured, it seems unendurable.

The Doles are a homeschooling family with eight kids. They lost a baby a couple years ago. Mike Dole lost his job a few months ago and managed to find a minimum wage job in Spokane, an hour's drive away (gas prices - cha ching).

Tracy Dole was pregnant and learned that the baby had a rare and usually fatal congenital heart condition. The baby was born three weeks ago and has already undergone one major surgery; we're not sure he will live.

And now their house has burned down.

What is God thinking?

I don't know, and I can't even begin to guess. I just know these people are hurting and need our prayers.

I believe there is a fund set up to defray the cost of little Jethro's care. I'm hoping it will accept donations for the Dole's physical needs as well. I'll post what I find out.

UPDATE: Here's a news story on the Dole's situation. Donations can be made to: FBO Jethro Storms Dole, Sterling Savings Bank, PO Box 285, Plummer, ID 83851


  1. "What is God thinking?" That has been going through my head a lot lately as so many good families I know are suffering greatly right now. A priest I spoke to thinks that society is on the brink of collapse and God is requiring the redemptive sufferings of the Church--the Mystical Body of Christ. What else can it be...?

  2. In general I believe that our choices and what comes from them lead to most things that happen to us. However it seems that some folks have no luck but bad, at least for awhile.

  3. ...That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matt 5:45)

    (I feel the above verse was the Bible's way of saying: "Yes, s**t does happen.")

    I think there are truths in both Nadja's and Ryan's comments. God's already laid out His plan for this world, and yes - things are gonna get worse before they ultimately get better. But if you've read the ending you know who will triumph in the end.

    Until then we press on one day at a time; giving and receiving love as He commanded.

    Let's open our hearts and our wallets to this family.

    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

  4. To paraphrase what a friend told me a while back, I don't believe God is in the business of punishing believers. Pain and heartbreak and tragedies befall us all and I believe rather that our Lord stands in the gap for us.

    The loss of a child is, in my opinion, the ultimate suffering. It doesn't matter if that child dies as an infant, or a teen or as a young adult. It is just unfathomable pain to bury your own child. I know ... I lost my own son a little under a year ago.

    The father lost his job and now commutes for a much lower paying job. Finding a job in this economy at all is not only a blessing, it's almost a miracle. So even though it's farther away and less money, it was still a JOB when he had none. This is a prayerful family and I believe the Lord can intercede for them with little Jethro. Whether he survives the surgeries or his condition, only time will tell. If his time in this world is short, he will still have been a blessing to his family. Now their home has burned down now, but none of them perished in the fire. I believe God stands in the gap.

  5. Surely the most rational conclusion to draw from this harrowing story is, that if there is a "god", i.e. some supernatural, all-powerful force in the universe, it has never taken the slightest interest in the human race and we have no reason to believe it ever will.

  6. Tracy and Mike are amazing examples of praising God even in adversity! Tracy is an amazing person and I feel privileged to be her friend!!!

  7. has the cause of the fire been determined??

  8. Hi Patrice,

    I've started reading your columns on WND, and I like the way you think!

    I have to admit that I did not read the comments posted before mine, so perhaps someone else has already posted this - but I expect probably not.

    I read your article, I also read Kushner's book years ago, and I have talked with a number of people who blame God when bad things happen.

    But Jesus said "The THIEF does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

    So why not blame Satan for the bad things that happen?

    (And, by the way, isn't it just like Satan to try and convince people that God is responsible for Satan's work?)

    So, instead of getting mad at God, why don't w understand that stuff like this comes from Satan

  9. That's an incredibly logical perspective, Matthew. I honestly had never thought of it that way.

    Anonymous, while the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the thought it this: The Doles had had their power shut off for a couple of weeks (times are tough). When it was switched back on, the thought is either something short-circuited. As I said, no one knows at this point.

    - Patrice

  10. Here are all the Bible verses about suffering:

    Also here is the ending of this page:

    about why we are allowed to suffer:

    The relation between our present life and the life to come is the condition for the meaningfulness of our sufferings in this present life. The gospel shows us that suffering is an opportunity given to us to participate in our future blessedness by offering our present sufferings, in union with Christ’s sufferings, to God in self-giving sacrifice. Our suffering then takes on a whole different dimension, transformed from the occasion of a fist-shaking interrogation of God or cause for doubting His goodness or existence into the greatest opportunity to show Him trust and self-donation, without the least futility, knowing that it will be repaid a hundred fold. (Matt 19:26) This is why the Christian martyrs rejoiced when they were chosen for martyrdom, and why after being flogged the Apostles went away “rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:41) Apart from the gospel, much of our suffering would seem gratuitous and even sinister. But in the light of the gospel we see that our suffering is a gift, a gift of the same sort as this present life, but even greater. It is the gift of an opportunity to give ourselves entirely to God in the greatest possible expression of love, i.e. sacrifice: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

  11. Your argument is built on straw Maureen. As with all religions it is based in primitive superstitions. You should live your life as if it is the only one, alleviate suffering where you can and be thankful for all the benefits that rational thought and the scientific method have given us.

  12. God wants us to rely on Him. Sometimes, when life is going well, we can get a little "big for our britches" and feel like WE are in control. When things start to go wrong, it sends a Christian to his/her knees before the throne in total reliance on God...right where we should be.

    I would be so weak in faith if not for my house fire, Dh's lost jobs, his illness, etc. God is good-all the time! His plans are perfect and often not revealed until after we come out of the valley-if at all. But I choose to trust Him, and I have peace and joy in the midst of the storms as a result.


  13. I heard this song on Christian radio by Phil Stacey and I thought the lyrics may be encouraging in situations like this. God is not surprised or shaken even when we are.

    Song= You're Not Shaken

    I am sinking in a river that is raging
    I am drowning, will I ever rise to breathe again

    I want to know why
    I just want to understand
    Will I ever know why
    How could this be from Your hand

    When every little thing that I have dreamed would
    Just slips away like water through my hand
    And when it seems the walls of my belief are
    crashing down
    Like they’re all made of sand
    I won’t let go of You now, because I know
    You’re not shaken

    I’m trembling in the darkness of my own fear
    All the questions with no answers still grip me while
    I’m here

    And I may never know why
    I may not understand
    But I will lift up my eyes
    And trust this is Your plan

    When I am in the valley of the shadow of death
    You’re not shaken, You’re not shaken
    You’re right here beside me and You have never

    You’re not shaken, You’re not shaken

    Steve from NC

  14. We all live in a fallen world with a demonic fallen angel doing his best to drag people down with him. We don't want to go there. This is going to end when the time is right and I want to be celebrating in the wonderful new creation of God. Please love these people and pray that they hold fast to faith in Christ Jesus. We are not able to see or understand the big picture yet.

  15. Are you talking metaphorically Lloyd or do you believe this stuff literally? Also please don't use the collective pronoun. You only know a tiny fraction of the world's population and certainly don't know their views on the world or where they are going or what they can see or understand. For all you know a buddhist, just for example, might understand a lot more than you do, (and who is there to say he doesn't), but doesn't dress it up in fancy language.

  16. I will not trade barbs with you quedula in this forum out of respect for the fact that this is Patricia's site paid for by her. I'm sorry you are feeling this compulsion to rag on everyone.

  17. Oh, that's okay Lloyd. The blog is free and I enjoy reading the give-and-take. I just marvel that an avowed atheist would choose to post her thoughts on a Christian blog. But hey, whatever floats her boat, I guess. At least she's relatively polite. I've had some comments that weren't.

    - Patrice

  18. Lloyd. I apologise if I was too brusque. I thought you could take it!

    Patrice. I have long been fascinated by what goes on in a believer's brain that doesn't go on in mine and the reasons for it. One can't find answers or argument on an atheist's blog. Thank you for your indulgence.

  19. I can not answer for why anyone's brain works the way that it does. As I understand it we are only capable of using a small percentge of it's capacity in our current condition. I believe we will be restored to the natural condition after this all shakes out. Oh by the way, I can take it!

  20. All I can tell you is what goes on in my brain as a believer in Christ. I believe my mindset is different from a non-believer as the Bible says "God's thoughts are different from our thoughts". When I accepted Christ into my life as a believer He changed my mindset to HIS mindset. I believe God created the world and humans like myself to have relationship with Him. My Goal is to love God back with my life by finding HIS purpose for me to do what He created me to do. I love God back for His love of me by creating me and sending His Son Jesus so that I may have my wrong doing forgiven and have a home for eternity in heaven with God once I die due to HIS love and forgiveness, and not spend my life after death separated from God. I have found that God also provided instructions of how to live my life in the Bible that along with a daily prayer time where I ask for HIS guidance in my life's decisions, so I can make the best decisions in my life by following His guidance. My worldview is different as it is focused on what God wants and living my life to please HIM instead of just myself. Also, my worldview is focused on eternity as a believer in eternal life after death in heaven with God instead of just what goes on in this life. I believe believers in God have a different mindset and that is why Atheists and believers have a hard time understnading each other as their mindsets are completely different.

    Steve from NC

  21. Well said Steve, and may I add that faith is not simply cerebral. It is at your core, your heart or attitude. Humility is the beginning point.

  22. Steve from NC: Please see my latest comment on "Update on the Doles". I await your reply with interest.

    I'm afraid you are simply wrong Lloyd. ALL our experiences are cerebral. If you remove someone's brain they are incapable of experience.
    The terms "core", "heart", "attitude" in this context are therefore meaningless. And, if, as you say, humility is the beginning point, in many religious believers (present company excepted) arrogance certainly seems to be the end point.

  23. quedula, I'm sure you have heard of Voltaire the famous God hating Frenchman and philosopher. He always talked this sort of bluster as well. Until he was on his death bed and then his bluster turned to horror. Even his athiest pals there to observe his heroic struggle were shocked and appalled. I have been with people as they passed from both sides of this discussion. The difference is stark and scary. Christians show calm peace and courage. God haters are terrified. Unconsolable as it were.

  24. Lloyd is correct as for a believer my experience with God is my entire being: heart, soul, mind. I still have the ability to choose God's way or my way in every decision but have a different mindset now that God has come in my life where I want to choose HIS ways as I see they are for my best. This is very logical for me as a believer but will seem strange to an atheist who does not see God as part of the equation. Like my wind example that I posted earlier in our conversation, a believer's experience is based on faith in what you cannot see when it comes to God, and God cannot be explained completely in a logical way without faith being involved. I believe atheists have faith. It is so much more logical for me to believe in a loving God who created every detail of us as humans and everything in this world out of nothing, than to believe it all happened by chance where we cannot explain the the source of the Big Bang or what started Evolution. I say this not to put down the beliefs Atheist's hold but rather to attempt to further explain the logical mindset and where I am coming from as a believer. I pray you will find what you are looking for in your search to understand the faith of believer's in Christ.

    Steve from NC

  25. Lloyd, you say:
    "Christians show calm peace and courage. God haters are terrified."

    Well I shall be OK then. I don't hate god. One can't hate something one doesn't believe exists. Surely you can see there is really no point in making comments like this to an atheist? Or do you think I should pretend to believe to be on the safe side?

  26. Steve, re. The 'Big Bang"

    I would agree with you that there is a mystery to the basic fact of existence that we may never be able to penetrate. But calling it "g-o-d" and praying to it seems hardly likely to advance our understanding.

  27. That is the difference between a believer in God and an atheist. The atheist looks for understanding in learning, science, and experience hopeing but not guaranteed to find all the answers. The believer sees the world differently. God is the author of the world who is all knowing who put everything in motion so He is the beginning and ending of all understanding to a believer. What a believer does not know or understand in this life, will be known completely in eternity.

    If a believer believes in God and HE ends up not existing the believer has lost nothing as eternity will not exist. But if an Atheist does not believe in a God who does exist and is everything HE says He is, then the atheist loses everything being separated from God in eternity.

    Not trying to upset you, but this is a question all of us have to ponder in this life.

    Steve from NC

  28. Ha! Pascal's wager. This is only ever an argument for feigning belief and if god is omniscient he will quickly see through the subterfuge.

    But in any case what is so special about "belief" per se. Might god not prefer a life of kindness & sincerity when allocating his rewards? Or a life of honest seeking after scientifically provable truths rather than one of religiously-inspired sycophancy?

    Thanks for the discussions. I shall leave it here. Be happy.

  29. quedula, I would never want to impose on your right to choose any position you wish. That's the beauty of God. You are FREE! Free to live or die. I think you would like to live. The only reason I bothered to write this is because I believe you will return to see it. If I'm wrong then I'm sorry to waste everyones time.

  30. Quedula,

    I enjoyed the discussions and your willingness to read my responses based on what God says in His word, the Bible,and your willingness to ask good questions. Belief is special as it is what God says he requires. "Whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16) May you find happiness in your life as well.

    Steve from NC