The Celebration of Suffering, Vol. 24 No. 2

I would consider my calling to be a healer, to practice resurrecting broken bodies, hearts and lives in conjunction with my community. But as I have entered into a new phase of my calling as a nurse, now working within the ICU,  I have realized that sometimes we are unable to fix the damage that has compounded within someones body. 

Often when I receive a patient, there is never any guarantee that they will make a full recovery, if any recovery at all. We work tirelessly to do everything for a patient if that is their wish, or their family’s wish. But in the midst of caring for the patient that is in front of me, I have also recognized that it is often the family that needs caring for as they struggle with the reality of potentially letting their loved one go.

Because of this, in the last few weeks, more than any other time in my life, I have begun to understand the meaning of solidarity, and suffering with. It has  also given me further insight into the beauty of Emmanuel, the suffering God with us.

Like so many of the Jewish people hoping for Jesus to come and overturn the Roman government and bring about the restoration of God’s kingdom, I forget that God’s love and truth often is not manifested in the ways I think it should be. So often I look for the miracle, the full recovery, and the complete restoration of a person or situation.

And while God is in all of these things, it is also good to remember that God is in the hardship and suffering as well.

A young boy at work in his village in Sierra Leone.

Christ was sent to us as a reminder of this. Born to parents who found themselves in the heart of poverty, our creator came in human form into the heart of suffering. And when he left, he left in the same way: on a cross in the midst of two suffering people, who may have been as unfairly treated as He was in this world.

It is in meditating on this that I have been reminded that my calling is not just in healing but in walking with those who are suffering, even when I know that they may never see complete healing on this earth. As I look into the tear-filled eyes of my neighbor, I remind them that I am with them as they make the decision to remove the breathing tube and medications that are keeping their loved one’s body alive. I breathe in the pain, and hope that I breathe out grace and mercy when I cannot fix what is unfixable. I hold fast to the knowledge that Christ breathes with us in this very moment of suffering, and there is healing in this presence as well.


Ashley Brown was born and raised in Boise, Idaho. She attended George Fox University while working towards her Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology. During this time she had the opportunity to study abroad in Rwanda and took part in a month long internship at the hospital in Rwamagana. This confirmed her desire to work as a nurse with the hope of eventually working in the international medical field.

After coming back to the States, she attended Creighton University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and has since been working in a surgical cardiac unit in her hometown of Boise. She hopes to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice in the near future.

Outside of work, Ashley enjoys dancing, reading, listening to records, pottery and drinking good coffee. Ashley is more than excited to be joining the passionate team at Word Made Flesh. More than anything she desires to journey alongside people of all nations and walks of life, and in doing so learn to live out the love, justice and mercy of Christ.

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