Judson's Legacy



Nature Photo 9FBy: Christina Levasheff, Judson’s Mom

As I found myself retching on the stairs, doubled-over in pain after receiving Judson’s terminal diagnosis of Krabbe Disease, my journey of begging God to remove the pain and heal my son began. The anguish incurred by my Jud Bud’s illness felt like torture, and I would have done anything to get rid of it, change it, destroy it, or erase it. But I was helpless to alter the circumstances. So I cried out to God begging him to intervene, and holding on to hope that he would, in fact, rescue my son and heal him here on earth (full story in Eyes that See).

But my precious little man died. And unlike every other hurt I’ve experienced in my life, this is a life-long, searing pain of loss with no chance of resolution…this side of heaven.

We live in a very broken world. It would be impossible to deny the hardships, challenges, and affliction that surround us.  Other children are suffering and dying all over the world.  Most of us have felt the plight of joblessness, loneliness, financial burdens, health concerns, and relational brokenness.  We also see the pervasive corruption in businesses, government, education, and even churches.  Pain abounds and the presence of wickedness is undeniable.  But the pain of losing my son made me even more acutely aware of (or maybe more sensitive to) the troubles that abound in this world.

So why does God allow so much suffering?  Why did he create a world where evil exists?  Why did God allow Krabbe disease to afflict my son?  What’s his purpose in pain?

In many ways, I don’t know.  And I can’t begin to address the problem of evil here—volumes of books have been written on the subject by people who can give a far more robust theological argument than me (read The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis)—but what I do know is that God has a plan and purpose for everything, and he is the only One who can take what is evil and redeem it.

God has a purpose for every one of us. He had a purpose for Judson. He has a purpose for my life. He has a purpose for your life. Whatever we face, God has a plan for us…and his plan is good. Ultimately, he wants to use everything in our lives to draw us into deeper relationship with him, which is the only place we can find true fulfillment.

Pain is a catalyst that awakens us to our need for God. As we lean into him in the midst of our heartache we can begin to see how he is the only One who can redeem our pain, who can make something beautiful and good out of the wretchedness in this world and the gunk in our lives. What is intended for evil, God uses for good. God redeems our pain.

And the ultimate redemption that came through suffering was through the life of Jesus. God did not remain distant from the pains of this world but loved us so much that he entered directly into them by sending his only Son. Jesus innocently suffered and died but because of his resurrection we can experience eternal hope and final redemption from suffering.

I have slowly been coming to grips with the reality that God has chosen to work in my life, bringing about his purposes, through my heartache over the loss of Judson.  Though I would desperately choose to have never walked this road and instead be living life with my precious boy, I have begun to accept my pain as essential to my journey toward wholeness.  My Father has clearly been at work in my heart and moving me into deeper relationship and reliance on him through our heartache. I have also seen God using Judson’s life and legacy in ways that would be impossible outside of this journey of suffering and loss. God has given me a front-row seat to watch him work out his redemptive purposes through pain.

Even still, what I grasp now is incredibly limited; I will not see all that God is doing until I am present with Him in eternity. Instead, I have to trust every day that even though life can feel like a tangled, knotted mess, it’s just the underside of God’s beautiful tapestry. I long for the day I will see the finished masterpiece created out of suffering through the handiwork of a loving Father.


We Have the Freedom to Lament