The article below was written by my son, Matthew Robinson, a student pastor at Parkside Christian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. This past May, Brogan Dulle, a 21 year old student of the University of Cincinnati was missing. Tragically, his body was found the day that Matt wrote this article.
I asked for his permission to share this article with you. I hope that his thoughts will help you to view suffering differently. In no way will it lessen the pain of suffering, but I think that Matthew has done an excellent job of giving purpose and hope in the midst of the pain.
“Over the past week my community has been searching for a college student, Brogan Dulle, who vanished seemingly into thin air. People came out of the woodwork and in the midst of his disappearance. The city seemed limitless in its potential.
As I spent time in prayer with both teens and adults I was blessed that the conversations stayed mostly positive and away from hearsay. The thing I kept trying to impress upon people was there was going to be a hard road ahead no matter how the story unfolded. I encouraged students to continue praying for safety, but I also encouraged them to pray that they would be God’s presence throughout the situation.
No one had answers, and most of the time, even the answers in these situations don’t explain much. Comfort is hard to find, encouragement comes up short, and explanations seem shallow at best. The presence of a friend means a lot though. I encouraged my students to bring God’s presence into the situation just by being a present themselves.
Sadly, there seems to be some closure for the family even as I am gathering my thoughts now, a body has been found near the Dulle’s apartment and police believe it to be him. I expect that for the next few weeks as details are slowly pieced together, our hearts will simply ache and our minds will continue to try making sense of something completely senseless. What horrible feelings. You forget your distaste for anguish until it overcomes you.
Still, in the midst of this pain, I am struck by the uniqueness of humans above all other created things. There is something within us that drives us towards the suffering of others in hopes of shouldering some of their burden. In the midst of tragedy and suffering we discover the beauty of humanity. We desire to share the poison cup of each other’s pains. There is redemption tucked deep in us all. It drives us to ask, “What if it had been my child?” It places another person’s shoes upon our feet.
As these emotions fade from our hearts in the coming weeks and months, and as we go back to our routines, let us not forget this special quality that has been placed within us. Let us also not forget that for some of us, this tragedy will have forever interrupted our lives. Don’t fade back into the woodwork. Continue to share your neighbors’ burdens. This, in part, is what makes us human. We share our sorrows.”
Matthew Robinson is the student minister as Parkside Christian Church, Cincinnati. Becki Robinson is the Co-director of the Marriage Resource Center of Greene Co.