Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Suffering in Silence

It's hard for me to describe how much our lives have been flipped upside-down in the last month. Despite all the medical ups and downs (including this pericardial fluid issue) Kim and I have been so humbled by the continuous outpouring of love, prayers and support. We both agree that one of the greatest blessings from this whole ordeal has been getting moving responses from so many of you describing in detail your own personal trial and suffering and how the Lord redeemed it. Many of these testimonies were put in the comment sections of this post HERE (I'm still moved to tears when I read these!), but there were countless others who chose a more "private" path and instead simply emailed us with your own "story" asking us not to share it with anyone else - many of which have apparently not been shared with anyone else (except perhaps their pastor or one or two other people in the whole world). We are humbled that you would feel led to open up your lives to us in this way and we have been so blessed by you sharing them with us - but we feel this much needs to be said...

The Lord calls us all to be witnesses. We tend to think that being a witness means sharing the gospel with others. This is true, but "being a witness" is not limited to explaining the Four Spiritual Laws or going on "Missions" trips. It's so much more than that.

I believe being a witness means that we are ready, willing and obedient to sharing with others (Christian and non-Christian) what the Lord is doing in our lives (good or bad). And that can be our darkest sins, our health issues, our personal struggles - and not just when we choose to, not only on our own terms, not only after a trial, or after you have found victory but even in the very moment of your trial. At its root, a witness is simply someone who sees and hears God and shares what he/she see or hears with others. This is a witness and this is what a witness does. 
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples! -Psalm 105:1
Shortly after we checked into the ER on January 7th, I had to make some quick decisions on who and what we would communicate to our friends and family regarding Kim's situation. As things became progressively worse I felt a deeper need to reach out to more people and ask them to pray for and with us. If you followed this blog from the beginning you will know that this all started with emails. The emails became problematic after a few days due to the size of the distribution lists, and so on the recommendation of a couple friends I put all the health updates and prayer requests out on this blog - which I threw together about 5 days after we got to the hospital. I must confess, there were many times where I stopped and thought - do I really want to put our entire lives "out there"? - especially as I began to realize that it wasn't just a small circle of friends that were reading all this - but people we did not even know.

That very first week while I was still struggling internally with this decision I got this brief email from a godly person I dearly respect:
Dearest Peter and Kim, Thank you so very much for your updates.  Your love of the Lord and your love for each other is so apparent.  In the midst of your trial, you are in ministry - being a light in this dark place....
That last sentence has been ringing in my ears ever since. From the moment of our trial we have tried to view all of it as a "ministry opportunity" - not just our own private family health issue that was no one else's business.  We got another email the following week from this same person expressing thanks again for our openness and also sharing how in their own community while some had handled things as we have there were also others who had chosen a more private path:
"....some families have chosen to "suffer in silence".  It is sad to watch.  They rob themselves and others of the joy that comes from living among a community of believers.  I know that it isn't easy to lay it all out there, but you are giving so much to all of us by allowing us to pray for and serve you all.  So, thank you!"
Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying anytime something bad happens in your life you should create a blog and tell the whole world about it. But I am saying that if you do tend to close up and retreat from the community of believers that God has given you in your time of need - please reconsider your attitude and actions. You are only hurting yourself by shutting everyone out and suffering in silence - thereby forfeiting the many blessings God desires to give you and "robbing yourself of the joy" that comes from allowing others to grieve with you, pray for you and just love and serve you. I can say this without any hesitation because it has never been truer for us than it has been now. 
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  -Galatians 6:2
We share this with you because we love you and want God’s best for you. Please receive it in this spirit. 
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God -2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (HT: Park)
In His Grace,

Peter & Kim


  1. Peter & Kim...I have been and will continue to pray for you. Thank you so much for all your updates. You have no idea how much your blog has blessed me and encouraged me! Keep up the great work!

  2. Psalm 94:18: "When I said 'my foot is slipping,' your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul."

    Psalm 117:5- "When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.What can mere mortals do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper.I look in triumph on my enemies." and vs. 13: "I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and my defense, he has become my salvation."
    So thankful you both are looking to the community of believers to support you. As Hur and Aaron supported Moses' arms in battle, so he church lifts you up in your trial. See Exodus 17:10-13

  3. Some people have a hard time asking for help. They feel it shows weakness, or they are afraid of burdening others. What you have managed to show is that asking for help sometimes can be as simple as a prayer or a donation. Just knowing someone is out there putting forth thoughts in your direction can be a boost to you emotionally. And positive thinking makes the healing faster and easier. A few kind words go a long way.

    Hope the day ends on a positive note.


    PS, Tell Selah I'm working hard on her hat so she and Mommy can be hat twins (Fiona loves being "twins" with me).

  4. Amen, Peter. I felt the same way recently about my husband and I sharing the joy of our 4 week old pregnancy with others. My husband and I knew there was a possibly of miscarriage still but wanted many people to be praying for the little one! :) Continuing to pray for you and Kim and the kids.

  5. Hi Peter, I'm a friend of Won from NJ. I came across your story and your blog today- "Seeing Jesus in everything" and I just want to tell you how much of an inspiration you have become.
    Our world was rocked on Oct 31st 2011, we found out that my mom was diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer (stage 3c). She had to undergo an extensive emergency surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering (just getting there was an answer to prayer) and had a prolonged recovery period. She ended up having a radical hysterectomy/debulking removal of the spread of the cancer in the pelvis and part of her colon in which she was left with a temporary ostomy. The surgeon was confident that he was able to do an optimal debulking and with chemotherapy (6 rounds) she will be in complete remission.
    My wife and I decided to temporarily move from our own house and be with my parents (who live about 10 miles away) so that we would help them with whatever they need and ease the burden in taking care of mom. We havent been back to our own home ever since.
    Chemotherapy started on Dec 13, 2011 and has taken such a toll on mom. She's gone through pretty much all the side effects that chemotherapy can give. It's just so sad to see her go through all this and just question God. It's been so draining to just go through all this.
    The reason I am writing to you, and I hope you don't mind, is because of what you wrote in regards to suffering in silence. I have noticed that my dad has become bitter towards people now trying to come and visit mom. We can't seem to get through to him and in turn, i was becoming disappointed and at the point of giving up. And that is when I read your blog. When you wrote that: "You are only hurting yourself by shutting everyone out and suffering in silence - thereby forfeiting the many blessings God desires to give you and "robbing yourself of the joy" that comes from allowing others to grieve with you, pray for you and just love and serve you." This is so true and just what I needed as an inspiration to keep praying and interceding for my dad.
    I know there is a reason why our loved ones are going through this journey, I just hope and pray that we just keep receiving the strength from Him to be there for them and to open to what He wants to do in and through our lives.
    Thanks again for taking the bold step in letting us "in" and being a part of your journey. Let this be a confirmation that your act of faith has ministered to me, a complete stranger. I just thank God for just answering me by allowing me to come across your blog. You and your wife, Kim and your family are in our prayers.
    May God continue to bless you and live as overcomers!

    In Him,


    1. Thanks Ben for giving me permission to share your story from your FB message with all who follow this blog. It has greatly ministered to me and I trust it will minister to others as well. You are not alone and I, for one, am praying for you and your family. You are loved.

      Peter & Kim

  6. Hi Peter and Kim,
    I feel a little uncomfortable admitting that I'm one of those ppl you don't know but have been following your blog. Pastor Paul Chi shared your prayer requests and this blog to our church and I've been following it since.

    I felt I needed to share this though because you and Kim have been such an encouragement to me. I've been experiencing my own heartache (though it doesn't compare to yours) and many times I've shed tears because of the verses you've shared. Your faith amidst trials has truly been an example and a ministry to me.

    You and Kim are constantly in my thoughts and prayers (and I know many others in our church as well).

  7. Peter & Kim-

    I initially heard about you and your family through friends of mine, and I wanted to thank you both so much for showing faith and hope in Christ through this difficult time. It has been such an encouragement and challenge for me to read how your daily source of joy and strength is coming from the LORD. I am praying that God not only continues to answer your prayers in regards to the cancer, but that He draws your family closer to Him all the more.

    And Peter, I'm amazed that you've been updating so often (I still haven't caught up on all your posts). I know blogging can get time-consuming, and I realize a lot of it is for constant prayer request updates. But I want you to know that I believe that by sharing your and your wife's step by step struggle, you are doing the work of Christ by showing the world (beyond the walls of the hospital and the group of people you know personally) the hope and security we have in Christ Jesus.

    "Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore." (Psalm 125:1-2)

    Oh, and lastly, I've been seeing those posts about bone marrow donation (I'm already a donor), and thought you could share with your readers that there's a foundation that will register bone marrow donors for free if they're all or part Asian:

    Your sister in Christ,

  8. So, it's taken me awhile to post this comment...and it was only because of your latest blog that I'm feeling compelled to do so. I'm a pretty private person and not one to share much, especially when I know it is available for public consumption. Ever since you made the original call to share our favorite verse, I've been struggling to post it only because I knew I'd need to provide some context as to why it's my favorite. And to go back to that time is still difficult for me after 15 years. My mother was my best friend and she passed away 15 years ago quite unexpectedly. At the time, I was in my early 20s and very angry that God had taken her away so abruptly and without warning. I was reeling in grief and the deepest sadness I had ever experienced. I started to read my mom's Bible and there weren't a lot of comments throughout, but when I got to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, it was highlighted. For me, it was as if she gave me that verse during a time when I felt only despair and was in danger of self-pity.
    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
    Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
    So now I want to give it to you. Not that we're comparing apples to apples, and there's no way I could ever relate to what you're currently experiencing, but we have all known times of darkness and this is what helped me pull through.
    Much love to you and I continue to pray for you everyday.
    Julia & the Libke family