When there is a deep loss, pain or suffering the heart will either harden or soften towards God. There is no other way. Watching my mother battle with pain, innumerable operations and insensitive well wishes all her life but still maintain a faith has forever shaped my thoughts about suffering and unanswered prayer. Also, in seeking to respond to the mystery of pain in a real and honest way, I owe an immense debt to Philip Yancey in his thoughtful handling of this subject in his books, “ where is God when it hurts? “, “ the gift of pain “ and “ in his image “. I highly recommend any of these books to some one who is looking at the death and decay all around us and finding it extremely difficult to see the beauty that is also there.