The Crucible of Suffering


Sophiep and LaaLynn, parents of Mesabeth

By Kent Copeland, MD

One year, nine months, and five days—that was all the time little Mesabeth had on this earth. She was born to a beautiful Christian couple who treasured their only child, the first granddaughter on both sides of the family.

On June 18, 2014, in Siem Riep, Cambodia, Mesabeth slipped and fell under a car that was backing out of the church parking lot. Her distraught father saw the entire thing, as did many children. It happened so suddenly, there was no opportunity to react. She didn’t have a chance.

No Child to Hold

Mesabeth’s parents, Sophiep and LaaLynn, have followed the Lord for many years, humbly taking on ministry positions in the region. Recently, Sophiep turned down a well-paying job with a Christian organization to serve the Lord in a volunteer church-based ministry to neighborhood children. LaaLynn serves with him. She cheerfully worked with us in our thyroid clinic during our last term.

Before Mesabeth was born, the couple participated in a Christian marriage class with my wife, Chris, and me in our home. They were determined to “do Christian family” right. When LaaLynn became pregnant, I administered the ultrasound that revealed a little girl was on the way. Now, that little girl is no longer with them. They are alone with no child to hold.

Sophiep wanted to have the funeral right away. Early the next morning, we drove to Siem Reap for the service—to the very church where Mesabeth died. More than 80 people were there. Believers throughout the region came to pay their respects, comfort LaaLynn and Sophiep, and see little Mesabeth off.

How Would They Respond?

I think many of us were wondering how this horrible trial would affect her parents’ faith. In this culture, it is taken for granted that if bad things happen to you, it is your own fault (“Do good, get good. Do bad, get bad”).

This thinking is especially difficult for Christians, who are sneered at and mocked for their belief in Jesus Christ. So, the loss of their only child was a potent test of LaaLynn and Sophiep’s faith in Jesus. How would they respond? Would they despair and give up on Him?

A Faith like Job’s

At the graveside, Sophiep, who only the day before saw his little girl die, stood in front of everyone, crying, and called on the name of God, worshiping Him and telling Him he loves Him. What a testimony! The faith of Job, but thousands of years later.

Job said, “Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him” (13:15a); “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (2:10). “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. May the name of the LORD be blessed!” (1:21). I saw that same righteous spirit in Sophiep and LaaLynn, lived out in the crucible of suffering—a furnace for their faith, which is proving to be as pure as refined gold.

The faith of our Christian brethren in Cambodia is solid and true. May each of us who follow Jesus be found as faithful as our brother and sister, Sophiep and LaaLynn, when we are called into the furnace of faith. Never give up. Never turn from His path. Always be faithful. Always love.


Pray for God’s comfort and peace for Sophiep, LaaLynn, their family, and friends.

The prayers of God’s people strengthen Alliance personnel to live and serve across the globe. Use our weekly Alliance Prayer Requests to join the worldwide Alliance family in praying for them.


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