When You Don’t Know Why [Called Series]

Comfort and GriefOne of the greatest ways believers lose heart and stop moving forward in their walk of faith is when they don’t know why.

Why did they have to die so young?

Why do I lived with constant pain and fatigue?

Why didn’t I get chosen?

Why didn’t God give me that job, that spouse, that house, that promotion. . .?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

Why was I abused?

Why was I raped?

Why didn’t my parents want me?

Why me?

Each is a valid question of the heart. The experience of each contains deep sorrow and pain.

Yet the choice each person asking the question is faced with: to heal and go on or to be stuck, lose heart, and stop moving forward in their walk of faith.

We live in a world full of sin and thus sorrow and pain.

Revelation 21:3-4 gives us an anchor of hope and a beacon of faith when we choose to move forward in our walk of faith:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

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For More:

When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty by Joni Eareckson Tada

A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty by Joni Eareckson Tada

Rest Ministries, Inc.: Joyfully Serving the Chronically Ill

photo credit: vanz via photopin cc

Praising in Pain (Adventures in Faith series)

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.” – Lamentations 3:22-24

Jeremiah, known as the weeping prophet, knew the meaning of that promise at the core of his being.

Anyone who has suffered the death of a loved one, knows the meaning of it. To feel the jagged waves of gut-wrenching, heart-ripping pain of losing a husband, a wife, a child, a friend.

Anyone who has gone through betrayal by close friends, financial ruin, shattered dreams, accidents and sicknesses that forever altered the course of your life – knows the meaning of this promise too.

How can we still praise in our pain?

Last year, a friend of mine lost her 42-year-old husband to cancer – 8 months after he was diagnosed with it. After 20 years of marriage, she was left a widow with three children in elementary and high school.  This month marks 9 months since her husband died. She agreed to let me share her recent reflections from her CaringBridge site.

God’s refining and comfort are amazing. I am thankful that He is doing both in my life. I have been able to recognize that my biggest dream in life is still there, to grow closer to God each day.

The lie that Satan would want me to believe is that all my dreams are gone. There are many dreams and desires that God has taken away, and it is hard to let go of those. There is comfort in things staying the way they were when my husband was here. But God has a purpose for every thing that He allows.

We are learning what complete surrender looks like. We are also learning to trust God when the path we would like to take is not the path He wants us to walk down. It sounds so easy but it comes to a daily choice to say no to self-pity and bitterness.

A friend and I have a phrase that we text to remind each other…live above your circumstances. That is our reminder that our home is in heaven and all that we desire is there. God will give us the strength and wisdom to walk this road until He calls us home.

I have been studying the story of Ruth and a question in the study asked if I could see evidence of the harvest beginning (Ruth 1:22); the sun rising? Here is what I wrote and the verses that I claimed:

I have never understood what God says when He says to not let your hearts be troubled, and yet I think it is the balance of living in pain while resting in God’s strength. It is peaceful and awful at the same time. It is broken and whole. It is a heart that is ripped out that knows that God is the only way to heal. It is knowing that it will hurt, but I will heal.

I am catching glimpses of the harvest – my wounds are healing. I am seeing things that I could handle before my husband died, that are knocking me over now. But being able to recognize it allows me to turn to God for His wisdom and strength. Emotionally handicapped is how I feel right now and I know that God wants me here so that I can see that He is all that I need. – 1 Peter 1:6-7

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Nothing [Poem]

Sometimes the things and people we treasure in life
seem like mighty mountains
strong and secure
We love how they’re in our life
and often forget to look twice
and see that they’re really just sand castles by the sea

Often, without warning
the waves roll in
and in that moment
they are swept away
and we are separated in less than a day

Sometimes the waves sweep it all away complete:
the body of the one you love is buried in a grave
an accident leaves your body forever changed
or with a few words the one you love leaves your life
and you are separated
left with your empty heart filled with strife

Our mind is at a loss, but as we stare
Jesus quietly brushes the strands of hair
from out of our face and gently says,
“My child you have been separated from so much.
I AM close to your broken heart and
I will save your spirit that is crushed.

Just remember one thing, let it ring
through your hollowed, aching heart
These things seem to bring nothing but despair
but I know what I’m doing here
These people and things do not stay. . .

But the cross and the empty grave
are the reasons you can face another day because
Nothing can separate you from My love
And what I speak is true; it is My promise to you
And I will see you through
until I bring you home to My place
where your sorrow and sighing will flee away
and joy and gladness will overtake.”

Originally published in my poem book, His Comfort, on May 2001

Based on Romans 8:38-39, Psalm 34:18, Isaiah 51:11

Photo on Flickr by amerune

Hope Does Not Disappoint

 “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:5)

I once read or heard the phrase, “We are strangers on earth, longing for home.”

The longer I live; the more my heart resonates with that longing.

A verse that brings great comfort to my heart is Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

What an amazing experience that will be!

My husband took this picture of me while we were visiting our friends’ newly purchased home.  I was in awe of the amazingly tall trees that towered over their  house — it almost seemed like a treehouse.

Life has many Kodak moments that make us smile and take our breath away. Life also has those crushing moments that cut, bruise, and knock the wind out of us.

In those crushing moments we set the eyes of our souls on what is ahead . . . beautifully portrayed in Jeremy Camp’s song, “There Will Be A Day.”

Two verses that continue to take my breath away when I truly focus on what they mean:

“O Sovereign Lord, you have only begun to show your greatness and the strength of your hand to me, your servant. Is there any god in heaven or on earth who can perform such great and mighty deeds as you do?” Deuteronomy 3:24 (NLT) (emphasis mine)

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. . . .” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV) (emphasis mine)

His hope does not disappoint us.

His strength will not fail us.

His surprises for our lives tower high above what our human eyes can see.

For He is our loving Father, our faithful Provider, and our great and mighty King.

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