Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire.
There are times when we feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak, each grace in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. In such a condition what are we to do?
The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms… —Deuteronomy 33:27
Natalie was one of my deaconesses. I say "was" because she passed away in January. One of my first memories of Natalie was at a funeral, actually, one of the first of the many I have officiated in my five years in Middletown. I don't even remember who it was for—it was not…
As I write, I think of a 26-year old girl struck by a drunk driver less than five miles from my home. In an instant, a man’s carelessness wrecked her dreams and now she clings to life in a hospital bed. Around the world today, ISIS carries out its atrocities, natural disasters riddle lives with heartache, and still we drift forward. Can we find comfort? Peace? Hope?
Until the New Heavens and the New Earth, wear your mourning like a badge of love from your Savior.
One day, we will be with God in his Kingdom, along with the rest of the broken who turned to Christ.
We live in the dual realities of what God has done and what He’s going to do; of the joy of salvation and the longing for redemption; of what is and what will be.
Learn to groan in the pit, but never grumble!
It’s usually best to avoid one question as we attempt to encourage the hurting.
Our valley has been long, and we are still in it. We do not know when we will begin to climb the hills again. But we do know our God.
Suffering is the gift that no one wants, and yet God chooses to give sometimes nonetheless.
When the darkness is heaviest, it is hard to go to the Word. But I believe that those are the times where the Word is the most necessary.
I can rest assured that my powerlessness to determine my future makes room for me to trust God who is most powerful.
Rarely in Christian circles have I found the subject of "cutting" or other self-harm discussed with any depth. I don’t know why that is. But I do know one thing for sure: Christians who self-harm often experience an added layer of the guilt and shame that a self-harmer already experiences. The good news is that there is hope and freedom from the cycle of self-harm in Jesus Christ.
Suffering is a story we do not often like to tell. Jacob's life recalls the hope found in our wandering and reminds us again, "Blessed are the sojourns, for they are like their Savior."
The gift hidden within difficult seasons is that we may see more clearly and understand more deeply our desperate need of His keeping.
Because Christ walked ahead of us, we know greater fellowship with Him as we follow in his steps.
In affliction you have the opportunity to draw closer to Christ, to His pain, to His cross and thus to His comfort, all by the hand of the loving Father.
Union with Christ means the Lord of peace remains present in your joy, in your pain, in your liftoffs, and in your layovers.
Pain is a funny thing. How I wish I could shield my baby from it all. But that would not be love.
Suffering does and should cause us to ask deeper questions about life and the nature of God.
The church should not be afraid to acknowlege the depth and range of human suffering even as we place our hope in God.
Our people need the hope of the cross and the assurance of the resurrection.
We sat down to ask Michael Kelley, "What did you learn about God while your son Joshua was battling cancer?"
In order to have great heavenly riches we have to become poor in spirit; now, in order to find comfort, we must mourn.
There is no spot that the blood of Christ is unable to cover.
We would do well to learn how to grieve with people.
My immune system rips ragged holes in my intestines the way a tailor tears broadcloth. You can imagine the results: I wake up, eat, drink, read, work, drive, and play with my kids while in constant pain. All this bodily chaos disrupts every part of my life. By the time I reach the end of a day, I too often feel like a useless, paralyzed limb on Christ’s body.
The God who governs all things can be trusted, even when He can’t be understood.
ISIS thinks they are destroying and ending Christianity by killing Christians, but what they do not understand is that their evil acts are causing people to look not at them, but at these who are dying with the peace of Jesus.
We will face difficult situations, but none of them will ultimately defeat us because God will keep us in Christ.
Few things are as isolating as pain. When we suffer, we feel like no one can really understand what we are experiencing. Yet, no matter how alone we feel, we are never ultimately alone. Our heavenly Father is there.
The child is cheered as he sings, "This my father knows;" and shall not we be comforted as we discern that our dear Friend and tender soul-husband knows all about us?
The only perfect love is the love of Christ - it's where we tether ourselves in the midst of temptation and trial.
We've heard it said, "God will not give you more than you can handle." Truthfully, God can and does give us more than we can handle - all because it leads us back to Him.
No matter the source of your grief—be it silent, relational, or communal—you must know today that God is not deaf to your pain. You soul's ache is not foreign to him.
As I sit here quietly while my little boy naps, I remember that day one month ago so vividly. On that day I realized that I was miscarrying our second child. It was the child who we had been dreaming of and planning for after receiving news that I was expecting. This was the child who we could not wait to meet. This was the child to whom our little…
"Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind?" said the poet.
If we do thus suffer, what is our "light affliction" compared with reigning with him?
“I’m a private person,” we might argue. “It’s no one else’s business,” we might say. “It’s my cross to bear,” we might conclude. And yet, we cannot weep with each other if we never see or know that we are weeping.
Be that friend. Love the addict. Remind them of the gospel - that there's another way that is better.
I did not know I was depressed until I got married . . .
Do not allow discouragement to cause you to question your identity.
Mark this down: the Lord hears and answers the cries of desperate people.
Christian persecution is not something new.
We can look to Jesus and see a Savior who did it the good and right way, and we can be humbled under the weight of His sacrifice and emboldened to feel deeply for others in light of His compassion.
Even the gravest of our earthly sufferings, which may lead to death, result in eternal life with Christ.