Romans 8:31What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us allâ€”how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who diedâ€”more than that, who was raised to lifeâ€”is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
â€œFor your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.â€j
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Itâ€™s the silence, after a house full of guests, that threatens to undo me. In grief, you brace yourself for the days of deepest memories, but the days that would have been routine, those are the days that crush bones. In these difficult days I grow best if I listen to what the new aspects of grief want to tell me.
I hear God calling me.
I am here,Â in this season of depression, toÂ shout that God makes a way through.Â I am being stretched and prepared to love more deeply than I ever thought possible, so that you know, beyond a shadow of doubt that God loves you. He has chosen you since before the beginning of creation! There is not a single second of your existence that does not matter to him.
Lean in and listen to the silence of your circumstances. AllowÂ God to teach you more about both loss and gain than you knew before. Grief can widen our hearts to love God and our neighbor more deeply or close us off. Perspective is the only difference. Do IÂ fix my eyes onÂ the evil ofÂ losing Jonathan, meant to harm me (which it was), or allowÂ God to transform my loss intoÂ good, for the salvation of many?Â Even typing these words are hard. I grapple with the untamed nature of God most when ask this question.
But, then I look at the son God did not spare. Was the cross evil. Yes. Was Jesus innocent. Yes. Did God spare Jesus. NoÂ What kind of God operates this way?Â I have heard again and again from people suffering the horrid torment of cancer that they felt God’s presence, and were able to love more deeply than before their cancer. What kind of God determines what is evil as being for the good of the world?
A God who is not limited by evil!Â A God who sent his own son to the pits of hell to save us. A God who gave us over to ourselves, but made a way for us to be better since the beginning of time. My God isn’t tame, he is dangerous to follow, but he is good! How glad that I am that God has never fit into my box, or been limited by what evil men do!
Listen to God’s call on your life and walk through the flames if that is where he leads. He may take you out of the furnace, he may take you through the furnace, or he might take you by the furnace, but one thing is certain,Â others will see himÂ standing with us as we walk in obedience to his will.
May I sit awhile and warm my soul in your eyes? Eyes
crackling and popping with stories stirred by
my need for hope. Hope boasting
of losses gained and tragic victories;
Of dreams, love and faith.
Faith refusing to be dampened by despair, quiet
constant discipline battling the reality of death.
Death is in your eyes. Eyes raised from
grave circumstances. Circumstances
are snuffing out my flame! Flame nowÂ fanned
by the passionate compassion of your hope. Hope
fueling my soul with logs of endurance, sparking
life in my dimmed eyes. Eyes that others ask to sit awhile
and warm their cold souls with the fire of my hope.
Turn the Page: Sunday Edition
2nd Corinthians 1:3-7 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5For as we share abundantly in Christâ€™s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and… salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
What an amazing passage! We do not suffer alone. What an precious gift your friendship is to my family and I. Learning to comfort in our affliction means that we look beyond our circumstances to God’s purpose in our sufferings. I share in Christ’s sufferings, but I also share in his comfort. As an added bonus I get to share that comfort with you.
When the seizures started yesterday morning I begged God to take them away. I thought that they had stopped completely several years ago and their return was more then I could bear. “Even in this, I have a purpose.” Was God’s answer to me. I have to decide if I trust him with that purpose. Do we look at our weaknesses as afflictions orÂ God’s opportunity to work in and through us?
One of my favorite women is Joni Eareckson Tada. At tie age of 17 she broke her neck in a diving accident and became a quadriplegic. Does she suffer? Definitely! But oh what she is allowing God to do with that suffering. Painting with her teeth, ensuring that others get the wheelchairs they need, speaking, singing, writing, and serving God in whatever way he calls her to.
So God has a purpose in my seizures! May Jesus comfort you in my affliction that you may not grow weary in your own sufferings. Hugs and encouragement to all of you. I’d much rather give those hugs in person, but will be staying home to rest. I love you dearly!