Tag Archives: suffering

30 Days of Hopeful: Day 27

“How can my dream possibly be from God when I keep meeting so much resistance?” My friend’s question hit home.  There are times in life when we sincerely believe God has placed a special hope or dream in our heart–only to face merciless opposition. Surely God would make the path to our dream a little easier if it’s truly from Him, right? Maybe not.

A wise and godly man once said this to me when I asked him why my dream seemed to be such an uphill climb:  “What if God has called you to this mountain top—this dream you hold so dearly?  Perhaps He knows you must be trained by the difficult climb up the mountain so you won’t be crushed by the weight of the glory when the dream comes to pass.”

I had to admit, his words rang true.  And through the years, I’ve observed some whose dream came true before they had built their character to hold up under the “weight of the glory.” More than one has fallen into pride or defeat.  It’s no wonder the Bible teaches us about the wonderful blessing of hope within the context of both character and suffering:

“We rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:3-5 ESV).

It’s wonderful to have hopes and dreams—even lofty, world changing ones. But let’s remind ourselves:  Humans aren’t built for glory–it doesn’t “agree” with us. So as we experience the glory of a dream that finally comes true, let’s remember to rejoice and enjoy the moment;  to be thankful to God; and to give Him the glory.

And when we bump headlong into those inevitable times of suffering along the path toward our dream, may we dare to rejoice and thank God that the suffering is training us to endure, which produces character, which gives birth to hope.  His glorious promise is that “hope doesn’t disappoint us” (Romans 5:5 NIV).

30 Days of Thankful: Day 14

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

When we’re struggling, it’s hard to be thankful. Sometimes it helps to refocus on God’s big picture. My friend Kris shows how—even in the middle of pain—a shift in perspective can inspire a thankful heart.

GUEST BLOG: Kris McBride

About three weeks ago I received an urgent text requesting prayer for my friend’s 24 year old son who fell 30 feet from a tree. Although he was alive the doctors feared his back was broken. The tests confirmed their fear. He was paralyzed from the waist down. In one brief second his life changed forever.

As my friend delivered the devastating news I was surprised by what she shared. Instead of focusing on all that her son had loss she was thanking God that he did not have any head trauma, had no other broken bones, and the fact that he was alive! She sounded hopeful and optimistic in spite of the difficult circumstances. Instead of focusing on what was wrong she made an intentional effort to shift her perspective to thanking God for the blessings in the situation. This resulted in feelings of gratitude and hope instead of anger and bitterness.

I have found this to be true in my own life. Giving thanks is a proven way to change the attitude of your heart.  When my mom was dying of cancer I was almost overcome by grief. In desperation I called out to God for help. He gave me this thought, “You’ve had a wonderful mom for 26 years, some people never experience that even for a day.” Almost immediately I began thanking God for my mom. It still wasn’t easy to see her pass from this life, but mingled with grief was a peace and joy that came from a heart focused on gratitude.

Giving thanks works well with small issues too. I’m not a fan of housework. I know people who find great joy in keeping their house in order but that is not my natural bent. However, I’ve found that instead of grumbling about the things I don’t like to do I can take the opportunity to use them as triggers to thank God for all the blessings He has given me. It’s amazing how giving thanks shifts my perspective and lifts my spirit.

At times I realize it is quite difficult to give thanks. However, Paul gives us a plan to follow:

  1. Rejoice always
  2. Pray continually

Incorporating these two items into your daily routine helps cultivate a heart of gratitude which gives us the ability to thank God no matter what we are experiencing.

Praying God helps you to see the many things you can thank Him for in your life, no matter your circumstances.


Day Eleven: A Burden to Pray

This post mistakenly went out last night as Day Twelve.  My apologies! Here it is again:  Day Eleven!

One reason we fast is to help carry the burden of another.  Fasting and prayer help us join in the fight of those we love.  It’s one way we can enter into their suffering and stand with them as they endure.  Many around the country, and even across the globe, have joined in with Naghmeh to help carry her burden through the 21 Day Fast for the release of Saeed Abedini.

This kind of prayer, or intercession, comes with a price.  When we agonize in prayer for someone we love, we may experience pain.  We hurt when they hurt.  My friend Stacey shares her story of carrying such a prayer burden recently for her friend.  Though it wasn’t in the way she had hoped, Stacey grew to understand that God had truly answered her prayers.

GUEST BLOG:  Stacey Martin

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I hate even claiming that for myself, because what has made this time so rough is a bout of second-hand grief – grief for a tragedy that didn’t even happen to me. It’s grief I’m experiencing for a friend who lost her two-year-old son, suddenly, tragically – as if there is any other way.

Recently, my friend lost her son to what seemed to be inexplicable complications from a form of infantile Leukemia. He didn’t die from Leukemia, because as all of his prior tests had shown, those Cancer cells were long gone. He had beat Cancer.

So why did this child, who we thought through God’s healing power and great goodness had beat Cancer, leave his mom and dad mourning in a room at the local children’s hospital?

Why did Drew who we had coined as “a little boy with a big story” leave us with the question, “God, how will You ever be glorified in this? How can this be part of Your plan?”

The grief and doubt that followed were weighty, rusty chains around my heart. The fear, that maybe God isn’t who is says He is, took me captive. Fear and doubt sucked the oxygen right out of the room. Hope was gone.

I cried out to God from the deepest, darkest places of my heart. Gutteral, wordless prayers out of a place of desperation for my friend. Soul cries from a mommy who is now rocking her own son a little longer, grieving the possibility that this too could happen to me.

But today I sit here knowing that God not only heard those wordless prayers of my soul, but knew what they meant and what I needed. I sit confidently knowing that He heard each prayer from each grieving person in the Drew’s Crew family and from Wes and Mandy’s own hearts.

Last Monday,  his parents received the autopsy report and learned that Drew had a serious infection of his heart. Only 10% of his little heart was functioning. That’s what caused his sudden and seemingly inexplicable death. Had the medical team known that Drew was suffering from this infection, his last months would have been spent in the ICU – connected to machines, medicated heavily, with parents knowing that there were no other options out there for their precious son. Just a ticking clock.

But what Drew’s last months looked like were long, naps in the loving arms of his mommy and daddy. Afternoon playtime with his best canine buddy. Santa coming to his house on Christmas morning. A mountain trip where daddy taught him to fish. And so many more precious, unadulterated moments.

That’s the goodness of my God. That’s how God will be glorified in all of this. This is how my prayer was answered. The God who lovingly created the universe and calls each of us His sons and daughters, didn’t mean for any of this to happen. It was never His intent that the world would have sorrow and fear and Cancer. But He showed up and protected this family from a truly horrific outcome – one worse than what they’re already experiencing. He gave them the gift of time. Drew is indeed a little boy with a big story. A story that only God could redeem and claim as His own.

Thank you Lord for hearing my heart. Thank you for answering in such a profound and tangible way. Whenever I doubt, whenever I fear, I will remember that You are indeed who You say You are.


stand your ground

Remember those earlier days…when you stood your ground in the face of suffering  (Hebrews 10:32 NIV).

Life hurts.  It’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us.  “In this world you will have trouble.”  But “take heart,” He reminds us.  “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).   I need to stay connected to Jesus if I hope to stand my ground in the spiritual fight.

To stand one’s ground is to endure .  The Greek word for endure is hypomeno.  It comes from two words:  hypo or “under”, and meno, “to remain.”   Meno is the same word Jesus uses when He tells us to abide in him (John 15:7).  So to endure is to “remain under”  a painful  trial with grace.   It’s bearing up under a load of trouble with a tranquil mind.

Will you be able to stand your ground when trouble hits?  You can’t endure apart from Jesus.  Abide in Him daily.  Rely on the Holy Spirit. Stay filled up with God’s Word.  Pray always.  And don’t travel alone.

And remember: If you don’t abide in the light, you can’t  endure in the dark.