Archive for the ‘suffering’ Category

George Lawson reminds us of some important truths to keep in mind–especially when we experience deep suffering and loss.  He knew the Tittle family in Arkansas–the family who buried three loved ones yesterday and whose house was leveled to the ground by the tornado that hit last Sunday.  Great and needed words here:

Out of all the places for a tornado to touch down in Little Rock, why the Tittles’ home? Not only were 3 out of 11 family members taken but their entire two story home was reduced to the concrete foundation it was built on.

Was God caught off guard? Did He not know?

Was God aware but just powerless to prevent this disaster? Was He not able?

Or was God so preoccupied with some other place in the universe, that He ignored the inevitable path of the storm? Did He not care?

A god, that does not know, is not able or does not care, is a small and pathetic deity, who is not worthy of worship, adoration or trust. Ultimately a small god can offer no comfort for what happened on Sunday night. None.tittle family

The only God sufficient for a Big Storm is a Big God — The omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and omnibenevolent God of the Bible. He hasn’t lost control. He is the One who has “established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). He is the One who declares “the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done” (Isaiah 46:10). He is “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1) who fills “the heavens and the earth” (Jeremiah 23:24). And He is also the One who is the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). What comfort would a small god be able to offer anyone?

Read the rest of  Small God, Big Storm


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Some excellent reminders in this 9 minute video where three men who have all experienced tragedy and suffering in their life recount some life lessons God taught them. Watch it, absorb it, share it!

[vimeo 71931147]

More at  God’s Goodness in Your Pain 

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Two professors from Baptist Bible College in PA reflect on their health situations. One suffers with an incurable condition of recurring and intense pain.  The other has stage 4 cancer.  Two moving articles entitled by men whose world has crashed down on them.

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                   Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Ps. 20:7

     Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:5-6

     The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:7

A prayer by Scotty Smith     

Dear heavenly Father, though it’s not a fun thing, it’s a good thing—it’s an essential thing, even afreeing thing to realize how little control we have over people, places and things.

For only by acknowledging the limits of our humanity will we rest in the beauty of your sovereignty; only by giving up trying to control our circumstances will we come to rejoice in your providences; only by accepting messes as a part of life will we turn to your mercies in the midst of strife; only by crying “Uncle!” will we learn to cry “Abba!”

Father, as this day begins, (and continues), settle our restless hearts and relax our desperate grip on stories, hearts and situations for which your grace alone is sufficient. We turn from our version of “horses and chariots,” and acknowledge that our trust is in you.

By the truth of the gospel, the pledge of your faithfulness and the power of your Spirit, we trust you with people, for whom we have great concerns—even fear and anger. May “faith expressing itself in love” (Gal. 5:6) trump our penchant for “worry expressing itself through meddling.”

We trust you with our unresolved conflicts and broken relational stories. In Jesus, you have commissioned us as ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:20) and called us to be peacemakers (Matt. 5:9). Father, we need special grace, for sometimes the emotional toll and toil of messy relationships makes us want to join Jonah on a ship to Tarshish.

Lastly, Father, we trust you with our health (it often feels so fragile); our wealth (because it’s so fleeting and deceptive), our plans (for you alone know the future); and our heart (for it is yours, though we often pawn it off).

It’s because of your great and grace-full love for us in Jesus that we make our prayer, acknowledge our fears, and surrender our trust. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ safe and strong name.

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Paul Tautges asks “Do the troubles of life ever leave you so wiped out physically, mentally, and emotionally that all you can do is squeak out “God, help me!”? Then Psalm 121 is for you. What solid encouragement the psalmist penned for us there! Here’s an outline for your own personal study or small group discussion.”

1. God will help you because He is your Creator (vv. 1-2)

Also meditate on Isaiah 40:21-26

2. God will help you because He is your Keeper (vv. 3-5)

Also meditate on 2 Kings 6:8-18; 1 John 4:4

3. God will help you because He is your Protector (vv. 6-8)

Also meditate on Isaiah 49:10; John 10:27-30

May the Lord use His Word to feed your weary soul today!

Help Comes from the Lord

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Mark Talbot, who has suffered from a chronic condition all of his life, talks about the longing for and hope for wholeness available to those who suffer continually.

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Still my soul be still
And do not fear
Though winds of change may rage tomorrow
God is at your side
No longer dread
The fires of unexpected sorrow

God You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone

Still my soul be still
Do not be moved
By lesser lights and fleeting shadows
Hold onto His ways
With shield of faith
Against temptations flaming arrows

Still my soul be still
Do not forsake
The Truth you learned in the beginning
Wait upon the Lord
And hope will rise
As stars appear when day is dimming.

Words and Music by Keith & Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend. Hear it sung here.

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Sufferers usually want to receive comfort but the Biblical authors think they need some warning as well. Ed Welch points out some examples:

Read through Hebrews 3. There is no question—the author is, indeed, warning the suffering church. He stands in the Old Testament tradition of prophetic writing with its alternating warnings and comforts. And it is exactly what we need to hear because in times of suffering, faith wavers, and unbelief is rarely far away.

This unbelief comes in many forms when we experience hard times.

Why is he doing this to me?
God doesn’t really care—he doesn’t really hear.
Sometimes I think God is out to get me.
What have I done to deserve this?
No, I haven’t prayed about it. What’s the use anyway?
It’s not fair. I don’t ask for much from God. Why doesn’t he answer?

All these suggest that we do not really believe God is who he says he is. We decide what we want to believe about him based on our own interpretation of events, and then our hearts turn away from God rather toward him

This is not good.

The rest of the article shares some ideas about how we might come alongside and gently warn sufferers not to succumb to unbelief.

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A prayer by Scotty Smith that is based on these verses

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Then Scotty writes:

Dear Lord Jesus, yesterday’s troubling stories shape today’s morning prayer. I went to bed late last night, wearied with woes of good friends. I arise today hungry with hope in you—our great and gracious Savior.

Thank you for being honest with us about life this side of the new heaven and new earth. We are a broken people in a broken world; and you’re not an on-demand bellhop or genie, promising the elimination hardships and heartaches. But you are a very present help and Redeemer—pledging your presence in every circumstance and trial. Troubling news doesn’t have to cripple our hearts. Indeed, may it carry our hearts to you today, for you are ever so trustworthy, Lord Jesus.

For our friends stunned with heartbreaking health news, we declare our trust in you, Jesus. How we long for the day when words like cancerdementia and heart disease will no longer appear in our vocabulary. Until that day, we unabashedly and earnestly pray for healing, and we trust you for all-surpassing peace and more-than-sufficient grace.

For our friends saddened with heart-ripping issues with their children, we declare our trust in you, Jesus. Few troubling reports carry more power to dishearten than those related to our children. Whether they’ve been vandalized by others’ darkness or victimized by their own foolish choices, it hurts real bad and real deep. We appeal to your covenant faithfulness and your powerful reach. Capture the hearts of our children, Jesus, and help us love them well in the chaos and the crisis.

For our friends saddled with heart-wrenching financial burdens, we declare our trust in you, Jesus. There’s a growing number among us who have more month left over at the end of the check. Even though the Dow is up, the hope of many is down, and the possibility of losing homes still looms.

Continue reading here.

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John Newton (author of “Amazing Grace”) wrote these words which displays how the Lord afflicts us to comfort us in the end:

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”


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