hope, pain, perseverance, restored, suffering, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Gain: Understanding God through Our Pain and Suffering

God does not promise an easy life. We will see pain and suffering, but we will gain a better understanding of Him through those seasons.



I have always avoided the book of Job. To be honest, I was somewhat afraid of it. It just didn’t feel like the God I believed in. I had this irrational belief that if I ever came to terms with a God that would test Job in this way, maybe, just maybe, He would test me in a similar way.

God does not promise an easy life. We will see pain and suffering, but we will gain a better understanding of Him through those seasons. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #pain #suffering #perseverance

Gain Understanding through Job

So, when Lisa Harper’s Bible study on Job was announced as the next one our women’s group would be doing, I struggled with whether or not to sign up. Deep down a part of me knew what I was really signing up for.

The next week as I was perusing through the library, something drew me to Harold Kushner’s The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person. For the next couple of weeks, it sat on my nightstand unopened, taunting me. It felt like some kind of sign that God wanted me to understand Job, really understand Job. So against my better judgment, I signed up for the Bible study and forced myself to actually go.

The Story of Job

For those of you who are not familiar with Job or those who have also hidden from it, the first chapter introduces you to a man named Job who seems to have everything–great wealth, land, family, friends–but most importantly, he is considered blameless and upright by God. Wow! It sounds like his life is pretty much perfect, and that is where Satan steps in.

He tries to convince God that the only reason that Job is righteous and loves the Lord is because God has protected him and given him everything his heart desired. If all those things were to go away, so would Job’s love for the Lord. But God knows better. Not only does Job have faith in God, but God has faith in Job.

So Satan strips away all of Job’s comforts: he loses his cattle, his servants, even his own children. In chapter two, we learn that Job is also afflicted with a disease that brings constant pain and suffering.

The story continues with Job trying to make some kind of sense of his senseless suffering. He talks to his friends, who instead of empathizing with him, try to persuade him that he must be to blame for this sudden turn of events. Job eventually comes face-to-face with God and receives the answers in which he desires. And in chapter 42, Job’s health and wealth are not only restored but doubled.

Making It Through

See, I think that most of us are living a story much like Job, although maybe not quite to the same extreme.

And if we could, we would take a time machine from one end to the other and miss the mess in the middle. But for all of you mathematicians out there, what is the difference between 42 and 2? That’s right, 40. If you took that time machine, you would miss the “40”.

Trials to Transformation

40 in the Bible has always been symbolic of a period of testing that leads to transformation.

Because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:3-4, NIV
  • When it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, Noah learned that he could trust God to help him weather any storm.
  • The Israelites wandered through the desert for 40 years to prepare them for the Promised Land.
  • Jesus was tempted by the devil for 40 days in the wilderness before his ministry began to give him the strength he would need to overcome him.

It is through these trials of life that God prepares us. That He transforms us.

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

During those 40 messy, middle chapters of Job’s life, his eyes were opened in a way that would not be possible without his suffering.

Redemption Over Retribution

Those 40 middle chapters of Job dismiss the Jewish belief of divine retribution; the long-held belief that suffering is caused by sin, while prosperity and peace come to those whom God is pleased with.

Bad things DO happen to good people. People get sick, lose their job, get divorced… every day, and sometimes through no fault of their own. Job was blameless before God and still endured terrible hardship. Yet, through it all, he remained faithful to God.

Empathy Over Sympathy

The story of Job is not only an example of how we should handle our own suffering but that of those around us as well. God does not want us to be like Job’s friends and blame others for their problems. Or to look down on them in judgment.

God wants us to look past people’s misgivings and show them empathy and love. He wants us to show others the grace that He has shown us. It is not our job to ask how they got into that situation, but instead, we need to ask ourselves how can we lead them back to the One who can redeem all situations.

Relationship Over Religion

God’s praise of Job and reproof of his so-called friends, shows that God wants honest communication with us–relationship over religion. Job’s friends said what they thought God wanted to hear; their words were only for show.

Job, on the other hand, hid nothing from God. One minute, Job seems confident that God will hear his pleas, and in the next, he seems to have lost all hope in God’s willingness to listen and rectify his situation.

Sound familiar? God wants us to persist in asking, questioning, and sharing our thoughts and emotions with Him. In His time, He will respond with the answer that is best for us.

Eternal Over Temporal

God is forging a new deeper, relationship with Job. Job tells God, “I heard about you from others; now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (Job 42:5). There is nothing as powerful as the life-altering experience of being in the presence of God. There is no time that we are closer to God than when we are walking through those dark hallways of life; closed off from all the “should be’s” and the “might-have-been’s”.

But here’s the thing about hallways, they lead to a better destination. And during those dark times, we are reminded of what truly is important. All those little things we have been fretting over, just don’t seem to matter anymore. We start to see things a little more clearly, a little more like God. We start to focus on the eternal, instead of the temporal.

I suggest to you that it is because God loves us that he gives us the gift of suffering. Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world. You see, we are like blocks of stone out of which the Sculptor carves the forms of men. The blows of the chisel, which hurt us so much are what make us perfect.

C.S. Lewis
During dark times, we have hope. All those little things we’ve been fretting don’t seem to matter anymore and we start seeing things a little more like God. We focus on the eternal instead of the temporal. Click To Tweet

Gain Over Loss

I wish I could say that I did the Job Bible study, nothing bad happened to me, and I was blessed beyond measure, but that’s not the truth of it. We cannot get to the promised land without first making our way through the wilderness.

The full story sounds a little more like this: I did the Bible study, some bad things happened to me, yet God never left me and I was blessed beyond measure. However, I don’t believe that my health issues occurred because I finally read and understood the message of Job. I think that God gave me the message of Job when I needed it most to help me gain an understanding of my suffering.

So what I really learned from Job is that sometimes instead of asking WHY, “Why is this happening to me?”, I need to be asking WHAT, “What does God want me to gain from this?”

And I can promise you, the gain will always be greater than the loss.

God does not promise an easy life. We will see pain and suffering, but we will gain a better understanding of Him through those seasons. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #pain #suffering #perseverance

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
honesty, stories, hope, testimony, uncomfortable, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Testing: Sharing Our Struggles in The Middle of Our Stories

When we vulnerably share our stories of the struggles we face, we invite our brothers and sisters to help us pass any testing or trial in our lives.



I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the middle. You know, the part of the story before the denouement–before the climax. Before all the plot lines come together and the connections become clear. It’s the part when the story gets messy. Even downright ugly. The part when the protagonist goes through a time of testing. She doesn’t know how it’s all going to play out, and she’s trying not to lose hope. It’s a time when things can feel awkward, uncomfortable, even scary and hopeless. It’s the middle.

When we vulnerably share our stories of the struggles we face, we invite our brothers and sisters to help us pass any testing or trial in our lives. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #testimony #uncomfortable #honesty

Unfinished Stories…

A while back, a dear friend shared a very raw, transparent testimony about traversing the middle of motherhood. She was struggling with the fact that her story was one in which the Lord’s redemption was not yet evident. She admitted her heart’s longing to share a testimony where all the loose ends were tucked in–where it was all wrapped up in a pretty bow. But, at this point in her story, that’s just not where she is. She’s in the middle. In the throes of motherhood, where each day feels like a battle. And she’s fighting to find joy amid the struggle.

My friend’s honest and vulnerable talk touched the heart of every woman who heard her speak. It opened the floodgates for an incredible discussion about hard things like depression, anxiety, and shame. And it invited conversation about deep desires for joy, peace, and healing. My friend’s willingness to share the good, bad, and ugly of her situation gave the rest of us permission to honestly grapple with the difficulties we’re facing. Because we are all in the middle of our own unfinished stories.

The “Test” in Testimony…

The middle of our stories is when the true testing of our faith happens. Folks, there’s a reason why “test” is part of the word “testimony.” Without seasons of testing, we’ll never know what we are truly made of. And without His testing, we’ll never fully grasp the goodness of the Lord. Through our walk of faith, we learn that God doesn’t maniacally test us to watch us fail. Rather, He lovingly allows us to walk through tests and trials in order to prove our faith and to strengthen the power of His Word in us. He tests us to show us that He truly will lead, guide, and deliver us through every trial.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4, ESV

We–as believers, women, and just humans in general–need to know one another’s struggles. Yes, it’s wonderful to hear a testimony of the Lord’s goodness once the story is all said and done. But what about the middle part? What about the part when we are in the heat of the battle? When the struggle is raw, and things don’t make sense? At all. When life is hard and holding onto our faith isn’t easy? Beloved, we need to be able to share our hearts–even when the testing of our faith exposes some sharp, jagged edges that don’t fit so neatly into religion’s pretty box.

Beloved, we need to be able to share our hearts–even when the testing of our faith exposes some sharp, jagged edges that don’t fit so neatly into religion's pretty box. Click To Tweet

Passing The Test…

Sisters, we can’t gloss over the testing phase when we share our stories with others. We must testify of His goodness even in the midst of our stories that are unfolding. This means we shouldn’t shy away from sharing our testimonies in the middle of the test itself! It can feel extremely vulnerable to talk about current struggles we’re facing, battles we feel like we’re losing, and hard circumstances that don’t look like they’re changing. But when we’re honest about the fact that we’re in the middle of the story, it allows our sisters and brothers in Christ to come alongside us.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV

We can invite others to pray with and for us and help us in the ways they can. As members of one body, we are called to help shoulder one another’s burdens. To point each other back to the One who ultimately delivers us from all of our tests and trials. When it comes to passing these kinds of tests, the Lord doesn’t look at sharing and helping one another as cheating. In fact, He encourages us to walk together. 

A Brave Testimony…

Recently a dear friend bravely shared her story of being in the middle of a season of grief following a miscarriage. With her permission, I want to share the way she beautifully gave her testimony in the midst of this trial. She posted a picture of the empty “baby’s room” in her home, and then she went on to share her heart:

“I’m not pregnant. We are a week away from [our son’s] due date and there is no baby coming. The ache and recovery for all of us have been quite a journey. We’ve kept the door closed to this room and passed by it several times a day. The reminders that we bought this house to grow our family are all around us. Yet, today I stand here with an achy longing of hope. I’m not crying! That is a miracle and the result of time, support, great therapy, taking it day by day, and riding the waves of postpartum miscarriage hormones that took about 5 months to settle (just sharing to normalize how long it takes to “recover” from a miscarriage even though it’s something one never recovers from).

We set up [our daughter’s] big girl bed today to celebrate her successful potty training. It also forced us to put the crib in the “baby’s room” as we still call it. We rearranged and I showed her all the baby items. Things left untouched were played with and dusted off. We are hoping and waiting to see if this crib will be used again. This morning [our daughter] said she’s praying for a baby sister. Will you join us in the risky hopeful prayers? We think we’re ready to get back in the ring…Here’s to all of us grieving, hoping, celebrating.

If you’re surprised by my sharing in such a public way, it’s because this middle part of the journey isn’t talked about. It’s hidden. Sometimes there isn’t news of a new baby coming to make the loss feel less painful. We can breathe a collective sigh of relief when we finally see the widow get remarried or have that rainbow baby or find the job or go into remission. But what if those things don’t happen? Can we sit with each other in the uncomfortable middle of the journey?”

Conquerors…

My friend’s courage to share her struggle–in the midst of her story–serves as a  powerful reminder to us all. Beloved, this walk of faith is not a cake walk. It’s a fight for our lives in the middle of an intense battle between good and evil. But praise God that through every test, through every trial, we serve a loving Father who indeed sees us through. In Him, we find our strength to persevere through the tests of the wilderness seasons, when it feels as if we are holding onto our last shreds of faith. But as we hold fast to the One who never leaves nor forsakes us, we enter the Promised Land as more than conquerors! 

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Revelation 12:11, ESV

Are you in the middle of an unfinished story? Would you consider sharing your testimony in the test you face? Do you have a sister in the faith who needs your help to pass the test she is facing?

When we vulnerably share our stories of the struggles we face, we invite our brothers and sisters to help us pass any testing or trial in our lives. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #testimony #uncomfortable #honesty

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
love, light, God's love, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Buckets: Being Filled and Filling Others with The Love of Christ

When the Lord fills us with His love and light, our buckets are full to overflowing. With full buckets, we can fill others with Christ’s love.



I was sitting in the gymnasium at my kids’ elementary school as 200 squirmy students sat on the floor, their teachers perched slightly above them on metal folding chairs. The atmosphere was charged with palpable energy, excitement, and anticipation.

They were all waiting for a guest performer to take the stage. The man was Red Grammer, a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and performer who the CBS Morning Show described as: “a superstar to the young and a hit with parents too!” And we were all about to find out why!

When the Lord fills us with His love and light, our buckets are full to overflowing. With full buckets, we can fill others with Christ's love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #hope #light #love #GodsLove

Moved to Tears…

As Mr. Grammer began to sing his first song as if on cue, all 200 students chimed in:

Everybody here has a bucket. (Yes!) Everybody’s bucket holds light. (Right!) Add a little light here, add a little light there, till everybody’s bucket shines bright.

It was an incredible moment to behold. I don’t know what it is about a bunch of children singing together, but it gets me every time. As I looked around the room, I could see I wasn’t the only one who was deeply touched by what I was witnessing–many of the teachers and staff were wiping tears from their eyes too.

As I sat there in my chair, tears streaming down my face, I tried to soak up every ounce of the beauty that I was beholding. Moments like these don’t happen often enough. Moments when time just sort of comes to a stop. It’s as if a divine hand pushes an invisible pause button on all of our worries, anxieties, and fears. And we’re invited to simply take in the moment. And in the middle of that busy, secular public school, I experienced a divine moment.

As Mr. Grammer continued on with his performance, his 200-member backup choir followed suit. They added choreographed hand gestures and signs to match the lyrics–which their amazing choir teacher had taught them. There was a sweet ballad called “See Me Beautiful,” about asking others to try to see the best in us, even when we might be at our worst. Then, a fun tune called “I’ve Got A Lid” about protecting our hearts when someone comes to “dip into our bucket” with harsh words or actions. Followed by a call and response number called “I’m All Filled Up”–with happiness, good thoughts, and love. And the hits rolled on…

In A Nutshell…

Although Red Grammer is not a Christian artist, the simple messages of his beautiful songs cover the gamut of scripture. The overarching theme on his Circle of Light album is “bucket filling”–the simple notion that we all have buckets that hold love and light. Sometimes our buckets are empty; other times they’re full.

When someone’s bucket is empty, s/he might “dip” into others’ buckets by tearing them down. But we all have “lids” that we can use to protect our own buckets from dipping. We can always help to fill up others’ buckets by sharing love and light with them. So, essentially bucket filling represents the basic tenets of the Christian faith in a nutshell!

Love and Light…

First, our buckets are filled with love and light. As believers, we know that God is love:

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:16

God’s son, Jesus, is the light of man:

In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

John 1:4

Bucket Filling and Dipping…

Next, God fills our “buckets” (our body, soul, and spirit) with His love.

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

Sin empties our buckets and causes us to hurt or “dip into” others to find fulfillment.

There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

Psalm 38:3-4

Using Our Lids…

Finally, we must use our “lids” to guard our hearts and minds against attacks by the enemy and worldly sin that so easily ensnares.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Proverbs 4:23

Ultimately, our job as believers is not to judge or fight our enemies, but rather to see them as our brothers and sisters whose “buckets are empty.” As believers, we are called to help “fill others’ buckets” by showing them the love of Christ.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.

Luke 6:27
Our job as believers is not to judge or fight our enemies, but rather to see them as our brothers and sisters whose 'buckets are empty'. We are called to help 'fill others' buckets' by showing them the love of Christ. Click To Tweet

A New Family Ritual…

That night after the concert, as our family sat around the kitchen table, all of our buckets were full. My husband had helped set up the sound equipment for Mr. Grammer. I had helped emcee the event and both of our kids had attended the show. As we sat there eating–in typical mom fashion–I suggested that we go around the table and share one way that we had filled someone else’s bucket that day and one way that someone else had filled our bucket.

It was so sweet to hear how our kids had been touched by their friends’ kindness and how they had helped others throughout their day. Each of us enjoyed this activity so much that it has become a new family ritual at dinnertime. Sometimes things are so simple that they just work. And this concept of bucket filling has given our family a common language to consider how we are treating others and how they treat us.

Power to Change The World…

The final line in another of Red Grammer’s songs goes:

Filling up a bucket seems like a small, small thing. But it has the power to change the world!

Amen! I am so thankful we serve a loving God who wants nothing more than to fill to overflowing the buckets of all of His children.

Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 15:13

How have you filled someone’s bucket today? How has someone filled your bucket?

When the Lord fills us with His love and light, our buckets are full to overflowing. With full buckets, we can fill others with Christ's love. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #hope #light #love #GodsLove

All scripture references are from The King James Version of The Holy Bible and all song lyrics and bucket filling references are drawn from Red Grammer’s performance and his Circle of Light album. For more on Mr. Grammer, visit: https://redgrammer.com/
unsplash-logoHeli Ruiz
Deliverance, freedom, hope, plans, redeemed, salvation, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Hoped: Past or Present, God Reveals and Restores

Circumstances can pull us away from our once fierce hope in the Lord. We don’t know the whole story and must submit our “hoped for’s” to God’s plan.



But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…

Luke 24:21a, ESV

The road to Emmaus…Cleopas, (and several scholars believe), his wife Mary, were decimated by the crucifixion of Jesus. After the Sabbath finally came and went, with heavy hearts and dragging feet the couple gathered their belongings together to return home. Despite Mary’s news of seeing the angels at the tomb, despite the unthinkable announcement that the tomb was empty, Cleopas and Mary headed out of town, shrouded in sorrow. In the words of Dr. James Boice:

…they were going home. It was all over. The dream was dead, and they were sad.

Many, many years ago, the infant daughter of some friends of ours was diagnosed with a brain tumor. At the time, our church was in the throes of an unusual months-long, Spirit-filled revival. We experienced the power of God in numerous, unexplainable situations and we were excited to incorporate it in prayer, at times without wisdom and discernment. Oh, how we prayed for that baby! How we entreated God’s healing hand, anointed with oil, trusted He would intervene, despite what the doctors said…

Precious baby girl died three months later. Our small group was devastated, not to mention her parents. We had trusted. We had believed God. Had hoped He was who He said He was.

Circumstances can pull us away from our once fierce hope in the Lord. We don't know the whole story and must submit our "hoped for's" to God's divine plan. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #salvation #freedom #hope

Hoped…

Not unlike Cleopas and Mary, our hope and trust became past tense for a season.

When Jesus joined them on the road home to Emmaus, He didn’t allow them to recognize Him. After all, the last time they had seen Jesus, He had been a bloody mess, beaten and beyond recognition, hanging on a cross. Their story borders on comical, however. Jesus approached them on their journey, behaving as though He was clueless to recent events. Jesus asked them why they were sad. Cleopas and Mary were incredulous!

Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?” Jesus said, “What things?” They answered, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we hoped that it had been he who should have redeemed Israel.

Luke 24:18-21, KJV

But we had hoped that He should have…

I wonder how often I have looked into the face of Jesus and claimed, I had hoped, I had trusted, I had believed, but You didn’t do what You should have done.

For we hoped that He should have redeemed Israel. We had hoped. We had trusted that He should have redeemed Israel.

Irony

If it didn’t feel so sadly familiar, I would feel sorry for the Emmaus disciples. I wish they had said, “Even though everything we see assaults our hope, and it looks as though we have trusted in vain, we continue to believe that we will see Him, again!” But instead, they walked beside Him declaring their lost faith, and He had to say to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe!” (L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert).

The irony is that Jesus, indeed, came to redeem Israel, whether each of His disciples held to their faith or not. That is exactly what lead Him inexorably to the cross – our redemption from sin. This kind of redemption, this freedom from bondage and subjugation isn’t what Cleopas, Mary and many others had in mind; not at all. Their sights were set too low. They only wanted a physical king to bring emancipation for an earthly season.

Jesus offered so much more…immeasurably more.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’—

Galatians 3:13, ESV

knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.

1 Peter 1:18-19, ESV

Deliverance

In today’s culture, everyone seems to have their rights violated in one way or another. It might even be labeled oppression. Sometimes the pervasiveness of that attitude becomes wearisome.

But let me be clear, the Jewish people had experienced centuries of severe oppression, so I don’t want to be too critical of Cleopas and Mary. Their hopes were soaring. Jesus was finally going to bring the longed-for deliverance for which their hearts had yearned for generations.

And then He was crucified.

Hopes dashed against a cross.

What else was there to do, but to go home?

But then Jesus, in His infinite love and mercy, showed up on the road to Emmaus. He began revealing to them the Scriptures. He told them the rest of the story.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:27, ESV

Eyes Opened

Do you ever stop to realize that we don’t know the whole story? The beginning, middle, and end? Has it ever occurred to you that maybe we only have a minuscule speck of awareness concerning what God is doing in relation to the vast scope of things? We see through a glass darkly (I Corinthians 13:12); unless and until the Spirit reveals His truth to us, that is our limitation.

And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’

Luke 24:31-32, ESV

Their eyes were opened. Their hearts burned within them.

Where do we need our eyes opened? When did our hearts stop burning and our hope fail? Did God’s answer refuse to fit the parameters we had set, Beloved? It happens to all believers at some point. For reasons of sin or reasons of growth or both, we have each known times when we were convinced God was going to answer one way and He didn’t…or hasn’t.

Has God failed? We may never utter those words, but what does our walk with Him look like today? Do our hearts burn within us or is our hope a past tense thing, our faith a yesterday or last year topic?

It doesn’t have to be. Cleopas and Mary were desolate, hopeless. Yet, Jesus restored them to resurrection hope by opening their eyes to Truth.

May He do the same for each of us.

Did God’s answer refuse to fit our parameters, Beloved? Do our hearts burn within us or is our hope a past tense thing, our faith a yesterday topic? Jesus restores us to resurrection hope and opens our eyes to His truth! Click To Tweet

Circumstances can pull us away from our once fierce hope in the Lord. We don't know the whole story and must submit our "hoped for's" to God's divine plan. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #salvation #freedom #hope

Annie Spratt

Anxious, anxiety, stress, joy, kindness, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Anxious: Casting Our Worries on God to Allow His Kind Consolation

Anxiety is something many people deal with. When we are anxious it is important to bring it to God, and when those around us are struggling we need to come alongside them with kindness. 



I have dealt with anxiety for much of my life. It has been one of those issues that seems to ebb and flow. The past several months have been among the most anxiety-ridden of my life. I have been allowing the weight of stress, busyness, and fear to take over. It’s made me forget who I am and Whose I am. However, I am finally learning that I need to get in front of my anxiety and not allow it to rule over my life.

Many people deal with anxiety. When we are anxious it is important to allow God and others to come along side us in kindness. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #joy #stress #kindness #hope

Cast It Away

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:7, NIV

I heard a small portion of a talk that Christine Caine did on Anxiety. She spoke of this verse in 1 Peter and the meaning of the word cast. I looked it up for myself and this is what I found…

To throw something forcefully in a specific direction.

To cast means to not only throw but to throw forcefully. This is what scripture tells us to do. To throw our anxiety forcefully in the specific direction that is Jesus. Throw it on Him. Why should we do this? BECAUSE HE CARES FOR US.

This struck a chord in me. Jesus cares so much about us that He is not only willing to take on our anxiety, He is commanding us to cast it on Him.

Consolation from the Lord

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 94:19, NIV

When we are anxious we can expect the Lord to console us to the point of overwhelming joy. In order to receive this joy and consolation, we have to surrender our anxiety and rest in Him. This is not in part but in whole.

We can’t just give God pieces of our anxiety that are convenient to part with. We have to give Him all of it. When we do this He WILL console us so that we can have joy. We were not meant to deal with our anxiety within our own power but within God’s.

When we are anxious we can expect the Lord to console us. We were not meant to deal with our anxiety within our own power but within God's. Click To Tweet

Helping Our Anxious Loved Ones

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Proverbs 12:25, NIV

When someone we know is going through a time of trial and anxiety is present in their life, we need to step up. We need to be there to offer a kind word. Whether this is encouragement, advice, or simple validation of their feelings. Our kindness can make a huge impact on their lives. During times of personal anxiety, I had people speaking truth and kindness to me. Anxiety weighs us down, but kindness has the opportunity to lift us up.

So I challenge you, don’t be complacent. Check on people. Especially if you know they struggle with anxiety. I know first hand that sometimes I am so anxious and worn down that I don’t have the capacity to grocery shop, or even pour myself a bowl of cereal. We are so quick to offer meals, words, and kindness when people have physical ailments. Imagine what would happen if we did it for the people who deal with mental health issues.

Simple acts of kindness can go a long way. So check on people, offer them a kind word, maybe even meet a need in their life. You have no idea what a difference you can make when you offer kindness to cheer up the anxiety in someone’s heart.

Many people deal with anxiety. When we are anxious it is important to allow God and others to come along side us in kindness. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #anxiety #joy #stress #kindness #hope

Tina Dawson

advocate, trauma, hope, darkness, dirty, encouragement, hope, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Dirty: Bringing the Darkness of Trauma into the Light of Hope

The feeling of being dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. When we are in these times it is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. We must stand with women who have been through trauma and we must speak out when we have experienced it. This is when we find hope. 



In November of 2017, I was raped. Since then I have felt a pull in my heart towards the traumatized woman. I have also felt a strong conviction to publicly share what I went through. I have let fear and shame and the feeling of being dirty rule my story. No longer.

Dirty

While I have struggled with self-worth and feelings of inadequacy most of my life, since that day I have truly felt dirty. Dirty, unlovable, broken, and surrounded by darkness. While in many ways I have healed, there are still days that I am not okay. I revert back to allowing anxiety to rule and to question all of my experiences. That is not truth. That is not God’s powerful redeeming love.

I know that I am not the only woman who has felt dirty. I know I am not the only woman who has felt ashamed or broken. Who has allowed her experiences and sins to cause her to question her purpose and God’s powerful love in her life. Oh Lord Help Us is for that woman. I am for that woman. Do not allow yourself to live in shame. You have a redeeming Savior who loves you. You are not defined by your past.

Feeling dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. It is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #trauma #healing #encouragement

Redemption

We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace

Ephesians 1:7, CEB

While rape is never the victim’s fault, my actions played into what happened to me that evening. I made a choice to be alone with him. I do not know what would be different if I had not allowed that to happen but I have had to overcome my part in it.

We have been ransomed. We have been forgiven. Our failures, our mistakes, and our sins make us feel dirty. But there is redemption; Redemption through His overflowing grace. So much grace. He turns our dirt into beauty. He transforms and renews us. His sacrifice makes us clean. We do not need to dwell on our past but can look into our redemption.

We have been ransomed. We have been forgiven. Our failures, our mistakes, and our sins make us feel dirty. But there is redemption; Redemption through His overflowing grace. Click To Tweet

Hope

The light shines in the dark, and the dark has never extinguished it.

John 1:5, GW

In the midst of pain, there is always hope. In the darkness, the light always shines. The time after my rape was the darkest time of my life. Hope seemed far off. The light was too dim to see. But it was there.

Darkness can never extinguish the light. Even in times when the light seems impossible to see it is still there. It will never go away. That light is hope. Hope that is among the trauma. Hope that only comes from Jesus. We can not fight the darkness on our own. We need His light. The light that extinguishes the darkness.

In this dark time, the light and the hope came through my story impacting others. When I thought I was alone Jesus brought people into my past that have walked similar paths. He brought people that needed to hear they were not alone. If I had not walked in the darkness in this way then other peoples lives would have not been impacted. That is the hope we can see in our pain. That one day our story can touch lives, one day we can show a woman in darkness the light that never fades.

Stand

We need to wake up. Do you hear me, sisters? We need to wake up and stand with these people battling the darkness. Not condemning them, and not sweeping their pain under the rug, but acting in love. These women that feel dirty: we need stand and with them and fight. We must speak out, and we must have a voice. Stop telling people to keep it to themselves and stop denying the facts. Darkness can come when you least expect it and we must bring this darkness to light.

I know that I have a nasty habit of judging others. I would venture to say that we all have that sin struggle in us, but we need to stop. We need to allow women that have been through trauma and struggle to find a safe place. We need to give them a safe place. If we respond with love and understanding instead of judgment imagine the difference that would make. Allow the person in darkness to see what light looks like. Show her that she can feel clean again. Share your experience with her so she doesn’t feel so alone. Inspire hope.

If you are in a place of feeling dirty and stuck in the darkness do not allow yourself to walk through it alone. There are people who have walked through the darkness and come out on the other side. We are all a little dirty. Remember that the light is never gone. Hope can always be found. As Albus Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of places, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Fight. Encourage. Love. Support. Speak. Heal.

Feeling dirty can cause us to feel like we are in a sea of darkness. It is important to remember that light is never gone and hope can always be found. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #hope #trauma #healing #encouragement

camilo jimenez

honor, hope, light, voice, social media, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Voice: Speak Hope in the Midst of Turmoil and Division

Every entertainer loves a captive audience. Yet, we do not have to become captive to the media’s show. We can rise above and be a voice of hope. 



In our house, we have several little sayings that remind each of us who we are, and what we are called to. For example, I often hear a tiny four-year-old voice proclaim, “Harndens don’t give up,” when I am complaining that something is too hard. Our family motto declares “We are Harnden Heroes. We live by the fruit of the Spirit for the eternal purposes of God.”

These little sayings are fun and cute, but they constantly remind my kids (and my husband and I) that we are Harndens, and Harndens live according to God’s ways.

This same principle applies to the people of God. We are His chosen people, and because we belong to the King, we live according to the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Every entertainer loves a captive audience. Yet, we do not have to become captive to the media's show. We can rise above and be a voice of hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #honor #socialmedia #hope #light #voice

His Kingdom and Our Culture

My heart breaks over the constant political turmoil in our country. You don’t have to look too far or associate with a particular political party to recognize the incredible evil American humans are capable of. These are dark days to be sure. And the media doesn’t help one bit.

I have struggled with how to respond. Should I blast all my social media contacts with articles and memes that support my view in the name of standing up for truth and justice? Should I engage in online arguments that add fuel to the political fire? Or, should I be silent, say nothing at all and grow numb to evil so as not to offend anyone?

I’m ashamed to say that while my emotions may be raging and my heart pounding as I read the news, I usually fall into the last category. Be silent. Don’t stir up trouble. Social media doesn’t help anything anyway. Stay away from the political scene and just pray.

This is usually my default as I succumb to the lie that I don’t really have a voice.

Voice of The King

But I believe God has called me, and us, to something higher. We are not to be silent. Rather, we are the mouthpiece of the Living God. We do have a voice and that voice is called to speak the language of HOPE.

We hold in our hands and our hearts the answer to the world’s problems and it doesn’t sit with a politician.

Hope is in a Man, a King, who gave up His throne in Heaven to serve and love humanity. A God who chose to die, to give His own life, so we could know Him more fully! A God who lived and loved as a man on earth, who always spoke the truth, and demonstrated grace.

He healed the sick, turned water into wine, turned over tables, and hung on a cross with sinners. Jesus was fully God and fully man. He lived every day of His life by the power of the Holy Spirit, without sin. He loved unashamedly and He never once compromised. He changed the face of church and religion.

This Man, Jesus, dug deep into the pit of hell to set us free from the evil in this world. The evil in our own hearts. He rescued all people of every tribe and nation, and made a way for us to know Him and live forever with Him. He gave us the tools to live wholeheartedly for Him and empowers us daily to do so.

I want to be His mouthpiece!

Be a Voice of Light

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14, NIV

Jesus, Himself, called us forward to be light. He chose and set us apart. He placed us in our culture on purpose, so that we could bring light to the world around us. Are we meant to be light in a well-lit room? Of course not. Light shines best in the darkness. Does light fear the darkness? No, it overpowers it.

Our country is a dark place, but we are His lights! We get the incredible opportunity to walk in light and show others how to navigate the darkness.

And Sisters, if you know Jesus, He lives in you and gives you all the light you need.

Be A Voice of Honor

One way we can shine brighter than the mess around us is through honor. Our culture has forgotten how to show dignity one another. But, we live for a different Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven is a culture of honor.

Honor every person in every situation, stage of life, culture, political party, and position. You can greatly disagree and still choose to honor. We show honor to others because of who God is and who we are in Him.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9, AMPC

God created every person in His image, and He is worthy of our honor. To be the voice of Jesus, we MUST be the voice of honor. We must choose to see people as God sees them. And we honor others because of who we are in Christ. A woman who is CHOSEN, ROYAL and SET APART is a person who respects those in front of her.

We are called to display the virtues of HIM. He called us out of darkness and into marvelous light. We, too, have the privilege to stand as a light and call others out into His light. Wow! What a calling!

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Romans 12:9-10, NLT

For the Christian, choosing to honor is not an option. Because we belong to Christ, we are the voice of hope. Hope speaks with honor.

For the Christian, choosing to honor is not an option. Because we belong to Christ, we are the voice of hope. Hope speaks with honor. Click To Tweet

How To Be His Voice

We do not have to become captive to the media’s circus. We can rise above and speak life.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].

Proverbs 18:21, AMPC

The words we say in person or online are so important. We literally have the power to spark fear in people or bring comfort with just our voice. Here are a few things to consider when responding to the crises around us…

Speak hope, not fear. When you share and comment, let your comments be laced with love and the promises of Christ. Our world needs to remember that Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). We need to know that He is always with us and that God is just.

Spread good news…whenever you see or read it. Take every opportunity to use your words and influence to encourage others.

Listen before you speak. This one messes with me. I am NOT a very good listener because I have a lot of passion and a lot of things to say. But Jesus says through James that His people are to be slow to speak and quick to listen (James 1:19). In order to help the world, we have to hear their cries.

In all things pray. Before you click that “share” button simply pray. Ask Him to check your own heart to root out gossip and anger. And pray that Jesus will use your words for His purposes.

Our world is changing, but our God remains the same. We can be His voice of Hope to a very broken world.

Every entertainer loves a captive audience. Yet, we do not have to become captive to the media's show. We can rise above and be a voice of hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #honor #socialmedia #hope #light #voice

Every entertainer loves a captive audience. Yet, we do not have to become captive to the media's show. We can rise above and be a voice of hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #honor #socialmedia #hope #light #voice

Kelly Sikkema

depression, hope, joy, darkness, faith, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Depression: Fighting for Joy in the Midst of Darkness

As believers, we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. 



Depression is something we hear about all the time. I’m here to tell you it is much more than just being sad. Most Christians I know who have struggled with being depressed, have found themselves wracked with guilt and despair. I know I have. I am not an expert, but I know what I have experienced and I want to share about my fight for joy.

As believers we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #encouragement #depression #joy #hope

Subtle

It starts with thoughts like: Why try? It builds to: Why bother? It evolves into a feeling of heaviness. For me, it is best described as a hot, wet blanket. It’s like concrete in my shoes.

It’s like my to-do list slipping into Jello. My emotions are on edge. I think everything is about me. I think people believe I am a failure. I can barely function, but just enough.

Complicated

Most people think of the person who is never around or hidden. My friend Brandi and I talk about the active depressed person. I’m involved in my life, but I am dying on the inside. It takes all I have to get my clothes on. All I have to convince myself what I am doing is worth it. What I do matters. That I still have purpose.

I find it hard to believe that anybody notices me. This is not wanting to end life. This is not wanting to hurt anymore or it’s the desire to feel again. You begin to doubt that you will ever be happy again.

Noise

Have you ever tried to have a conversation while someone vacuumed or ran a noisy dishwasher? Did you really hear all the words? Not well, right? Depression is like that.

The words are coming toward you but the thoughts cannot really get through. You read the Bible. You pray. You fight for joy. But the words on the page don’t mean anything. They can’t prick your heart.

If you do feel anything, it’s often guilt at not being more joyful. It’s despair that you will always feel like this… Why bother? You aren’t really worth much. You are a disappointment. You won’t ever have purpose. You did once, but now you are just trouble.

Depression Is Not the Final Say…

I have had multiple issues with depression. I find the winter is usually the worst. Especially gray, rainy ones. My hormones can play a big factor: pregnancy, nursing, middle age. Stress can make it take center stage. But, it’s not the end…

I have seen God do amazing things in the middle of my despair.

Always Hope

How do we face depression as believers?

We continue to look to His word for who we are. Depression tells us we have no purpose and we are worthless. But God’s word can break through and remind us of what is true – He is the one who gives His people purpose. He will never leave us and He is the One who will see us completed to the end.

We can listen to music that glorifies Him and praises Him in spite of what we feel or think. He has not changed and He can be trusted even if our thoughts cannot. This is where I have seen God move in mighty ways. The battles I have fought while depressed, have been the bricks God laid to remind me He is faithful, He is sovereign, He is trustworthy. Even in the darkest days.

We confess what we are feeling to other safe mature believers and ask for prayer. We are tempted to hide what we are experiencing but that only leads to more isolation. This is not how the church works. We can believe that being vulnerable will make Christ look less. But when in actuality I have heard over and over that my willingness to share my neediness has challenged others to do the same. They have seen that God cares about every part of their lives especially their suffering.

We seek out help. This can look differently for different times. I have sought counseling. Medicine was necessary at one point. Every situation will not call for the same solution. But hear me, we do not have to stay in despair and depression.

We can be tempted to hide our experiences but that only leads to more isolation. This is not how the church works. Being vulnerable encourages others. Only then can we see how intricately God cares for our sufferings. Click To Tweet

No More Hiding

I do know one thing that does not work. Hiding. Hiding only makes my life feel worse. We are in a battle for our hearts and minds. We are believers and our eternity is secure. I want more than just security. I want to live a life that finds joy in Christ and in His truths. I am His. Some days that means depression and despair. He is still enough when I have those days. He is still enough.

God hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. I call to you from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy. I will dwell in your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 61:1-4, CSB

As believers we may think depression and faith could not occur together. But because of the cross, we who face despair can still find hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #scripture #devotional #encouragement #depression #joy #hope
Ian Espinosa

future, hope, plans, surrender, trust, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Uncertain: Allowing God to Guide Through the Unknowns

We all have the desire to know our future is secure. We fear the uncertain. When we surrender our plans to God, we have an assurance that He works for us and puts things together for our good. 



Life is full of uncertainties. I fight against this fact, tooth and nail. I am a planner. Knowing what to expect in situations is important to me. I love predictability. I don’t care for the uncertain and unknown. This may make me boring in some ways. But if you take me on a road trip, you can be sure I will find all of the awesome attractions along the way.

While I may have a desire to know the future and to have confidence in my stability, I am slowly learning this is not how life works. When we over plan and anticipate every aspect of our lives, we steal away God’s opportunity to show up for us. When we are laser-focused on making the uncertain certain, we fail to ask God for help. We fail to fully put our trust in Him.

We often fear the uncertain future. When we surrender to God we have an assurance that He puts all things together for our good. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #encouragement #plans #surrender #focus

God’s Certainty

For I know the plans I have for, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11, ESV

We see and hear this verse so much that we may have become desensitized to its truth. God knows the plan for us. He is certain. Nothing is unknown to Him. More than that, the plan God has for us is for our good. It gives us hope and a future.

When we take the time to read this verse and let it resonate in our hearts, we come to realize that the unknown doesn’t have to be scary. This is where faith requires us to take action. We have to offer our future and our uncertainty into His hands. We will never have complete knowledge of what tomorrow brings, but we can be sure it is good and full of hope.

Uncertain Direction

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

Psalm 32:8, NIV

One aspect of uncertainty is not knowing the right decisions to make. There are infinite amounts of outcomes to any one decision. We want to know that the choices we make are the right ones.

In attempting to make the right choices, a lot of times, we forget to seek counsel from our greatest teacher. The Lord promises He will instruct us and teach us the way to go. He does this because He loves us. We are required to trust in Him and learn to listen to His voice.

When we try to figure things out on our own and ignore God’s teaching and instruction we will make the wrong choices. We know that God will use all things. Nothing we do can change His ultimate plan for us, but if we don’t trust His counsel, our free will can cause it to take longer to get to what God has for us.

God’s Plan

God’s plan is always greater than our own. There are things that are in play that we can not imagine or prepare for. While planning and preparing are good, when we try to over plan and take control of our own lives we miss out on God’s blessings along the way.

‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.’

Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT

God’s way is always greater than our own. We can plan and prepare all we want but our best will never measure up to God’s ways. We must surrender our plans and our desires for certainty to Him. For when we do this we have confidence that our future will be bright, hopeful, and beyond anything, we could ever imagine.

God's way is always greater than our own. We can plan and prepare all we want, but our best will never measure up to God's ways. We must surrender our plans and our desires for certainty in the Lord. Click To Tweet

We often fear the uncertain future. When we surrender to God we have an assurance that He puts all things together for our good. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #encouragement #plans #surrender #focus #scripture
Annie Spratt

hope, pain, rest, season, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Season: Learning to Rest in Times of Pain and Suffering

There are many different times in life. During a season of suffering, it is important to remember that it is okay to not be okay, but we are called to rest in Jesus. 



Through the past year, I have had some of my lowest lows and some of my highest highs. I am currently, by the grace of God, in a season where everything seems to be going well. I am feeling more confident and am having a lot of good days. Because of that sometimes I forget that I am allowed to have bad days. I focus a lot on what “should be” instead of facing what is. We all go through different seasons of life but in every season we must hold tight to our Savior.

There are many different times in life. During a season of suffering we need to remember that it is okay to not be okay and just rest in Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Having it all Together

Sometimes, as Christians, we tend to think that we have to have it all together. We are constantly bombarded with phrases that lead us to believe that we are not allowed to have bad days or to feel upset for a time. When we confide in people they usually respond with “just have faith” or “you just need to pick yourself up”.

While this is all true, we also need to realize that there will be seasons of pain and times where we don’t feel okay. And the truth of the matter is that it’s okay to not be okay. The pain will fade and God will come through for us and bring relief.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, the one who called you into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will himself restore, empower, strengthen, and establish you.

1 Peter 5:10, CEB

A Season for Everything

There truly is a season for everything, and that includes seasons of not ‘okay’. Scripture clearly states that there is a time for crying and laughing and a time for mourning and dancing. Life happens in seasons. Sometimes that season is one of pain. We are allowed to feel pain and to not be “on” all of the time. At times we must rest in our suffering and our pain.

There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens:

a time for giving birth and a time for dying, a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted, a time for killing and a time for healing, a time for tearing down and a time for building up, a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing, a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones, a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces, a time for searching and a time for losing a time for keeping and a time for throwing away, a time for tearing and a time for repairing, a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking, a time for loving and a time for hating, a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, CEB

Suffering

The Bible is clear that there are times where we will not be ok. The difference comes when we learn to give it to Jesus and learn to be ok again. We are not called to live a life without suffering but to give our suffering to our great God.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-5, NLT

We can rejoice when we run into problems and trials. Some other versions say that we can rejoice in suffering. When we generally think of trials or suffering the word rejoice does not come to mind. But, it is clear that we all go through suffering and that it happens for a reason…

That reason is hope. Suffering will also ultimately develop hope. A hope that will never let us down. A hope that can only come when we give everything over to Jesus. Jesus died so that we do not suffer alone.

He took the punishment for our sin. He suffered so that we can trust in Him. Jesus knows first hand what it is like to not be ok. We have a confidant, a supporter through all of life’s trials. This is the hope we need in order to see the good in our suffering. To learn to rest in it.

Suffering will ultimately develop a hope that will never let us down. A hope that can only come when we give everything over to Jesus. He died so we do not suffer alone. Click To Tweet

Suffering with Each Other

When others are suffering, we are called to stand with them. We need to help them. We need to be a safe place for people to be able to talk about what they are going through. It is important that we give people permission to not be okay. There are times when people are looking for help solving a problem and times when they just need someone to listen to them. As believers, we are called to do these things.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2, NIV

Carry each other’s burdens. This is what scripture implores us to do. Part of loving one another is carrying each other’s burdens. When we are in times of pain and suffering, having someone carry the burden with you can change everything.

God did not create us to go through life by ourselves. When we are in times of turmoil it is important to seek Godly counsel and support. When we are the ones giving the support, we must do so in a way that is helpful, loving, and honest.

Joy Comes in the Morning

It is truly okay to not be okay for a season. We all have days or weeks or even months of not being okay. The difference comes when we give our pain over to God and learn to rest in Him. We may have bad days, but we can have confidence that we will be okay again… the sun will rise.

For his anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one’s life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning.

Psalm 30:5, NET

There are many different times in life. During a season of suffering we need to remember that it is okay to not be okay and just rest in Jesus. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional