Monday, June 28, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough, Chapter 1


At the moment, my Going has gotten Tough.  I’ve been struggling with a situation that I need to handle, and soon, with no direction, and no peace about it.  A month or two ago, I obtained a booklet from RBC Ministries (, written by Joe Stowell, a past president of Moody Bible Institute, titled “When the Going Gets Tough.”  ( There has been a lot written on this topic, but since it is personally applicable to me at the moment, I decided to sit down and read the first chapter.

Mr. Stowell begins by pointing out some important things about tough times.  First, he says, we must understand that our difficult times are not random, and God has not abandoned us to whatever happens to come along, but rather provides support and “something solid to hold on to” until the roller coaster ride is over.

The second main point is that we need to do two things: understand what’s happening, and then begin healing.  And it’s on the first part, understanding, that Mr. Stowell expounds in this chapter.  He explains that the Greek word for trial means “to examine or test for the purpose of proving or revealing something about the thing tested.”

Aha…  It’s when we have trouble that our true character is being exposed in the way we act and react.  Our character is also being examined, certainly by God, but hopefully by us as well, as part of the process of growing.  We get an opportunity to see how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go.  Am I behaving in a Christ-like way?  Just how selfish am I?  Am I forgiving?  Manipulative?

It never occurred to me that difficult times might be a yardstick, in a sense.  It’s like an algebra test in high school, only on a much bigger scale.  This test is something I’ve been studying and practicing for, and here’s my opportunity to get a grade that’s pleasing to God.

This has been very helpful in making a Plan of Action for my current situation.  I know exactly what to do, and if it gets me into hot water, which it might, I also know exactly what to do.  The experience still won’t be pleasant, but is made much more do-able knowing that God is watching, and that this test is of His design.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thank you, Little Christopher

Many of you know we lost our little grandson, Christopher, back in April.  I am amazed at how God can take these circumstances and use them for His good purposes.  Over the last two months, I have watched beloved family members decide that Jesus Christ offers what they need; and we’ve found a church home that both challenges and comforts us. 

God wants us to share our faith, but it’s not always easy to know how to do that.  Today, I had the opportunity to share Christopher’s story, not once, but twice, and tell how God has worked through that little boy’s short life.  What a wonderful vehicle for not only keeping Christopher’s memory alive, but for sharing the hope and the sustenance that can only be found in a relationship with Him.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Where’s the Hope? It’s right here.



Sometimes, when Hope seems to have taken a vacation, it pays to remember three things:

1) God is all-powerful.  There is nothing beyond His domain.  He can command the mountains to crash into the sea; He can command the sun to rise in the west; He can command a tumor to disappear completely; He can solve any financial crisis with a snap of His Divine finger.  He can bring people into your life and out of your life with ease.  There is nothing so powerful that God cannot accomplish it, and accomplish it quickly and incredibly easily.

2)  God knows everything.  He knows everything that has happened, everything that is happening now, and everything that will ever happen.  He knows what you do, He knows how you feel, and He knows what you think.  He knows all of the repercussions and consequences, both good and bad, that comes with every single thing we do.  Equipped with this kind of knowledge, no decision He makes can be a bad one.  Not with a viewpoint encompassing all of Eternity.

3) God loves us more dearly than anything we can imagine.  The most precious and deep of all loves in our human existence cannot compare to the love God feels for us.  Human love is fickle, but not God’s.  God’s love goes deep and strong and forever.   Death can’t stop it, it can only enhance it.  His heart breaks for us in our sorrows, and overflows with joy for us in our worship of Him.

Given these three facts, it’s hard to still feel hopeless.  If things don’t go our way, it’s because a God who knows best, and loves us incredibly dearly, has said, “That’s not the best way.  Trust Me, and hold on to Me.  Someday, you’ll understand.”