Mere Suffering

Satan would have us view our suffering as “merely suffering.” Stifling. Suffocating. Debilitating. But, what if there is more to our suffering than meets the eye? Can God transform our suffering into something meaningful? Something redemptive?

I believe He can. Read on…

From Eric Metaxas’s book, “Miracles”:

“If our suffering has a purpose, it is infinitely easier to bear than if our suffering has no purpose and no larger meaning.

“Viktor Frankl, who endured the death camps of the Third Reich, wrote about this is in famous book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning.’ He said, ‘In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds meaning.’ Frankl observed this in his experiences in Nazi Camps. He wrote, ‘those who have a *why* to live can bear with almost any *how*.’

“Biblical theology is crystal clear on this because there are a number of Scripture verses that address it directly. Perhaps the most direct one is Romans 8:28. It reads, ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’

“This is a very dramatic statement, and if you believe it, everything changes.”

Soli Deo Gloria, Nick

Finding God in the Storm (Guest Post)

The following is a brilliant post by my friends, Jim & Michelle Hardwicke.  Enjoy…

storm cloud 1

What is a storm? It is a frightening tumultuous swirl of circumstances. It’s a situation where everything we hold dear is threatened. It’s something that dramatically and unexpectedly interrupts our calm routine. And a storm is a situation that demands that we immediately seek shelter and safety. You may be experiencing such a storm in your life or in your family at this very moment. But that storm is the very place where God wants to meet you in a new way.

That’s how God revealed Himself to Job–“then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1). Tim Keller says, “God appears to Job in a storm–literally, a ‘storm wind.’ Ancient people knew nothing more terrifying or destructive than a hurricane-force windstorm. Job’s children had been destroyed by one (Job 1:9). Job was afraid that, if God actually did appear to him, ‘he would crush me with a storm’ (Job 9:17), and indeed, when God shows up, he comes in the most fierce, overwhelming, majestic form possible–as the Storm King.”

What was the result in Job’s life? God revealed things to Job that he did not previously understand (Job 42:3). More importantly, God revealed Himself personally to Job in a whole new way–“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5). As a result, Job experienced a whole new level of repentance and humility (42:6). His character was deepened and changed, so much so that he stopped reacting in anger against his friends and their counsel. Instead, in spite of his own incredible suffering, he prayed not for himself, but for his friends (Job 42:10). After this work of revival in his life, God was pleased to again bless Job, this time twice as much as before (Job 42:10-17).

In the midst of a storm is where God often reveals Himself to us to bring spiritual deepening and revival. That’s how God manifested Himself and rescued David (Psalm 18:6-19; Psalm 29:1-11). That’s how He revealed Himself to Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:4-28). God revealed Himself and brought revival and renewed purpose to Jonah through a storm (Jonah 1:1-2:10). Nahum said of the Lord, “in whirlwind and storm is His way” (Nahum 1:3). It was through storms that Jesus repeatedly revealed Himself in new ways to His disciples (Matthew 8:23-27; 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21). And it was through a storm that God revealed Himself in a new way to Paul and his companions (Acts 27:14-28:10).

Why a storm? It gets our attention. And it motivates us to seek God desperately. So will you seek God earnestly in the storm you find yourself in now? Do so, and you can expect to meet Him in a whole new way.

We love you all,
Jim and Michelle

In the Absolute Worst of Circumstances…He Is There

The title of this blog is clear throughout Scripture. From Moses to Joshua to Gideon to Esther to David, and on and on the list goes…

Allow me to cite just one example: Paul.

The man who would end up authoring most of our New Testament.

By the time we reach Acts 27, Paul has been beaten, imprisoned, persecuted, hated, his face plastered on a Jewish “Wanted Poster” for the remainder of his earthly life.

But, throughout his journey with Christ, Paul learns over and over again: he’s not alone. “I will never leave you nor abandon you,” God says.

Finally, in Acts 28, Paul, en route to Rome to stand before Caesar, almost dies due to to, first, drowning due to a shipwreck; second, starvation; and, third, being bitten by a poisonous snake. You would think God would “let up” on Paul at some point.

But, God, in His grace chooses to unleash His power within the weak, the hurting, the confused, the spent – “in our weakness, we are strong,” Paul would later write.

In Acts 28, amidst Paul’s seemingly never-ending pain, God doesn’t merely “show up” – He’s been there all along. And, through Paul, He heals a chief’s family member as well as many other inhabitants of the island on which Paul has been shipwrecked.

Do you feel as though you’re drowning, starving for air, confused, lost, hurting deeply, angry, lonely, etc? Don’t be afraid; Jesus is whispering to you, “I’ve got this. Trust Me.”

That’s the way He worked through Paul. It’s the way He still works through His children today.

Be encouraged, my friends.

nw