Tag Archives: comfort

Into Every Life…Oh, That’s Good. How Very Nice For You…


Yesterday I wrote about my beautiful niece Hannah, about the grace with which her parents have continued day after day through exhaustion, desperation, and helplessness. But they have also been the recipients of great joy as they have seen prayers answered in the very life they are able to hold and cuddle and treasure every day. (Into Every Life…The Good)

I can only assume in reading that there were some of you that felt the sharp pain of longing and the prick of reminder that your prayers were not answered. While Hannah’s parents have witnessed a miracle, you were the recipient of silence. And you find it an impossibility to find any type of the”good” that I was suggesting in that.

It doesn’t matter what you have prayed for, a child, an illness, a hurt, if God has remained silent, you can easily find yourself ambivalent, not only towards someone else’s happy ending but God himself. For some, ambivalence would be an improvement over how they feel about a God who doesn’t answer.

For those who don’t know let me share with you the lens through which I share life with you and more specifically yesterday’s story of good. We buried our infant son who never even took a first breath. Stillborn at 32 weeks, he could have had a shot at this life if only we would have know how wrong things really were. If only God would have intervened. We labored in prayer over that pregnancy and our son but God didn’t answer our prayer. I understand the raw pain of God’s seeming silence. I understand if you are not ready to see or even begin to look for the good in anything. But can I ask you one question? Isn’t it lonely in the pit you have dug for yourself?

I know the pit. I came dangerously close to camping out there in anger and bitterness 13 years ago. It was through God’s hand, holding out hope and rest and peace that I baby-stepped out. Brooding is exhausting, miserable work. I tried to ignore the disappointment. I tried to hide from the anger. I pretended, I masked, I denied but it wasn’t until I crashed headlong into it that I finally began to deal with my pit. Only then could I begin to heal, and begin to see the light that “good” can provide. But I had to make the choice, do I want to be bitter or do I want to be better. Do I want this mess to take me under or can it somehow be redeemed? I couldn’t do on my own though. I couldn’t make it better, I couldn’t make it “good” and the harder I tried the deeper my pit became.

It took me five years to get there, to have my eyes opened to see what I had become.  On this particular Monday I had come face-to-face with myself and the pain that I hadn’t let myself feel in a long time. The more I do, the less I feel; and the less I feel, the less I hurt. I thought I was doing just fine, that I had been handling myself in a healthy manner.  I didn’t realize that I had put up a major wall within myself, not allowing the emotion to spill over into the matter-of-fact way that I had dealt with our son’s death. I was afraid to be vulnerable, especially in the eyes of others, because in that I saw a weakness in myself. Repeatedly people had commented on my strength, but in reality, I tucked the pain and hurt away and never fully dealt with them.

Instead of fully allowing myself to feel the brunt of my pain, I had created a numbness and called it strength. I was afraid that if I felt the pain that I would also feel the anger, and I was afraid if I started down that road, I might not be able to come back. In my strength, I was robbing God of the ability to save me from myself and robbing myself of the knowledge and gift of true strength and dependence on God. God was longing to provide not the fake, plastered-smile, I-have-it-all-together façade that I was trying to convincingly pull off, but the glorious, holy power that brings with it pure strength.

Anger and bitterness are far more common than most of us would like to admit. Sometimes it just feels good to be angry, especially when we don’t have the answers or they aren’t the answers we wanted. It feels good to point fingers and place blame in order to try and make sense of things. We end up destroying our own soul when it becomes filled with anger, resentment, and hate; the one who has wronged us moves on, while we crumble under the weight of our resentment. It is hard to forgive sometimes, yet I have found it is even harder to carry the soul-crushing weight of anger and resentment.

Ephesians 4:26–27 says, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”  We must choose to be honest about our anger and admit that we feel that we’ve been let down, that life isn’t fair, that we have been forgotten, passed over, and left for dead by those whom we loved the most. When we can take the first step in admitting these things, then we can begin to heal.

The question I asked you at the beginning of this series was this: how are you? I know how I used to answer it. Are you holding on tightly to your bitterness, to your anger, letting your hatred numb the pain and sorrow and disappointment of what you think should have been? Have you driven a wedge between yourself and others who have reached out their hands to help because your pride wouldn’t allow you to take it, wouldn’t allow for vulnerability and weakness? Have you written God off because He didn’t come to your rescue when you thought He should have?

Admitting that we are carrying this anger doesn’t mean that He’s guilty; God cannot commit sin. But when we admit and acknowledge our anger at God, we release our expectations of what we think God should have done to prevent our hurt or failure in the first place. When we acknowledge our anger at others and seek forgiveness for this anger, God creates in us a clean heart and renews our spirit, allowing us to begin living again.

This is not easy.  This is a choice.  Bitter or better?  Are you ready to see healing and redemption begin?  It most likely will not happen quickly but one foot in front of the other if we keep moving we will begin that baby-stepping journey out of our own personal pit. Reach out for the hope and healing that God is offering…begin your journey back to your ability to see the good.  My prayer for you even as I write this is that you don’t give up.


Still Moments – God as Comforter


I wanted to dig into the Word this morning and look at one of my favorite passages about comfort. God is the author, the well-spring, of comfort. There at His foot have I found comfort that no one else can offer because His comfort comes infused with rest, and hope. God’s comfort is bigger than a few hollow words uttered by someone who, although trying, has no idea what to say. And then, because I have “been there” and received comfort from the hand of Jesus, I can comfort others with His comfort from the heart of a fellow weary traveler.

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 NLT)

Comfort is a blessing. That comfort which we receive and the comfort we in turn provide.

Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you…” (Psalms 50:15 NLT)

God will rescue you…with comfort for a broken heart, peace for a tormented soul, and hope for a better tomorrow.

Charles Swindoll said this, “When you accept the fact that sometimes seasons are dry and times are hard and that God is in control of both, you will discover a sense of divine refuge, because the hope then is in God and not in yourself.”

Looking For The Escape Hatch


Ok…this concept from Matt Chandler blew my mind. The first time I read it I thought “nice quote.” Then, after reading it through a couple of times and allowing it to penetrate through the cliche part of my brain to something deeper I began to really get on board with what Matt Chandler is saying. Let’s call this the head to heart transition.  Take a few moments and reread these words today.  Allow their meaning to seep into your soul.

“Comfort is the god of our generation, so suffering is seen as a thing to be solved, and not a providence from God.”  Matt Chandler

When we are hurting, we want someone to sit down next to us, take our hand, and tell us it’s going to be okay, even if he or she doesn’t really believe it. We want to pretend, at least for a little while, that everything is all right. That in that very moment in time, everything is fine, and all that has happened or is yet to happen will just go away—the hurt, the shame, the fear, the consequences. In the absence of being able to turn the clock back, in the absence of being able to change the course our life has taken, we want comfort. We want to be loved and assured. And many times, the last thing we want to hear is that our pain has a purpose. We want to wallow in our pain; we want to have a pity party for ourselves. We want to scream at God that He has made a mistake and demand that He fix it. God doesn’t make mistakes, and search as we may for an escape route, the nearest exit as it were, from our current situation, it is in these situations that we really begin to understand what God is really like. I have been there, desperately searching for the emergency exit, but though we may not want to accept it, what we are going through has a purpose—God’s Word tells us exactly that. If you are there today, I pray as I write this that God’s words will penetrate your heart and you will be able to see God through the haze of your pain…I have come to realize that sometimes bad things are going to happen. Sometimes terrible, unthinkable, unimaginable things are going to happen, but it is God’s will. He has not turned His back on me, and I can use these things to make me bitter or I can use them to make me better. I love what Charles Spurgeon says; maybe you too can identify with his words. “I bear my willing witness that I owe more to the fire, and the hammer, and the file, than to anything else in my Lord’s workshop. I sometimes question whether I have ever learned anything except through the rod. When my schoolroom is darkened, I see most.” (An excert from my book, Run and Be Still. )

When we are suffering what is the first thing we look for?  Relief, an escape, a way to stop or avoid the pain.  That is our human nature.  We need to take a fresh look at Jesus in times of suffering, to understand better the promises He makes us when we find ourselves in the valley.  Let me encourage you that in our suffering, God wants to be our comfort.  Unfortunately, the guarantee for a pain free life comes only as a fairytale so on the bad days, know that God has not left you.  He has not forsaken you.  I encourage you to look again at Jesus with the words from Laura Story’s song, Blessings.

What if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the achings of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise

We interrupt this Christmas celebration to bring you Comfort…

20131212-115012.jpg“They will call him Emmanuel, which means ‘God is with us.'” (Matthew 1:23)

What is the one thing that most of us want when everything seems to be falling apart around us?  I don’t think I would be alone in saying I am looking for a friend.  I am looking for someone who loves me to commiserate with or a shoulder to cry on.  I am desperate for someone to tell me that everything is going to be ok, even if they don’t believe it or see how that ever could be.  We are looking for comfort in companionship.

Of all of the names that Jesus has in the Bible, one of my very favorite is Emmanuel.  The reason? God is with me.  No matter what I face today or tomorrow.  God is by my side through every bit of it.

This is what makes the Christmas story so beautiful.  ”And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory. the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1 :14)  God sent Jesus to Earth to humble himself.  The world has never witnessed a more genuine act of self-humbling. So completely did our Lord humble Himself that He surrendered His will to the will of His Father in heaven. His desire was to do the will of the Father, therefore He could testify, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). It was humiliation for the eternal Son of God to become flesh in a stable, and then to dwell in a humble home in subjection to a human parent. God was ”sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin” (Romans 8:30). Only eternity will reveal the depth of meaning for Him and for us found in those words, ” He humbled Himself.”

Isaiah 43:2 says “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”  Notice in this verse it says when you face trouble, not if.

We are going to have bad days, weeks, years even.  Christmastime is no exception.  In fact, emotions are magnified during this season making our highs higher and our lows lower.  The question is when you find yourself hurting, where do you turn?

We all face trials, hurts, suffering and Jesus understands our journey through these deep waters.  During His days here on Earth, Jesus himself was tired, lonely, hurt, hated, beaten, rejected, persecuted, misunderstood and mistreated, mocked and laughed at, betrayed, temped, and condemned.  He has felt forsaken, lost loved ones, and experienced pain.  He understands how it feels to be separated from God.  Imagine Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.  It is late at night, Jesus is walking His own dark path.  He knows the time is coming for his death and the fate that awaits Him.  Jesus says His “soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38) He is distraught, anguished, tormented.

Does your soul feel as if it is crushed to the point of death?  Is your mess so big you don’t even know where to begin digging in order to clean it up?  Give it to Jesus, he has been where you stand today and can relate to what you are going through. Look again at Isaiah 43:2 and the promise that God makes you, “…I will be with you.”  What does Matthew 1:23 say Jesus’ name is? Emmanuel.  He wants to give you comfort and hope and walk with you through whatever pain you are experiencing. He wants to be there for you!

It is why He sent His son.

This is what we celebrate.

The gift of “God with us.”

Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel.

Take some time today and listen to “How Many Kings” by Downhere and allow it to really penetrate your heart.  May you find the true source of comfort and friendship we are all so desperately seeking.

Still Moments – Mountain of God

20130807-110438.jpg Though I walk through…
Through the valley deep, through the valley dark, through the valley of the shadow of death.
I will fear no evil for I am not alone. God’s glory will be revealed in me and through me. I will stand upon the mountain.

Do you know the valley? Today, be still and makes the words of 1Peter 1:6-7 your prayer.

Lord, change my heart. Help me to see the joy that lies ahead on your mountaintop. Even today, though I may have to endure many trials, help my heart to grasp the knowledge that these trials will show that my faith is genuine. Your word says my faith is being tested and purified and strengthened, so that when it remains steadfast through these trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor. My head may know that Lord, but today, help me to be still so that my heart knows that as well. Help me to raise my eyes from the valley to mountaintop, to the place where you reign. Strengthen my resolve to put one foot in front of the other until I emerge from my valley.