By Paul Tripp
Have you ever been in the middle of a difficult season and someone says to you, "Hang in there!" Maybe you've said it to a friend just recently yourself.
I think we mean well with phrases like this, and our aim is to encourage our friends or loved ones, but let's be honest: "hang in there" doesn't actually do much to lift our spirits or strengthen our resolve.
If I can be even more honest, sometimes I think we say "hang in there" because we're not prepared to minister to people who share their suffering with us. So what should we say the next time someone opens up to us?
There are many things we can say, and we need to equip ourselves to comfort those in trouble (see 2 Corinthians 1:4). But, for the sake of today's devotional, I want to examine a phrase that has given me much comfort: "I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope." (Psalm 130:5)
To continue reading click here.
Joni Eareckson Tada has given us many books on the subject of God’s tender care for His children in times of suffering. Joni strikes the chord of authenticity with us so well because suffering is the world she lives in 24/7, literally. My personal favorite is When God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty, co-authored with Steve Estes, a pastor in Pennsylvania. The following list of God’s purposes in our suffering is from one of the appendices in that book.
Take some time to meditate on the wisdom of God as He works out His perfect will through our suffering. No wonder James, the brother of our Lord, commanded us to “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2)!
To continue reading this article, please click here.
Kelly Needham: Each season of dying has felt just like that—dying. The choking out of something I have loved, desired, and clung to for hope, peace, and safety. The choking out of things in me, writhing, gasping for breath and praying, “Does it have to be this way? Can’t I follow You and also keep this with me? Does it really need to die?”
To keep reading, click here.
He approached at the close of the conference, after the crowds had dispersed and headed home.
Only a handful of us remained in the auditorium, tearing down booths and tables and book displays.
Moments before, he’d heard me share a sliver of my complicated story. Cancer three times over. An inability to eat and speak normally. The months of treatment that took me to the brink of death. The years of physical trauma that assaulted body and mind with a suffering I didn’t know any human could endure.
“I know you don’t really know me, but…” He seemed both unsure and determined. “Do you mind if I pray for you?”
It wasn’t a hollow offering, not a passing “I’ll pray for you” muttered in the awkwardness of not knowing what to say.
His question—his offer—was sincere. He wanted to pray for me. He needed to. And so I smiled and received the gift.
But as he poured out his heart, as He pleaded with God to bring complete healing to my frail and broken body, as he begged the Almighty to restore the months and years I’d lost, I felt the tiniest stirring of rebellion deep within.
To continue reading...click here.
These articles have been posted to challenge, inform, encourage,