Posts Tagged ‘suffering’

A Great Day to be Alive

Monday, April 16th, 2018


When you’re living a life of suffering with no end in sight, it’s hard to feel alive. The suffering sucks the life out of you so that you have to rely on God to get through your daily tasks. Strangely, during the past three years of non-stop suffering, I have accomplished more for God’s kingdom than all the rest of my life combined. Maybe it’s because God’s power is perfected in weakness, and the only way to be filled with His power is to surrender when we have nothing left.

This is one reason why suffering is something to rejoice in the midst of, not for the pain itself, but for the results it brings. Endurance and the power of God are only doled out to those who tenaciously cling to God to the death. Or to the living death, which is worse than death because in heaven at least Christ would wipe away every tear from our eyes and there would be no more suffering.

Job felt that way. He sat in the ashes, wailing in horror and sadness, wondering why God had seemingly abandoned him. Why was he born just to suffer?

“It is one thing to bear a sudden tragedy. It is quite another to suffer its pain for weeks and months and even years afterward.” – John Piper

God is full of endless delights, either as we worship Him through song in the midst of suffering to feel His tangible presence, or in His turning events around suddenly in a single day. With Job, God showed up and not only healed him but gave him back twice as much as he had before. He lived the rest of his life in peace and joy, having experienced God in a way few have.

And God was vindicated. Satan lost. God showed Satan that there are some of us—including me—that love God not for what He can give to us but for who He is. He will make all things right in the end and not a single tear goes unnoticed by God. All of our days are written in a book (Psalm 139:16), and if we suffer well, the book that has our name on it in the library of heaven will forever be a slap in Satan’s face that God was worthy to serve even when circumstances appeared to be dark with no way out.


So when my daughter walked across a parking lot the other day, she exclaimed with arms extended in the sunshine, “Look, Mom! It’s a great day to be alive!” I stopped and looked at her.

“I guess it is!” I laughed. I remembered a cupcake stand I saw at the mall that my daughter had never seen. I knew she would love the cupcake display, so I asked her, “Do you want to get a cupcake?”

“Sure, Mom!” she said as she rolled down the windows in the car, her hair flying in all directions. I rolled down my own window and shouted, “It’s great to be alive. Woohoo! We’re really living it up today!”


After choosing a cupcake and eating it, we drove to the car wash. My daughter wanted to snap selfies during the car wash and told me what a great day she had when we got home.

I guess my point is that you can still feel alive even in a seemingly hopeless situation. With God all things are possible. Even though we might suffer longer than we would prefer, God is bringing about something beautiful out of our tragedy that will be read by generations to come. Don’t lose hope.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

When Will Dawn Break?

Friday, April 3rd, 2015


How long, O Lord?
Don’t hide Yourself in times of trouble
Answer the cry of my soul
For I seek You with all my heart

In silent darkness
Night drags on
Pain lurks in the shadows
Will there be light?

Trials come in waves
Over my pounded soul
Crushing unseen dross
Until I’m stripped of all

Waiting in silence
Reaching to heaven
Hear me when I call
Will it always be night?

When will dawn break?
Then You will transform sorrow
As if by crushing metamorphosis
To soaring new joy


Articles About the Book of James

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

articles-about-the-book-of-jamesI just finished writing the last Bible summary for the Unit Study Treasure Vault. I wrote them all 10 years ago, spending 2-10 hours a day for two years, but I never wrote the summary of James. My children and I decided to memorize the book of James, and then I told God that I wouldn’t write the summary until God had made it real in my life. My sons and I memorized the book back when my daughter was a baby, and I forgot about what I had said to God.

Years later when I was building the Bible section of my membership site, I felt that God wanted me to put in the summaries to give parents a grasp of each book of the Bible before teaching it to their children. They were Charlotte Mason style summaries, where I tried to remember everything I could about the book after having read all the reams of extra material from the Old and New Testament classes.

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in my car waiting for my husband and kids, flipping through the Bible. I went to James and started reading it. Suddenly I remembered what I had said to God, because lo and behold, each section had been made real to me, usually through painful circumstances in my life. Not only that, over the years that I’ve been a blogger, I’ve blogged about many issues mentioned in the book of James. As I read the book, tears splashed down my face, and I knew that I was ready to write the last summary. Here are some articles about the book of James, forged through suffering:

Lament in Scripture

Monday, October 22nd, 2012


“The most precious thing we have to offer is what hurts us the most.” – Michael Card

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17

“There is no true worship without wilderness.” – Michael Card

The book of Lamentations is a funeral dirge (poetic music) written about the fall of Jerusalem. It is included in the Bible as the inspired Word of God because sorrow directed towards God is accepted by God as worship.

In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah is thrown into the bottom of a muddy well, left to starve, sitting among his own refuse. While in this reeking, dark hole in the ground, Jeremiah bursts out,

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

In the middle of horrible muck with no hope, when his eyes were red and raw with crying, he remembered the faithfulness of God because of His divine presence. Maybe God’s tangible presence can only be found in such dire circumstances, which is why the people with the deepest faith are the ones who have suffered the most.

God accepted Job’s sorrow, and He stated that Job had not sinned in his despair directed towards the Lord. The questioning of God, the crying, the screaming—the rage even—was accepted by God. God declared Job to be right in what he said. (Job 42:7-8)

The majority of Psalms are laments which have sorrow in them directed towards God. This is our Psalter, God’s approved worship manual. God drinks it in as a sacrifice on our part, to pursue Him despite His crushing us through the trials He allows in our lives. In that deep sorrow, we press into God, and God shows up because we have nothing left but God. All of the laments in the Psalms (with only one exception) have a “but God” statement at the end. In other words, “Why are you downcast, oh my soul?” is followed by more and more sorrow poured out as an offering to God. At the end, in the last verse or two, “but God” is faithful and will come through for me in the end. This is the formula for this style of Psalm, to give us an example of how emptying ourselves towards God enables Him to show up and fill us in greater measure than we ever dreamed possible.

Every Christian who has gone through deep suffering knows exactly what I’m saying. This understanding brings comfort to the soul like a parched ground receiving life-giving water. Every time in my life that I have thrown myself towards God in the middle of sorrow, over and over again for days or weeks or even months, the end result is the filling of the Spirit, the showing up of God. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) I have tasted the intense presence of God, and whenever I think back to those times, tears stream down my face because I yearn for God’s presence more than life itself. I would do anything for more of God.

A friend of Michael Card was pinned down under some building rubble, crippling him for life. In the middle of the excruciating pain during which he had no pain killer, while he was waiting for help to arrive and to dig him out—he felt the tangible presence of God. Time was inconsequential, he said. It could have been 5 minutes or 5 hours. It didn’t matter. The presence of God was exquisite. When the workers arrived, he felt the tangible presence of God leaving, and he cried out, “Please don’t leave!! You don’t have to heal me. Just… please don’t leave…”