Month: December 2014

Never Alone

Blog_Christmas_SadHow can we celebrate a season built around relationships and family when we feel alone?  We could be surrounded by people, but still feel like a barren tree in the middle of an empty forest.  The snow is falling all around, and the tree is frozen from the deepest root to the highest branch.  But no one seems to notice.

Just as that tree lost all its leaves in the midst of autumn, we might feel we’ve lost everything and won’t make it through the winter season of bitter coldness and death.  The Bible speaks of a woman who had lost everything in life.  Her name was Anna.  She was widowed only seven years into her marriage, and there is no mention of her having had children.  She stayed in the temple, fasting and praying.  And waiting.

Maybe she watched the people who came to the temple—seeing families with children, and wondering why she suffered such loss in her own life.  In her day, society looked down upon widows and often presumed that some sin led to their desolate condition.  But God saw Anna’s heart, and chose her to be among the first to embrace the child who would one day die to bring salvation to the world.

What was she thinking when she saw the baby?  The Bible doesn’t say except that she “gave thanks to God and spoke of the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”  To redeem is to take something that is bad and turn it into something that is good.  It’s when God takes the ashes of our lives and turns them into something beautiful; when God uses the death of autumn and the silence of winter to bring about the life of spring.   Anna knew that God was going to take her difficult circumstances and turn them into something good.  And He did.

Just like He did for all those who had gone before her—those who were part of the lineage of the Savior.  Among them were widows who, like herself, had lost everything: Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba.  Each story in the history of our Savior involves loss, but also reveals how God is able to take the trials of our lives and turn them into testimonies. And each story reminds us that even when we’ve lost everything, we’re never alone.

In the midst of war and battle, drought and famine, slavery and loss, our Savior came.  Our Savior is also called “Immanuel.”  It means “God is with us.”  And He is.

(Originally posted by Jen on the Tears of Joy Blog)

When Your Pain Becomes Fuel for your Fire

Blog_FireHave you ever been through something so painful it was hard to believe anything good could come of it? It felt like the fury of hell was unleashed against you—the forces of evil at war with your soul. Everywhere you turned, you faced a weapon built to destroy your faith.

God’s Word speaks of a time when His people will take the weapons once used against them and use them for fuel: “Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel” (Ezekiel 39:9-10).

There is no trial so great that God can’t turn it around and use it for good. When seasons turn, you will see the greater purpose for all that you’ve lost. God will enable you, by His grace, to use every weapon once used against you as fuel for your fire.

I’ve heard stories of those who’ve gone through unimaginably dark circumstances, yet their trials birthed in them a passion for something beyond themselves. They chose to take their impossibly difficult circumstance and use it to bring hope and healing. In the midst of their ashes, they found strength and beauty.

Though she had endured the loss of hearing and sight, Helen Keller was able to say, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” Though she could not see, she had vision for how her lifelong struggle would be used to bring hope and change to her generation and beyond.

My prayer is that you will find the purpose for your pain. May the Lord open your eyes to see the good that can come from your trial, and enable you to bring hope and healing from the ashes of your suffering. For every weapon forged to destroy your faith, may your faith increase—and may those weapons become fuel that sustains you and brings light to others walking through the dark seasons of life.

(Originally posted by Jen on “Tears of Joy” Blog)