Dec 12

Let’s Stop Trying to Make All Our Pain Go Away

 

Guest blog by Brian Jones

Our goal as disciples of Jesus shouldn’t be to eliminate pain.

Our goal should be to craft the kind of life that is invincible to pain.

Those who learn how to be invincible to pain–“incapable of being conquered, overcome or subdued”–are an unstoppable force.

This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).

His challenge wasn’t to seek martyrdom – though that could certainly be part of the faith journey for a few – it was about being willing to endure pain as a disciple for his mission.

For disciples, being invincible to pain means they train themselves to view…

  • cancer as an opportunity
  • depression as a chance to view the world differently
  • work problems as openings to practice virtue
  • financial struggles as occasions to reassess what’s really important
  • relationship problems as a chance to learn something new

    Disciples allow nothing they face to deter them.

Instead of spending their days doing everything in their power to avoid all discomfort, they train themselves to no longer need comfort to function.

Think for a moment about how much of our lives is spent avoiding pain.

How much money have we spent on medications to drown out suffering?

How many vacations have we taken to distract us from our everyday problems?

Going to therapy to quickly stop a heartache instead of partnering with a therapist to teach us to sit with the pain a while and learn from it?

To be honest, I’ve wasted so much of my life trying to avoid pain that I have essentially earned a doctorate in pain avoidance. But that’s changing.

In my latest book Finding Favor: God’s Blessings Beyond Health, Wealth, and Happiness, I share that…“Between the ages of eighteen and forty-two, I could count on one hand the number of times I went to the doctor. But when I turned forty-three, for no apparent reason, I developed a severe neurological condition that triggered nonstop debilitating pain in the back-left base of my head. I went to three different specialists, and they were all baffled. Unable to find a cause, they put me on antiseizure medication.

Over the next five years, I underwent three surgeries, five MRIs, three CAT scans, and more ultrasounds and EKGs than I can remember. I had nine different rounds of medication administered via epidural injections in my back and neck. I lost most of the hearing in my left ear. I gained thirty pounds. I became depressed. I suffered extreme panic attacks. I went on an antidepressant. The pain became so severe that I could only sleep in forty-five-minute stretches before being jolted out of bed in pain.

My life verse throughout all of this was Job 13:15: “Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him.”

The turning point for me came when I realized that the Bible teaches that pain can be a blessing.

Pain is to be embraced.

Lessons are to be teased out of these experiences. They come to us to instruct in the way of Jesus.

Suffering makes disciples better, not worse.

One morning I woke up and simply said, “I am completely healed” and began thanking Jesus for what I was going through. Within one year, many of my symptoms disappeared. Those that didn’t have stayed on as my personal trainer in being invincible to pain. What I was truly healed of was my need for comfort above my need for Jesus.

Think about it: if pain can’t stop you, what does the enemy have left to throw at you?

You’re unstoppable.

NEXT WEEK:  PART II: “How to Train Yourself to be Invincible to Pain”

 

Brian is the founding Pastor of Christ’s Church of the Valley in Royersford, PA, a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, and the author of four books. He’s also my pastor and most important of all, a huge Buckeye fan! Connect with him at  https://brianjones.com

 

Dec 05

Why We All Feel Homesick Sometimes

Everybody feels homesick once in a while. Even our older daughter, a very independent, self-sufficient young woman, admitted she was homesick when she first went away to college

“It was in the fall of my freshman year,” Danielle recalls. “I remember I was homesick for a couple of hours…but it went away.” (I told you she was independent!)

I think many of us can feel a little–or a lot–homesick around the holidays. I know my Indiana daughter and her four kids are homesick for a Pennsylvania Christmas with all the rest of our family, but it won’t happen until Dec. 30.

And even though I have two wonderful daughters and three fabulous grandkids nearby this season, I’m homesick for a childhood California Christmas with my “little” brother and our parents. What I wouldn’t give for another holiday to celebrate with them.

Perhaps you are homesick for a loved one this year too. Or maybe you’re having a hard time facing the holidays because of health issues in your life or your family’s.  Or financial struggles or relationship issues or any number of life trials.  It doesn’t seem “fair” to be struggling at Christmas.

We have dear friends whose 30-something daughter was recently diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. She’ll be getting radiation and chemo as her family prepares to celebrate her baby’s first Christmas. So not fair.

Another dear friend is trying to enjoy holiday festivities for the first time in 47 years without his beautiful wife by his side. So not the way he had imagined his retirement years to be.

Even if you haven’t been grumbling about struggles, you probably have heard plenty of others doing so. Did you know that every complaint is a symptom of homesickness?

Every time we growl that circumstances aren’t fair or we’re disappointed in an outcome or we bemoan how we’ve been treated, we’re acknowledging that we’re homesick.

In fact, we are all homesick for our real home…Heaven.Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that God “has planted eternity in the human heart.” We all have an innate longing to live forever in a place where everything is fair, there are no disappointments and we never are mistreated. But we need to embrace the fact that is not going to happen here on earth.  In fact the earth itself, like us, is “homesick” for the way it used to be.

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 8: “But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.”

All this decay and death we–and the earth– are experiencing is not the way it’s “supposed” to be. It doesn’t feel right because it’s not. God’s perfect plan is still to come.

“We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us.” (Romans 8:23b)

Go ahead and put a “new, healthy body” on your Christmas list, but realize no matter how many remissions and cures we get here and now, one day we will leave these earthen vessels behind and get the new, immortal bodies our Heavenly Father has promised all Christ-followers.

One of the people I look forward to meeting in Heaven is someone I never knew on earth: my paternal great-grandmother May Andrews Peirce. She was a prolific poet and I’d like to think my writing ability came down through her genes. In 1928 when she was nearly 60, she wrote a poem she called “HOME.”

In childhood’s days, our thoughts of Heaven
Are pearly gates, and streets of gold.
But in the gathering years,
When time, within its fading leaf
With eyes, perchance be-dimmed with tears,
And hearts oft’ overwhelmed with grief,
We look beyond the pearly gates,
Beyond the clouds of sin’s dark night,
And see a place where loved ones wait,
A place all beautiful and bright.
And over all, we’ll see the face of Him
Who’ll bring us to our own—
Not to some far-off, distant place.
For Heaven is, after all, just HOME.

To enjoy Chris Tomlin’s “Home” music video, open in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twL3v5r8s6o

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 21

Some Help So You Can Be Thankful in All Circumstances

It’s Thanksgiving week and most of us are pretty busy getting ready to eat lots of food…I mean, say lots of thanks. So instead of me pecking away with only one hand (yep, broken wrist still healing) to write words you don’t have time to read, I’m posting a couple songs of thankfulness. You can listen to them while you roll out pie crusts or mash sweet potatoes or double-check your turkey cooking instructions to prevent salmonella!

Or crank up the volume, have a seat and take a break from your holiday preparations, (especially if you’re not really feeling well).

However or whenever…just please take few moments to be blessed by these songs of gratefulness. I’ve included the lyrics so you can sing along if you like 🙂

“Always be joyful.
Never stop praying.
Be thankful in all circumstances for this is God’s will
for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
–1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17

No matter what we’re dealing with this Thanksgiving, we have a God who loves us and proved it once and for all when He sent His Son to save us from our sins and defeat our greatest enemy, Death. Let’s give thanks to Him in all our circumstances.

Nov 14

10 THINGS YOU CAN’T DO WITH ONE HAND

  1. Put waist-length hair in a ponytail or up into a shower cap
  2. Tie your sneakers
  3. Signal touchdown
  4. Put the little backs on your pierced earrings
  5. Peel potatoes…or cucumbers…or carrots..or anything else
  6. Change a wiggling toddler’s diaper
  7. Hold your playing cards while playing one of them
  8. Give a bear hug
  9. Clap
  10. Type very long blogs

It’s been a little more than three weeks since I fell down a couple of steps and broke my wrist in two places, necessitating surgery. Even though it’s not my dominant hand, there are so many things I cannot do at all and so many more that require tons of extra time to accomplish with only five digits. And not being able to carry out tasks in the normally fastest way possible really drives me crazy.

I’m the kind of person who finds the shortest route to my destination and always uses it (although surprisingly I don’t exceed the speed limit.) All of my life I’ve tried to be fast, rapid, swift, speedy, expeditious and any other synonym you find for  the word “quick.” Second place has always seemed like the first loser to me.

So what am I learning/relearning during these weeks (maybe months?) of recovery and forced delays? That hurrying through my to-do list may not be God’s best plan for me, and I need to take more time to savor my Savior.

How about you? Has life forced you or your loved one to slow down? Whatever is weighing you down–a health crisis, natural aging, financial worries, family strife, or unfair circumstances–believe and ask God to use this “interruption” for His good. And if you’re still going full-speed ahead, I recommend you voluntarily ease back and give God time to transform you into all you were meant to be.

In college I had the following poem on my apartment wall and I needed to read it again today. Perhaps it can be your prayer, too. ( And please don’t miss the music video at the end, “Slow Down” by Chuck Girard. It’s the real message I wanted to share today–I picked it before I had even written a word. )

SLOW ME DOWN, LORD by Wilferd A. Peterson
Slow me down, Lord. 
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, admidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music of the sighing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know
The magical restoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations of slowing down to look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend or to make a new one;
To pat a stray dog,
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life’s enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my great destiny.

Amen.

(To view the music video, open in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3FzAk5dgUc

 

Nov 07

Kudos to Caregivers!


In honor of November being National Family Caregivers Month, I’d like to offer some special encouragement to all the weary folks who faithfully attend to the needs of loved ones.

You’re physically tired. Probably emotionally exhausted. Maybe even running on spiritual fumes. Been there…done that. Way too many times. I’ve cared for relatives with dementia, others with cancer, COPD, and failing kidneys.

I spent several months last winter caring for my husband through his bilateral knee replacements, surgical hematoma evacuation and physical therapy. My caregiving turn should have been done for a while, right? Nope. Had to do it all over again this summer when one knee got infected, the prosthesis had to be removed and eventually replaced (after six weeks of immobilization and daily antibiotics administered via PICC line by guess who?) And it certainly didn’t help my caregiving stamina when less than 48 hours before my husband’s second surgery, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. (I was feeling as if there was a bull’s eye on my back literally and figuratively!)

Did I mention that in the middle of caring for my husband, our 12-year-old cat, Ty, started losing weight and acting strange? I tried coaxing him to eat with all sorts of special treats and offered my best TLC for weeks, but it was cancer and we had to put him to sleep.

Still, I am a fortunate caregiver because all the sick folks I’ve cared for have been appreciative of my efforts and told me so.  (Even the cat purred right up until the end. 🙂 ) Maybe you’ve been thanked for your efforts, but some of you are caring for people who either can’t or won’t express gratitude for your sacrifices..and that makes it all the more difficult.

I’d like to share with you Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-40 because I believe they contain wonderful encouragement for caregivers.

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?  Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”

Imagine that. Jesus says that He sees all the “little” things we do for others and promises we will be rewarded for those good deeds. And even more amazing, He tells us that every time we perform one of these actions, we really are doing it for Him.

When you took time off work to go to the doctor with your loved one, you did it for Jesus.

When you spent all that time fixing food you hoped would nourish them, you did it for Jesus.

When you got up in the middle of the night to get their pain medicine, you did it for Jesus.

When you rubbed a back, cooled a brow, cleaned up a mess or sat through yet-another tedious test, you did it for Jesus.

Whether or not you got any thanks from your loved one here and now, Jesus saw your kindness and He will bless you for it. After all, you did it for Him.

To enjoy Scott Wesley Brown’s “The Language of Jesus is Love,” open in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYucfd-5QUQ

 

Oct 31

How to Find Joy in Trials

 

May 8, 1977.

Mother’s Day.

The day before I had been excitedly opening” mother-to-be” cards and looking longingly at the maternity clothes I would soon need to wear.

Now I was lying in  a hospital bed with an empty womb.

Really, Lord? A miscarriage on Mother’s Day? This would be awful on any day, but having it happen today seems especially cruel.  Why, Lord?

Nurses came in and out of my room doling out attempts at consolation.

“You’re young–you’ll have other children!” appeared to be the favorite sentiment.

They all seemed to have missed the point that I already loved this baby, whom I would only hold in my heart and never in my arms.

I desperately wanted some encouragement so I did something I never did before. I just randomly opened up my Bible and began reading the first verse my eyes gazed upon.

James1:2: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,”

I thought about opening to another page, but instead kept reading: “knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Really, Lord? You want me to find joy in the midst of this trial? I had a lot more joy before this trial came along! This hurts so much. This doesn’t sound all that comforting.

I don’t really get it, but Ok,  I will believe your Word. I will consider this trial a joy–not because of what has happened. But because of what will happen–how You will grow my faith through it.

I was sobbing as I uttered those painful words of surrender, just as I have every time since  in the forty-plus years whenever my faith has been tested.

Bestselling author Chris Tiegreen says that testing is the “only way for our faith to get from its raw state to refined beauty.”

“Like a precious metal in a crucible, the impurities must be burned with fire,” Tiegreen explains. “It’s a painful process…(but) once circumstances, trials, the enemy’s lies, and our own doubts are through assaulting it. whatever remains is precious and pure.”

No pain, no gain isn’t true of everything in life, but it does apply to our faith.  That’s why we need to endure…so the pain of refining can produce the gain of greater faith.

Joy is never my immediate reaction when a new trial comes along–like breaking my wrist and only being able to type with two fingers instead of my usual four! However, I have learned to trust God’s refining process. As Tiegreen says, “(trials) fit us for the Kingdom. They purify our faith and make it powerfully effective.”

And in that I can find joy.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

To listen to the music video “Refiner’s Fire” open in your browser or click on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSIazjrA0Ls

 

 

 

 

Oct 26

How Not to Be Disappointed with God

 

So I said to my nearly recovered husband, “I’ve cared for you the last year-and-a-half with your four knee surgeries and I think it’s my turn for a little TLC!” But my knees didn’t need replacing, so Monday night I decided to just miss a step and fall on my wrist, badly breaking the radius and chipping the ulna. Surgery was yesterday  and I will have a soft cast for three weeks, followed by physical therapy.

If you think this is rather unfair after all we’ve just been through, I heartily agree. Perhaps life has been unfair to you or your loved one recently or perhaps for a very long time. Maybe if you’re really honest you’ll admit you even feel disappointed by God.

In Philip Yancey’s book “Disappointment with God,” he writes about a man named Douglas whom he interviewed because he thought Douglas might feel a great disappointment with God. Life, as Yancey describes it, had been very unfair to Douglas. While his wife was battling advanced breast cancer, Douglas was in a car accident with a drunk driver and suffered a terrible head injury that left him permanently disabled, often in pain and unable to work full-time.

But when Yancey asked this victim of unfairness to describe his disappointment with God, Douglas said he didn’t feel any and instead told Yancey the following:

I have learned to see beyond the physical reality in this world to the spiritual reality. We tend to think, ‘Life should be fair because God is fair,’ But God is not life. And if I confuse God with the physical reality of life—by expecting constant good health, for example—then I set myself up for crashing disappointment.

“If we develop a relationship with God apart from our life circumstances, “ said Douglas, “then we may be able to hang in there when the physical reality breaks down. We can learn to trust God in spite of the unfairness of life.”

Life often is unfair, my friends, but God always is faithful.

But you, O LORD, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

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

(Now, honey, please pass the remote and bring me a cup of tea!  )

P.S. If you don’t see a new blog every week from me, now you know why.  I normally am a four-finger hunt-and-peck typist and now I’m down to two!

To hear Shannon Wexelberg’s “Faithful God,” open in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQqsK_R9iF8

 

Oct 17

But God Had Other Plans…

Once upon a time there was a newspaper reporter who simply loved reporting news. She didn’t want to make up stories or even write non-fiction books. She just wanted to stick to the facts and report the news–hopefully someday for the New York Times. But God had other plans.

When she was 36, the doctors told her that she had cancer and the odds she would die were greater than the chance she would survive. But God had other plans.

This newspaper reporter recovered from her surgery and chemotherapy and went back to reporting the news. She was happy doing that. But again, God had other plans.

Her oncologist hired her to offer emotional and spiritual support to his cancer patients and their caregivers. She wasn’t sure exactly how to do that, but she faithfully wrote down many of the conversations she had with these hurting people. She thought it was silly that she couldn’t stop being a reporter and taking these “unnecessary” notes. But God still had other plans. 

A few years later an author-friend told the reporter-turned-advocate that all these notes would make a great book. She protested that she could never write a book. But God had other plans.

So she penned her first manuscript, insisting that every single detail be accurate–just like her news stories. She reported on amazing ways she had seen God touch people’s lives–emotionally, spiritually and physically. And she told the truth that sometimes God takes the cancer out of us and sometimes He takes us out of the cancer.  She thought people wouldn’t like to hear this truth and wouldn’t read her book. But God once again had other plans.

One day the reporter-turned-advocate-turned-wannabe-author got a call from the acquisitions editor at Tyndale House Publishing saying  she liked the manuscript and hoped to publish it. The editorial and sales departments gave it thumbs up too. However the publishing department turned it down, saying “It’s a good book, but the author is unknown and it will be lucky to sell 5,000 copies over its lifetime.” But God had other plans.

The editorial people played their ace-in-the-hole card on the wannabe-authoroverrode the publication decision and in 2002 had 5,000 copies of When GOD & Cancer Meet printed. Everybody, including the publishing people and the reporter-turned-author knew it would take a long, long time to sell that many. But not surprisingly, God had other plans.

Within a few weeks, a second printing was ordered and this past week the reporter-turned-jubilant-author got word from Tyndale that the book’s 17th printing had been released, raising the total number of copies in print to just over 100,000.

 

Dear friends, I don’t know what God’s plans are for your life any more than I could foresee His plans for mine.  I shared my story with you today in hopes it would encourage you that God is in control and more powerful than any earthly predictions, statistics, or roadblocks. No matter what happens–or doesn’t happen–in your life, don’t despair.

Instead do as Psalm 33:3-5, 10-11  says:
“Sing a new song of praise to Him;
    play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy.
 For the word of the Lord holds true,
    and we can trust everything He does.
 He loves whatever is just and good;
    the unfailing love of the Lord fills the earth…
The Lord frustrates the plans of the nations

    and thwarts all their schemes.
 But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever;
H
is intentions can never be shaken.

And please join me in praising God that He had “other” plans for my life.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

View this email in your browser to hear the song “Trust” by Hillsong or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En4LGz5N8T8

Oct 10

Don’t Underestimate the Power of God

 

By Chris Tiegreen
“Our Bible is full of miracles. Sometimes, it feels as if our lives are not. The difference between the two can be disheartening, especially when a miracle is the only thing that can help us through a time of need. We pray to God and hope that He will answer, wondering where the miracles have gone. If we really listen, we will hear Him tell us to open our eyes.
“God’s dramatic miracles are scattered throughout history, sometimes in clusters (as in Acts), and sometimes spread out over painfully long years. But even when we don’t see the drama, God is always doing miracles. He redeemed us, after all–that was a miracle in itself. And He continues to work in our lives. Sometimes we see His hand, and sometimes we don’t. But the fact that He is working, whether behind the scenes or in plain view, should always fill us with hope.

“One of our problems is that we often anticipate the ordinary from God. We pray with realistic expectations, hoping He will answer us with obvious answers. Our minds confine Him to the predictable, forgetting that He is able to do infinitely more than we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We underestimate Him.

“When you pray, trust that God is working. He may be working behind the scenes, or radically changing hearts in the midst of our circumstances, or waiting for the plot to unfold a little further before He intervenes in a visible way. But the key to seeing God work is to expect Him to work, He is–and always has been–the God of miracles.” 

Content taken from THE ONE YEAR AT THE CROSS DEVOTIONAL, by Chris Tiegreen. Copyright © 2011. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. (Bold added.)

 

 

Please open this email in your browser to enjoy the music video “He Still Does (Miracles)” by Hawk Nelson.

Oct 03

“I thought I was a goner!”

 

In recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’d like to introduce you to my dear friend Polly, a cancer-free, five-time survivor–including three breast cancers, one of which was stage 4!

Polly’s personal cancer journey began more than 15 years ago, although her family’s trek with this dreaded disease stretches back decades. Her mother, several maternal aunts and her sister all had breast cancer and the nagging thought of it always was there in Polly’s mind, too.

So when she got the same diagnosis at age 48, she was anxious and upset, but not really surprised. The shock came four years later in 2007 when the cancer spread to her lungs and bones and was considered incurable . (And yes, this story is going to have a “happy” ending–keep reading!)

“I thought I was a goner!” she recalls. “I kept thinking ‘I hope I have another birthday’.”

Polly had the lung tumors surgically removed and started more chemo. We talked and prayed often and Polly kept drawing closer to God as she sat on her front porch each day watching hummingbirds, reading the Bible and talking with her heavenly Father in prayer.

Four months later, the PET scan showed significant improvement and two months after that, all signs of the cancer were gone. She stayed on “maintenance” therapy for a while, but eventually that was stopped and she still is NED–No Evidence of Disease.

“”It’s a blessing beyond my wildest dreams,” she says. “It’s been a wonderful journey of whole new closeness with the Lord.  He just knows what I need right now—this minute, this hour.

“I have learned to seize each day,” she adds. “Every day I get up and say ‘you can have a good day or a bad day’ and I always choose good.”

I think Polly’s optimism and faith is especially amazing because she has survived four more primary cancers (two breast, one melanoma and one rectal), all caught early stage and cured with surgery.

“If this wasn’t my story, I might not believe it,” she admits. “But with God, (my oncologist) Dr. (Marc) Hirsh, and gumption, here I am!!! And I give all the glory to God, who has never left my side.”

I believe Polly has been experiencing what it’s like to walk with God as He goes before us and lights our way during the dark times. Don’t expect that He will light up your whole journey—He might reveal just the next few steps. And don’t imagine that His provision will arrive way ahead of time so you can stockpile it for later.

God’s perfect timing is wonderfully  illustrated in a story shared by Corrie Ten Boom, the Dutch Christian
concentration camp survivor whose family helped hide hundreds of Jews from the Nazis during World War II. The conversation she relates took place when she was a little girl and her father tried to console her fears that she would be unprepared when she had to die someday:

Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam—when do I give you your ticket?”

I sniffed a few times considering this.

“Why just before we get on the train.”

“Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows exactly when we are going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us have to die, you will look in your heart and find just the strength you need—just in time.”[1]

“Don’t run out ahead of Him.”

What marvelous advice. God needs to go before us into each day. We don’t yet have what we need to face all of our tomorrows, because we are not yet there. But every day as we come to our heavenly Father in prayer, He promises to guide us and provide for us in that minute, that hour, that day.

 I’d like to pray Deuteronomy 31:6 for you today: Do not be afraid and do not panic before them.  For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Amen.

[1] Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place (Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 1984), 44.