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.
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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.
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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.

Sep 26

The Most Important Thing about You

The above quote from 20th-century American author/pastor A. W. Tozer is for me a mind-blowing one.

What I think about God–who He is, how He acts, what He can and cannot do–is the very most important thing about me.

Our view of God shapes our attitude, our emotions, our responses, and our plans in unimaginable ways. And if we’re really honest, most of us have false views of God–images which are not taught in scripture, but have been impressed upon us by songs, movies or our religious upbringing. Contrary to that beautiful Bette Midler melody, God is not watching us from a distance and while Garth Brooks is correct that “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers,” we are not just talking to “the man upstairs.”

And illness, suffering and the stresses of life can become even more difficult when we cling to these unbiblical views of God.

The best thing I learned from my cancer journey 28 years ago and my nearly two decades as a patient advocate is that I tend  to limit God. I try to shrink Him to fit into my small brain. I attempt to figure out what He’s going to do and how He’s going to do it. Sometimes I even plan how to get one step ahead of Him!

But watching God work in my life and the lives of thousands of cancer patients and caregivers has enlarged my view of the Almighty. I have had a front-row seat to watching Him accomplish as Ephesians 3:20 says “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”

So I ask you…how big is your God?

Is he “the man upstairs” who’s fairly nearby and helps out if we need a hand with something? Or is He the Creator who laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4) and whose power and presence cannot be contained in a building or a universe (2 Chronicles 2:6)?

Is he like Santa Claus making a list of who’s naughty and nice? Or is He the God of grace, giving us what we don’t deserve and of mercy, not giving us what we do deserve (John 1:16, Ephesians 2:4)?

Is the God of your mind a harsh dictator only looking out for Himself? Or is He the always good Father who
“loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)?

Is your image of God one of a magic genie who might grant our wishes if we utter the right prayer or say the correct number of Hail Marys? Or is He the holy Almighty “beyond our reach and exalted in power” (Job 37:23) and for whom “nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37)?

Ponder your situation or your loved one’s and ask yourself what you are thinking about God in relation to that situation. Is your image of Him found in the Bible or has it been pieced together from some less reliable sources?

Author Ann Spangler gives us a true picture of God: “With no failings or flaws, He is better than the best person you have ever met or read about. Because God is entirely good, there is never any room for improvement, never any need for change. Everything about Him–His thoughts, motives, intentions, plans, words, commands, decisions, and actions–is good.”

If that is what comes to mind when you think about God, it will change the way you face the trials of life.

No matter what happens–or doesn’t happen–to you or your loved one, I promise you that no one has ever or will ever love you as much as the one, true God does. Don’t limit Him.

Don’t miss the “Reckless Love” music video–open this blog in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6SSHuZvQE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 19

Fear is a Liar

Sometimes things move very quickly once you or a loved one gets a life-threatening diagnosis. I guess that’s good because you don’t have much time to think about it, but it also makes life feel a little like a surreal out-of-body experience: Can that really be me/us everyone is talking about?

My cancer was discovered on a Tuesday and in less than a week I saw the surgeon, had blood taken, got a chest X-ray, “cleaned out” my colon (again!) and had the tumor removed.

Three days later, at 7 a.m., the surgeon and his resident delivered the pathology report as I lay alone in my room. I could tell from their body language that the news ­wasn’t good. They stood against the wall at the end of my hospital bed, as far away from me as they could be.

“Cancer was found in five of twenty lymph nodes,” the surgeon explained matter-of-factly. “You will need chemotherapy and radiation.”

I cried, but no one moved to comfort me.

“Have you ­ever known anyone who ­under­went chemotherapy?” he asked, seeming to grasp for words to continue the conversation.

I nodded, recalling the two people I had known most recently—both of whom had died! I started hyperventilating.

Still, neither doctor moved toward me, but instead the surgeon called a nurse to help me breathe into a paper bag.

“Do you want me to call your husband?” the doctor asked, still at the foot of my bed. I nodded between sobbing gasps into my little brown sack.

Now I was ­really frightened. I desperately needed Ralph. But, for whatever reason, the surgeon did not telephone him. So for several hours I lay in the room alone with my fears.

 

Get a grip on yourself, my head told my heart. What are you so afraid of? Nausea and vomiting? You were sick night and day for six months with all three of your pregnancies. Mouth sores? You’ve had them before. Needles? You’re not afraid of them. Losing your hair? It’ll grow back. Don’t be so vain, my head stated matter-of-factly. But my heart ­didn’t buy it. I just cried harder as I stroked the waist-length hair that I desperately wanted to keep.

Yes, that’s what ­I’m afraid of, I admitted. I ­don’t want to look sick for my children and my husband. I ­can’t imagine watching my hair fall out. I disliked the vanity of my feelings, but it was how I felt.

I ­couldn’t even get my lips to form the word chemotherapy. The fear of facing that, for me, was worse than the initial shock of cancer.

My surgeon obviously did a good job operating on me as I’m still alive and well 28 years later, but his bedside manner wouldn’t have earned such a high grade. It was incredibly impersonal. And not to contact my husband for almost five hours was very unprofessional. I don’t think I should have gotten that bad news all by myself or been left alone for all that time.

But…God used that doctor’s “mistakes” to draw me closer to Himself and help me to face my deepest fears. As I named my fears, they lost much of their power over me and I began to find courage.

Name your fears and lessen their power. Then believe God supernaturally will give you courage to overcome your fears and to live with the uncertainties life brings. Fear is a liar. Are you going to believe a liar or the truth of God’s Word?

I hope Psalm 27:1, 3 can be your prayer today: The LORD is my light and my salvation—so why should I be afraid?…Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident. 

 (Copyright 2012 by Lynn Eib, 50 Days of Hope)

[1] M. Scott Peck, Further Along the Road Less Traveled (New York: Touchstone, 1993), pg. 23.

To hear “Fear is a Liar” music video, open in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQTnREEtuNk

Sep 12

If God is so good…

When you believe in a good God, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that He has allowed adversity to touch your life or your loved one’s. Think about it.

If God knows everything, this diagnosis did not surprise Him.

            If God sees everything, He saw the bad news coming.

            If God has power over everything, He could have stopped it.

            But He didn’t.

He didn’t stop you or your loved one from getting cancer or heart disease or dementia or whatever ailment has invaded your lives. 

Would you like to know why?………….Join the club!

My journalist-friend Mike Dellosso  was awaiting the release of his first novel[1] when his colorectal cancer was diagnosed.
At only thirty-five, with a wife and three young children, he wondered what God was doing (or not doing) in his life.

“Lord, in my head, I know You’re in control,
but my heart is wondering what’s going on here,” he said.
“You sure You know what You’re doing?”

 

My author-friend David Biebel talks about this dilemma in his book If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad He says there are two truths suffering people have to reconcile:

Sometimes life is agony
And our loving God is in control

In the beginning, it was hard for me to reconcile these truths. I honestly found that at first my faith made things harder rather than easier as I had to struggle with the fact that I loved and faithfully served God for many years and yet He let something really bad happen to me when I knew He had the power to stop it. I’ve heard some people without faith respond to cancer very nonchalantly because they have kind of a “que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be” approach to life.

But for me, it’s different. I don’t believe that life is merely a series of random events that happen to us. I believe I have a Heavenly Father who loves me, watches over me and has good plans for my life. So, why did a nice girl like me get a not-nice thing like cancer 28 years ago?

The reality is that God’s Word never promises that He will stop all bad things from happening to us. On the contrary, it promises us that He is prepared for each battle and will equip us, too.

The Message Bible paraphrases 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 this way:
We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized;
we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized.
But God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.

No matter how unfair life may be to you or your loved one, God will be faithful to you because He is good.

Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”

Psalm 145:8,9 “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.”

[1]   The Hunted, Realms, 2008. www.mikedellosso.com

If Chris Tomlin’s “I Lift My Hands” doesn’t automatically load, view in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c24En0r-lXg

 

Sep 05

Going to the Party by Randy Alcorn

Imagine someone takes you to a party.

You see a few friends there, enjoy a couple of good conversations, a little laughter, and some decent appetizers. The party’s all right, but you keep hoping it will get better. Give it another hour, and maybe it will. Suddenly, your friend says, “I need to take you home.”

Now?

You’re disappointed. Nobody wants to leave a party early—but you leave, and your friend drops you off at your house. As you approach the door, you’re feeling all alone and sorry for yourself. As you open the door and reach for the light switch, you sense someone’s there. Your heart’s in your throat. You flip on the light.

“Surprise!” Your house is full of smiling people, familiar faces.  

It’s a party—for you. You smell your favorites—barbecued ribs and pecan pie right out of the oven.
The tables are full. It’s a feast.

You recognize the guests, people you haven’t seen for a long time. Then, one by one, the people you most enjoyed at the other party show up at your house, grinning. This turns out to be the real party. You realize that if you’d stayed longer at the other party, as you’d wanted, you wouldn’t be at the real party—you’d be away from it.

Christians faced with terminal illness or imminent death often feel they’re leaving the party before it’s over. They have to go home early. They’re disappointed, thinking of all they’ll miss when they leave. But the truth is, the real party is underway at home—precisely where they’re going. They’re not the ones missing the party; those of us left behind are. (Fortunately, if we know Jesus, we’ll get there eventually.)One by one, occasionally a few of us at a time, we’ll disappear from this world. Those we leave behind will grieve that their loved ones have left home. In reality, however, their believing loved ones aren’t leaving home, they’re going home. They’ll be home before us. We’ll be arriving at the party a little later. [1] 

[1] Randy Alcorn, Heaven, (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers), 2004, 441-442.

Chris Tomlin “Home” music video can be viewed on your browser or with this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twL3v5r8s6o

Aug 29

Do We Always See God Work Everything for Good?

So if God works all things together for good, does that mean in our lifetime we will see that promise come true?  Maybe…maybe not.

I consider myself extremely fortunate that God has allowed me to see firsthand how He has used my cancer diagnosis for good by giving me a worldwide ministry to cancer patients and their caregivers. However, I’m very aware that many others still are waiting to see that promise of Romans 8:28 come true.Our view from inside an earthly trial is limited and distorted. We often cannot see how what is happening could ever possibly be used as part of God’s good plan. And we must realize we may not actually get to see the “good” because it’s not coming until the distant future.  We have to ACCEPT that we don’t have the big picture.

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely…” 1 Corinthians 13:12

But accepting that we don’t have the whole picture is not very comforting unless we also BELIEVE that a loving God does.

Some years ago our youngest daughter, Lindsey, who had just graduated from college (and as the daughter most like me, butted heads with me the most as a teenager), wrote me a Mother’s Day note that said in part: “I didn’t always agree or understand when you said ‘no’ to me, but I never doubted that you loved me.”

That’s what it means to trust. We choose never to doubt that God loves us even if we don’t always agree or understand when He answers “no” to our prayers.

However, just knowing these two truths—accepting we don’t have the whole picture and believing a loving God does—is still not enough. We have to CONTINUE to walk by faith and not by sight. Even if we’re not from Missouri, we humans tend to be “show me” people. We want to see first and then believe. I am an extremely skeptical person (which makes me a great newspaper reporter, but an annoying wife), and I always want the facts, the explanation, and the logic before I’ll agree with just about anything.

But the Word of God, my compass in life and especially in the storms, tells me that as believers we are different than others in this world because “we live by faith, not by sight.”[1] Or as another translation puts it, “That is why we live by believing and not by seeing.[2]

I must constantly remind myself that I don’t need to see it all because God sees it all from the beginning of history to the end of time. As one writer explains: “Because we see only this sliver of time, we tend to view all of time through the same narrow and ill-fitting glasses. We forget that God is not bound by time. He exists outside of its minutes and millennia.”[3]

He and only He has the big picture. We move ahead not knowing for sure how–or when–it all will work out, but believing He does and will guide our way.

I don’t know how to say it any other way than we simply walk by faith.  And if we don’t have the privilege of seeing in this lifetime how it all works for good, we can be encouraged that we are not alone. Read the list of faithful heroes in Hebrews 11 and don’t miss verse 13: “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it.” 

Remember the ABCs of trials: Accept you don’t have the whole picture; Believe a loving God does; and Continue on by faith and not by sight.

Adapted from 50 Days of Hope, copyright 2012  by Lynn Eib
[1] 2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV
[2] 2 Corinthians 5:7 NLT
[3] Taken from a devotional published by the Outreach of Hope “God Keeps his Promises,” 2001.

Music video “Walk by Faith” by Jeremy Camp also available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygyOECYwd-4