Feb 06

Does God Ever Give Us More than We Can Handle?

I had to smile when I read this, considering the incredibly stressful months my husband and I recently have faced with one health crisis after another.

How about you? Does it feel as if God may have overestimated your ability to handle problems? Are you pretty sure that what you’re facing is too much?

Well, I agree.

In fact, I believe that the trials allowed into our lives often are more than we can bear on our own–things like serious illness, financial struggles, relationship conflicts or any other of life’s myriad disappointments .

I consider myself a strong person, but back in 1990 at 36 facing cancer and the fact that my possibility of dying was greater than my possibility of surviving was more than I could face. Worrying about whether my daughters would have to grow up without a mother was way more than I could bear. And fearing that my husband would bury another wife was absolutely more than I could endure.

This is more than I can handle,” I remember telling God, trying not to sound too whiny.

“I know,” He answered. “But it’s not too much for Me.”

That was one of the most freeing things I learned through my cancer journey. It was all right that I sometimes had more than I could handle. That’s when I would see the Bible verse in Philippians 4:13 come true in my life: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

I ­didn’t have to reach down inside myself and muster up some super strength. God supernaturally supplied it to me as I trusted in Him.

What a relief!

Even if my own resources were exhausted, God’s would never be.

My strength might be sapped, but He could still move mountains.

Everything could be changing around me, but He was always my Rock.

During those first early dark-days-after-cancer, I often thought of the shepherd boy David as he went into battle against the giant Goliath. Do you know what his battle cry was?  He was the youngest and smallest boy in his family. Goliath was more than nine feet tall. But David’s battle cry was, “I know God can, I know God can.” If you read 1 Samuel 17:47 you’ll hear his exact words: The battle is the Lord’s. That phrase appears many times throughout the Old Testament, and it was what I said to myself as I awoke on most post-diagnosis mornings.“I feel like a little shepherd with a slingshot facing a giant named Cancer, and it is more than I can handle,” I told the Lord. “But I am so glad it is not more than You can handle. The battle belongs to You, Lord. Fight for me and through me. Do what I cannot do on my own.

And He did.

I love how the Apostle Paul describes a time in his life when he was faced with more than he could handle: We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely on God, who raises the dead. 2 Corinthians 1:8-9.

What a great message: Stop relying on yourself and learn to rely on God. Your struggles and setbacks, your disappointments and dilemmas are never too much for Him to handle.

Please open the music video below in your browser: “We Will Not Be Shaken” by Brian Johnson.

Jan 23

This isn’t what I had planned…

For weeks I planned this photo of my grandkids in their new, matching Mickey and Minnie jammies we were giving them for Christmas. I envisioned them sitting in order from 8-year-old Bauer down to 1-year-old Mathis, but knew that wasn’t realistic. So I opted for girls on one side (the three of them are definitely “besties”) and boys on the other (with the two older brothers keeping track of their little brothers).

It seemed like a good plan. Who would have thought that asking 4-year-old Callie to put on her Minnie socks would be so traumatic? Or that 6-year-old Benjamin would be exhausted waiting two minutes for us to take the shot? Or that 2-year-old Jack couldn’t face forward for ten seconds?

Oh well, I gave you something to smile about today, right?

This is a humorous example of plans gone awry, but it’s not particularly funny when life plans get sidetracked by health crises, financial struggles, marriage difficulties or other stresses. Believe me, I haven’t been laughing for the past eight months as my husband and I have faced one health ordeal after another.

For him: A failed knee replacement, which led to more surgeries, a long stint in residential rehab,  weeks of daily I.V. antibiotics and another round of PT.  For me: Lyme disease, then a broken wrist requiring surgery and complicated by a nerve injury leading to many months of therapy–still not completed! Oh, and just for good measure, all the “traumas” I’ve faced caused cardiac issues necessitating weeks of heart tests and monitoring (so far everything looks good and it’s “just” supra ventricular tachycardia).

Plans for summer vacation were thrown out the window. Fly fishing outings were shelved. Fall speaking engagements were put on hold and then spring ones, too. Invites to host new friends for dinner were postponed. Desires to start a women’s Bible study were forgotten.

And instead, a new plan was made…trust God even when life isn’t going the way we had planned. My author-friend Carol Kent understands how I feel as she writes in her wonderful new devotional, He Holds My Hand:

“You have an agenda that seems right, and your natural inclination is to develop a strategy that seems practical, predictable, and timely. It’s easier for you to trust Him when everything makes sense and you can foresee a positive outcome. However, there are times when He will interrupt your carefully made plans and ask you to do something that makes no sense.

“Always remember God’s great love for you and His desire to give you opportunities to minister to others along the way. Often, the most important appointment in your day will come disguised as an unwanted disruption. Some people around you need to learn from you, and He will bring others into your life to help you find renewed hope and fresh faith.” #HeHoldsMyHand

OK, Carol, I’m looking forward to my occupational therapy appointment today as a chance to continue talking about spiritual things with my hand specialist while he tries to ease my chronic pain and swelling. And I’m thanking God for dear friends who call and cheer me up just when I need it most.

Has God allowed your plans to be interrupted? Perhaps, you’ll join me in trusting Him while looking for new opportunities to share and receive His great love. The Message paraphrase of Proverbs 3:5,6 makes it clear: Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD’S voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.

P.S. We never got a good shot of all seven grands together, but here’s a couple pretty sweet ones separately.

Please open the music video below in your browser to enjoy: “Trust in You” by Lauren Daigle

Jan 09

Being Optimistic Doesn’t Always Make It Better


It’s often said that there are two kinds of people in life: optimists and pessimists. You probably think I’m going to tell you to be an optimist, but I’m not. And that’s because optimism will not always change the inevitable. Take the case of the optimist who fell out of the twelfth-story window. As he went by the fifth-story, he looked around, smiled and said to himself, “So far, so good!” 

I think the best attitude for someone facing cancer or any other serious illness is neither total optimism (without a doubt, I’m going to be cured) nor total pessimism (without a doubt I’m going to die), but realism (without a doubt I have a life-threatening illness and I may or may not get better, so I will plan for both).

When we insist we are going to be cured, we set ourselves up for a terrible defeat if it doesn’t happen. On the other hand, if we insist our situation is hopeless, we already are defeated before we start. I believe it’s best to be realistic and make plans to be financially, emotionally and spiritually ready to depart this life. That’s not giving up. It’s coming to grips with our own mortality, so we can really life fully without the fear of death.

There’s a difference between total optimism and a positive attitude. Total optimism says: “I’m absolutely, positively going to be cured.” A positive attitude says: “I hope and pray and even expect that I’m going to be cured–but even if I’m not, I will not be defeated.”

I’ve seen scores of people who refused to entertain that thought that they might not be cured because they wanted to remain totally optimistic. And when the healing didn’t come, they–and their loved ones–were devastated.  I also know scores of people whose situation was considered medically “hopeless,” but they continued to live life fully and some of them even went on to become cancer-free!

A totally optimistic attitude insists lemons have to get sweeter. A positive attitude adds some sweetener and makes lemonade out of the lemons.

So many things are out of our control when we or our loved ones are facing a serious illness. But we can control our attitude.

Author Chuck Swindoll has a wonderful description of the power of a positive attitude: “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I am that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important that my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.” 

2 Corinthians 4:7-9 describes our troubled situations well: “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”

Your heart needs to find the right attitude—a positive, realistic attitude because God will never abandon you.

Copyright 2002 by Lynn Eib . Excerpted from When God & Cancer Meet, Tyndale House Publishers.

Dec 19

Training Yourself to Be Invincible to Pain


Last week I shared with you my pastor’s thoughts on not being consumed with trying to make all our pain go away, but instead learning how to be invincible to it–“incapable of being conquered, overcome or subdued” by it.  Those who accomplish this “are an unstoppable force,” Pastor Brian said.

I’ve been trying to be invincible over the last nine months, which–without going into detail–have been and continue to be a huge health ordeal for my husband and me. Suffice it to say, that next to having cancer and chemo in 1990, this has been the most difficult year of my life.

And unlike Superman I wasn’t born “invincible,” so today I’m sharing some more of Pastor Brian Jones’ “pain” blog including my thoughts at the endHis words (in italics) have been a great reminder to me during this season of suffering and I pray they will be to you too.
I know this sounds counter-intuitive – but I want to challenge you to pray a prayer of thanks right now for the pain you’re going through.

Thank God for your trials.

Thank Him for the person these trials are helping you become.

Ask Him to help you reinterpret the pain you’re going through, from viewing trials as “signs of His absence” to viewing them as “opportunities for His goodness.” Allow the Holy Spirit to train your mind to be “invincible”–unstoppable–to pain by seeing God’s presence in any and all our circumstances.

Sometimes the goodness of an event can be recognized immediately. Other things like problems with kids or a sickness can take years to put our finger on any silver lining.

And let’s be frank, some events will never be able to be viewed as blessings during our lifetimes. It will take standing next to Jesus Himself and having Him show us the big picture before we’ll be able to make sense of what happened.

Until then, let’s pray for the courage to pick up our crosses instead of walking around them. 
If you are like me, the last thing you really want to do is pick up a cross. But it’s an action required of all true Christ followers: “Then (Jesus) said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me’.” (Luke 9:23, also Matthew 10:38, 16:24; Mark 8:34; and Luke 14:27).

I’ll readily admit that when it comes to my health–or my husband’s–I’m “selfish.” My prayers become very self-centered and self-serving: Heal me, Lord. Father, make this go away quickly. Jesus, restore him now (so I don’t have to be a constant caregiver!).

I’m always looking for quick fixes which will make me feel or my loved one better. But what if that’s not the cross God has for me to carry?

What if having to go to physical therapy so often causes me to develop friendships with people who need Jesus?

What if countless doctors’ appointment afford the opportunity for Christ to shine through me in those medical offices?

What if slowing down because of health limitations makes me rely more on the Holy Spirit’s power than my own strength?

What if all this waiting for test results and restored health is designed to help me be still and know that He is God?

What if the blessings I’ve been seeking are not as important as the ones my Heavenly Father has in store?

And as Laura Story sings in the video below: “What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?”

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s all for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Brian Jones 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 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


  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.


(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