May I share with you what I have learned…
God always speaks out against the injustices we suffer. He always upholds us when we are wronged. He walks with us through our hard times. He never lets us down.
I have also learned that even though everyone has a choice, we can’t make anyone choose to do what is right. And, even though their choices may ruin our lives, God always has another way. He redirects our eyes to something new.
Because we understand grief, we can comfort those who grieve. Because we suffer injustice, we can fight for those who are crushed. God doesn’t consider our past as wasted years; it is the foundation on which he builds hope.
So often the Bible tells me the opposite of what I want to hear. When our house got trashed by renters, steam shot out of my ears. But then Derek drew me aside and we read the Bible. It said, “Rejoice!” God was in control. He had things in hand.
Or there was the time when someone made a decision that caused me a lot of pain. I stomped and cried in the private of my room. But the same thing happened again. Derek drew me aside. We prayed. A verse. Yes, it was, “Rejoice!”
Just today I was reading where Jesus healed the sick. “And people brought to him all who were ill… those suffering severe pain… and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:24)
Sometimes, those of us who are hurt can’t seem to get to Jesus by ourselves. We need others to bring us close. And then we can hear that wonderful word. “Rejoice!” God is in control. He has things in hand.
Does this ever happen to you? The Bible says, “Do not fear,” and you still cling to fear in certain relationships. It says, “Be strong in the Lord,” and you still feel overwhelmed in certain situations. It says, “Rejoice in the Lord,” and sometimes all you can do is fight back tears at certain pains you experience.
It does to me. Then last night it hit me. I have been living two lives, with two opposing gods. I think I have to please certain people, yet, I also want to please God.
Last night I resolved to live only one life, to live for the God I love. I don’t know what it will look like, or how to even do it. All I know is that I set myself free. What about you?
I complained to a friend about not finding the right story for a children’s talk. But my friend showed no sympathy. “Write your own!” she said.
I was taken aback. I had no talent, or even any interest in writing. My life was too busy anyway. But God used her comment, even though it seemed too crazy to consider…
Now, eleven years later, with forty-four re-writes, twenty-seven rejections from publishers, and an illustrator who marched on valiantly, this Creation book has finally come to life!
Yes, there were those who helped me get back up, again and again. There was also a Bible verse. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10)
What is your seemingly-impossible small beginning? Accept every encouragement, and don’t give up!
Coming soon. January 2018. Thank you, Sarah Grace Publishing!
Conflict is sparks flying. It is emotions rising. It is experiencing what most of us think we would rather avoid. Yet, sometimes conflict is necessary. When we speak up for the slandered. When we defend the defenseless. When we risk our reputation to protect the innocent.
But our actions can only resolve part of the problem. The slandered might still feel worthless. The defenseless might still feel powerless. And, the innocent might still feel betrayed. These are reactions that continue to harm.
Conflict then shows us another face. It fights for the hearts that sink into despair. It fights against the lies that drag them there. Yes, conflict is sometimes called love.
There are times when the waves of life roll in, crashing on our shores. A couple of weeks ago I almost lost someone very dear to me. Now someone else is slipping away. I keep thinking, “It’s going to be hard to survive this loss.”
Then, out of the blue a text came in the night. Someone passed on a message to me. “Eva, I am for you!” From God.
I would like to share this same message with you. Have you been up most of the night? Are you experiencing some kind of grief? Could it be a decision you have to make? Or, maybe you don’t feel strong enough to stand up against a wrong? Whatever it is, God is for you. Let him be with you. You are safe.
A few days ago I experienced something painful in my heart. I prayed that God would send me someone to help me regain perspective. I set off on a walk. Maybe I would meet this person, and maybe they would stop me. But, I wouldn’t take the initiative, I would let God do it.
I had barely started out when a virtual stranger stopped me. She asked me how I was.
I was taken aback, and didn’t want to share. But I had prayed, and God had done his part. I had better do mine. I told her what was going on. “I’ve been there too,” she said. “It isn’t your fault…”
God does answer our prayers! But, we too have to do our part.
A few days ago someone assured me that I could still fulfill a dream I had as a youth. I had wanted to become a medical doctor, but no matter how hard I tried, the door slammed shut again and again. This ‘someone’ encouraged me to go back to school.
I declined. My doctor dream may have been totally crushed, but God replaced it with something else. You see, our talents can be expressed in many different ways. I had wanted to help people’s bodies to heal, but God wanted me to help people’s hearts
What about you? Has your life turned out different than you had hoped? Do you feel like it has been ruined? Don’t give up hope. Seek God’s perspective. Let him redirect you and you will find life.
In the space of four days, opposite events occurred:
- Someone said something with an intent to destroy.
- A friend took me to the National Art Gallery in London.
I sat before a painting with my friend – The Raising of Lazarus.* It mirrored my circumstances… Lazarus was dead, and I felt the same. But, four days later Jesus told the mourners to open to tomb. An awful smell poured out. Yet, Jesus called out, “Lazarus, come out!”**
…I sat there. Lazarus was me. Jesus was calling. I lived! Lazarus tore off his shroud. I could tear off mine. I could be free!
You see, death-like words don’t have to hold us down. “Come out!” Jesus calls to each one of us. We can choose to get up and LIVE!
* Sebastiano del Piombo, 1517-19 **from John 11