How to Respond to Suffering

 

"Many times I have tried to run from suffering," one lady wrote. "But God seems to keep bringing the suffering my way until I learn to suffer for Him. I am learning that I can have joy, even in the midst of the suffering.  He is teaching me to rest under His wing; there I find peace."

 She signed it "Rejoicing in my portion..."

Sometimes our suffering is caused by hurtful comments of others. This happened to the Beloved in the Song of Songs. It is remarkable that she did not say one word of bitterness or complaint toward those who heaped criticisms upon her. When we have been wounded by another, it can be almost unbearable. As Proverbs 18:14 states, "A crushed spirit who can bear?"

Yet it is possible to forgive because Jesus has carried all of our sorrows and griefs (Isaiah 53:4, 5). "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me" (Romans 15:3).

Madame Guyon wrote, "If your love for the Lord is pure, you will love Him as much on Calvary as on Mt. Tabor. The Lord Jesus loved His Father on Mt. Tabor where He was transfixed, but He loved Him no less on Calvary where He was crucified."* God loves to see us love and trust Him in our suffering just as we did when all was going well.

Dear Jesus, thank You for giving me grace to receive all with gratefulness and love believing you will not allow anything to come to me except what You can cause to be for my good and for Your glory.

"Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold-though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world" (1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT).

*100 Days in the Secret Place, Compiled by Gene Edwards, p. 61

His Love Is With Us!

One lady told what happened when she succumbed to temptation. "Inevitably I would begin chastising myself, replaying my failure over and over again in my mind. In those moments, the Spirit of God would gently remind me, 'There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. You are in Me. I don't condemn you. Just come to Me now, and remember to come to Me next time. You can't do this alone and you don't have to! I am here. Remember? I am with you!

'"No temptation will ever come upon us that God will not give us the strength to overcome if only we open ourselves up to Him in our moment of need. "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).


The psalmist assures us of God's constant vigilance. "You both precede and follow me" (Psalm 139:5). Much as a mother goes behind her child, picking up what he drops and trying to cover up his mistakes, God goes behind us. Even if the mistake has been the child's fault, the mother is still willing and eager to help.

Jesus is big enough for our mistakes, the ones we made in the past and the ones we will make in the future. He is not bound by our mistakes. When disobedience occurs, it is a great comfort to remember that God's mercies are new each morning.

I praise You, Father, because You can overrule all my failures and mistakes.

"The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust" (Psalm 103:13-14).

A Resting Place for Our Faith

 

Jeanne Seaborn has four children, fourteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. In A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss she tells how she organizes her prayers for her family. At the beginning of each year, she asks each child and grandchild to write down their main prayer requests for the year. Then she prays for those each day.

In addition, she has a page for each child and grandchild with scriptures that she prays for them. Each day she prays in-depth for one child using those verses. For example, for her son-in-law who travels during the week, she prays Psalm 119:54: "Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge." Each child has at least one verse dealing with keeping a clear conscience, as well as other verses that she personalizes and prays back to God for that individual.

God delights in prayers we pray repeatedly that are based on His Word. Dick Eastman wrote in The University of the Word that he had prayed daily a specific prayer for his family based on Luke 2:52: "Lord, help my family to grow mentally (in wisdom), physically (in stature), spiritually (with favor toward God), and socially (with favor toward man)." After seven years, God revealed to him how He was answering this prayer for each one.

How it must please the Lord to see our hearts hunger for the exact things He has promised to give. When we bring His promises to Him and wait in expectation, He will not fail to give us according to His written Word.

Thank You, Father, for giving me Your words to rest my faith on.

"Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).

Receive His Mercy

 

Phoebe Palmer in The Promise of the Father wrote of receiving an impression to speak a word for the Lord. She hesitated and decided to pray about it first.

She went away to pray and just as she bowed to pray, the Holy Spirit whispered, "This morning didn't you ask to be filled with the knowledge of the will of God? Why then did you not do that which was in your heart, knowing that the Lord was with you?"

She saw her error and hurried back to speak, but her opportunity was gone. She wrote, "I felt ashamed before the Lord; but I felt my heavenly Father did not condemn me, for He saw that my intention was to please him."

When we realize we've failed, we may feel unworthyof God's favor. But we don't receive God's favor because we've done everything perfectly. In fact, God takes special note of us who believe He is merciful when we've failed.

If we've done something with a clear conscience and later see we did the wrong thing, we can trust God to protect us from ill effects. King Abimelech, not knowing Sarah was Abraham's wife, had her brought to him at his palace.

God warned him in a dream, "that woman you took is married" (Genesis 20:3 NLT).

Abimelech protested, "I acted in complete innocence!" and he avoided punishment.

Any of us can make a mistake and miss God's will in some decision or action, but our God is loving, merciful, and understanding! As Richard Taylor said, "It is the devil who cracks the whip, not God." If we have missed the Holy Spirit's leading, His correction will be gentle.

Thank You, Father, that You are much more merciful than we allow ourselves to believe.

"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy" (Psalm 33:18).

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6, 7).

God's Beautiful Attribute

 

Holiness is the only attribute of God that is described with the word "beauty." I thought of this beauty when my friend Judy shared her response to a troubling situation.

Her family frequently had to be with someone who drinks a lot and uses vulgar language. Judy told her husband, "I don't like him, and I don't want to be around him." He replied that she was being critical and judgmental.

Judy was hurt by his response, but she prayed, "Is my husband right, Lord?"

She said, "I hold a lot of life's situations up to Psalm 25:4-5: 'Show me your ways, O Lord, teach your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior.'"

The Lord showed her that this man was really very nice and she was not to be repelled by what he said or did. The only thing wrong with him was that he doesn't know Jesus.

Judy said, "My heart softened and I began to see him through the eyes of Jesus, who dined and ate with sinners and people who seemed to do everything we think hurts the heart of God. In reality, I was the one who was hurting His heart by being critical and judgmental."

Judy humbly accepted this new insight, and the Lord gave her grace to feel about him differently and to treat him with respect. "Now," she chuckled, "he wants to be around me even more."

The beauty of God's holiness is in the lives of those who are transparent before Him and who allow the Word to judge and cleanse them.

Dear Lord, thank You for responding each time we humble ourselves and respond obediently to Your Word.

"I, the LORD, have spoken! "I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word" (Isaiah 66:2 NLT).

"Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth" (Psalm 96:9 NKJV).

How to Be Spiritually Renewed

Phillip Henry had a great idea for daily meditation. Two hundred years ago, he advised his children to take a verse of Psalm 119 every morning to meditate on, and so go over the Psalm twice in the year. "That will bring you to be in love with all the rest of the Scriptures," Mr. Henry promised.

(Every verse of Psalm 119 uses one of ten words for Scripture with the exception of verses 84 and 122.)

This may explain why his son Matthew loved the Word so much he wrote the Matthew Henry Commentaries we still use today.

Phillip Henry often said, "All grace grows as love to the word of God grows." Our spiritual renewal depends upon our desire for the Word. The introduction to Ezra in the Touchpoint Bible puts it this way: "All great spiritual movements or revivals must be built on a love for God's Word, the Bible, and a passion to live it and talk about it." 

Some years ago a friend said that she just wanted to be with the Lord and sense His presence, so she had begun taking her Bible with her to work and on her lunch hour found a time to be alone with God. "I sensed that God was pleased with my efforts to commune with Him," she said.

No doubt God was pleased. He notices our every expression of spiritual hunger no matter how small.

Revival begins in us when we take time to be in love with scripture.

Help us to remember, Lord, that our love for the Word is the measure of our love for You. 

"Happy are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates" (Proverbs 8:34 NLT).

 

Nancy's Prayer Assignment

 

Nancy and her husband took their son to be admitted as a freshman in a Bible college. She said, "As soon as I stepped on to the campus, the voice of God said that this is a land He wants me to saturate with prayer." The next day, He made it clear to her that He wanted her to spend a day every week on campus to pray for the faculty, staff, and students. Her son was the only one she knew in the school.

Nancy reported, "The school gave me a small room called the Upper Room where I spend time with God on Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a list of names of the students and faculty, and sometimes I am supplied with specific prayer requests.

"My door is open for whoever wants to come. Recently, at least two or three teachers came to pray with me for 15 to 30 minutes. Sometimes the campus pastor and students come.

"One teacher has come every time to pray for specific needs of her students. Recently she told me that one of them has accepted the Lord. Another student had emotional problems and had been difficult to deal with. Yesterday I learned that he has changed. He suddenly became tender, humble, and open.

"I humbly pray that God will revive the campus through this little room."

In intercessory prayer, as well as all other ministries, we are always dependent upon the Holy Spirit. It is He who places His desires in our hearts and then gives us grace to be faithful. The Holy Spirit will not force His assignments on us. He looks for the one, though, He can trust with the desires of His heart.

Dear Lord, give me the prayer assignments You want me to have.

"Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle." (Ps. 144:1).

All Things Are for Him

 

I was probably in grade school, but I still remember my mother getting up during a testimony time in our small church and quoting with deep feeling - even tears - Paul's doxology in the last verses of Romans 11:

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

"Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"

"Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?
"For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen."

So I, too, have committed these verses to memory. Every phrase is so rich I never feel I exhaust its truths.

I enjoy thinking about the application behind "for from him and through him and to him are all things." When we think something of significance originated with us, we've lost sight of these truths. All the ideas, creativity, abilities come from Him. We do them through His strength, and they are all to Him for His glory. If not, they are nothing. "By myself I can do nothing," Jesus said.

That's true of us, too, and so we recognize the truth of His words, "apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

Thank You, Lord, for giving us the grace to want all things to be for You.

"I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does" (John 5:19).

I Will Still Praise You

 

"I doubt you will ever sing again."The specialist at UCLA left Jo Franz alone in the examining room with tears filling her eyes, stunned by his matter-of-fact statement. Then a peace calmed her soul. That still small voice within said, "Trust Me even though you're frightened."

Jo's singing ministry had begun over twenty years ago, shortly before she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Then one morning, she awoke with her voice distorted beyond recognition. Her husband couldn't understand her! It sounded as if she was on a respirator. Three doctors concurred that the multiple sclerosis was attacking nerves in her brain, relaying incorrect messages to the vocal chords.

Answering the phone was difficult. If people understood her, they asked why she was depressed or crying. Shopping was the worst. Clerks craned their necks to hear her, then quickly looked away when she tried to speak.

With each struggle, she turned to God. "Lord I don't know why my voice must be like this, but I know You have allowed it, and I give thanks to You in it as 1 Thessalonians 5:18 exhorts. Teach me as You will."

Four university students desired to interview someone who had experienced loss due to a disease. After talking to her for only a few minutes about her inability to speak and sing, one asked, "Why aren't you angry or depressed?"

Silently she thanked God for ordaining that moment.

"I'm not angry or depressed," she said, "because I have a relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ. I know He loved me enough to die for me. Since He did that, I know His love won't allow anything to happen to me that He can't use somehow for my good.

"The Bible promises: 'God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose' (Rom. 8:28). I'm not saying I don't feel sad and grieve the loss of my voice. But God has proven Himself to me through other difficult experiences. He is trustworthy."

Nine months after the MS attack began, she and her husband drove to the California Sierras to ski. As they rode the lift, she leaned over to her husband, hoping he could hear her. "I'm so excited to be skiing again!" Her mouth dropped wide open in amazement--her voice was clear!

All day she kept saying, "Do you hear that? My voice is normal!"

It thrilled Jo to speak and sing again. But what if the Lord hadn't blessed her with the return of her voice? Would she have continued to praise Him? She says, "I believe I can heartily answer, 'Yes!' I knew a joy during those months that is experienced during suffering and loss. It emanates from peace passing understanding that says God is a God of love, and He is in control.

Thank You, Lord, that You can always be trusted.

"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised" (Job 1:21).

Jo Franz first wrote the article for our magazine Women Alive.

God Rejoices in Doing Us Good

 

We have been created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11), but we easily lose the wonderful enjoyment of thinking upon our God as a happy God--a God who is delighting in us and rejoicing over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

"We decided to give more money to our church, so we've begun shopping at garage sales for furniture," our friends shared recently as we visited in their family room. Before we left they wanted us to see their latest garage sale purchase--a beautiful antique marble-topped table for their living room. "I'm sure God was delighted to lead you to that," I said. "The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant" (Psalm 35:27).

When God grants us an answer to prayer or a special benefit, do we think of it as coming from a God who is rejoicing because He can do us good? Repeatedly He tells us that is exactly how He feels about lavishing His rich blessings on us. To those who obey Him, He promises, "I will rejoice in doing them good" (Jeremiah 32:52).

We are the "people close to his heart" (Psalm 148:14), and "...the Lord takes delight in his people" (Psalm 149:4). How blessed we are!

Thank You, Lord, for enjoying lavishing Your grace upon us.

"Cheer up, Zion! Don't be afraid! For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you He is a mighty savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song" (Zephaniah 3:16-17 NLT).

Why Praise?

We might tend to think of our praises to God as insignificant, not worth much--until we consider what God did to gain them. God paid a high price for our praises. He freely gave the precious blood of His own Son for our praises. "In him we were also chosen...in order that we...might be for the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:11-12).

Could it be that the reason Scripture commands us to praise more often than to pray is because God so gloriously enjoys our praise?

The following is from a sermon by Samuel Faircloughpreached in 1650: "Now the Lord, who is of the most perfect understanding, and deepest skill and knowledge, declares himself to take infinite delight in his people's praises. It is his solace and pleasure to be attended with them, either in earth or in heaven, by men or angels; and his soul is ravished with the thoughts and contemplation of them."

 Our praises give solace and pleasure to God and His soul is delighted when we praise Him!  Selah! (Pause and think on that.)

Dear Father, I want to cultivate the habit of praising You, not just to obey a command or to gain victory over the enemy, but out of a desire to delight You.

"Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks" (John 4:23).

God Saves Prodigals

 

Helen saw the closeness of their family shattered when one of her children went the way of the world. She and her husband prayed and cried together and painfully asked each other, "Have I done something wrong?"

Helen began giving special time to night praying, each night assigning herself a promise to study and pray through. One promise was Isaiah 45:11: "Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands" (NASB). Her child was to be given over to God. He was the work of His hands (Psalm 139:13-16).

She learned from Daniel 9:21 that Daniel prayed in extreme weariness and that God strengthened him when he prayed (Daniel 10:19), so it was not always time to quit praying when she was tired.

Four years passed and during that time the pain caused by their child's rebellion never diminished. But God's promises gave her spiritual strength and assured her that His answer would come... "Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:3). She learned to say, "My times are in your hands" (Psalm 31:15).

Their family is whole again. The once wayward child prays with them and relishes opportunities to be with them.

Thank You, Lord, for teaching us to pray so we have access to the greatest power on earth.

Promises for parents:
 "I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save" (Isa. 49:25).

"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'Do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth" (Isa. 43:5-6).

If Anxious, Try This

 

"Recently I was quite anxious about a particular, painful circumstance in my life," wrote Cynthia Heald in her book Becoming a Woman of Freedom. She said she prayed as she had never prayed before but remained anxious and unable to experience the peace of God.

As she meditated on Philippians 4:6, 7 (wondering why it wasn't working!), she realized that she was doing everything Paul said to do except to pray with thanksgiving. "To be honest, I couldn't think of anything I could really be thankful for in this situation. But Paul says to pray and ask with thanksgiving--the peace of God will follow."

As she began to pray with thankfulness--thanking God for hearing her requests, His love and understanding of her hurt, His sovereignty and power--then, and only then, did she begin to know the peace of God that transcends understanding. Her circumstances had not changed, but she was no longer "tied up" inside. She was free to trust.

When Jesus was about to feed the 5,000, He broke the loaves and then gave thanks before they were multiplied. He knew His Father would do what He trusted Him to do, so thanksgiving was in order.

Jesus was showing us that we are to give thanks before He blesses our efforts and before we see the answer to our prayers. Perfect faith gives thanks while we're waiting. We know He is going to provide, and we're so thankful!

Dear Jesus, help me to remember that anxiety is a call to prayer and thanksgiving.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6, 7).

Why Was She Healed?

 

There was a woman in the crowd following Jesus who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years. No doctor had been able to help her, but she had heard about the healing power in Jesus, and she believed. Her thoughts were simple, unorthodox.

She slipped up behind Him, touched the fringe of his robe, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

"Who touched me?" Jesus asked.

Everyone denied it, and Peter said, "Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you."

But Jesus told him, "No, someone deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me."

When the woman realized that Jesus knew, she began to tremble. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed.

"Daughter," he said to her, "your faith has made you well. Go in peace" (Luke 8:48).

This woman thought differently from others around her. She believed that if she simply touched Jesus, she would be healed. Others around Him were touching Him but nothing supernatural was happening to them. They were not trusting Him and expecting an answer.

Why is faith effective? Because God has pledged Himself to it.

Thank You, Jesus, that You always welcome the opportunity to respond any time I know You have heard.

"According to your faith will it be done to you" (Matthew 9:29).

Our Faithfulness Will Be Tested

 

If only our test of faithfulness would be preceded by a loud warning buzzer and a bright flashing neon sign, we'd always be faithful. But our faithfulness is tested when we least expect it just as it was for King Josash in 2 Kings 13.

Elisha was on his deathbed when the king came to him weeping. Would Israel still be victorious with the prophet gone? Elisha wanted to assure the king of Israel that he could still win victories with the Lord's help. Together they shot an arrow out the window. "You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek," promised Elisha.

Elisha had offered the king a promise, but the king had to claim it through an act of his own. Elisha asked the king to take some arrows and strike the ground. Just how zealous was the king? Was it a do-or-die situation? The king half-heartedly struck the ground three times and stopped. Elisha was angry.
"You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have completely destroyed Aram." The king's lack of zeal revealed to Elisha his lack of faith.

Perhaps we are too much like the king. We fail to strike out unbelief because of a casual, "Oh, it really doesn't matter if I skip devotions today," or "It makes no difference if I stop praying for that friend." But it may matter more than we know. Faithfulness is often our way to show God our determination. We demonstrate our faith by regularly calling to God even when prayer seems to be a waste of time. Faith is a gift of God and He gives it to the faithful.

Thank You, Jesus for noticing every time we call to You even when it seems we prayed more out of routine than inspiration.

"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him" (2 Chronicles 16:9).

What Brought Revival to My Family

 

I heard a story about my Grandmother Wehrman that occurred many years ago. My cousin, Lydia Knipmeyer, told in her final testimony in church how she had been converted as a young girl.

One night about 2 o'clock in the morning, my grandmother walked the six miles from our farm to Lydia's parents' farm in the cold Missouri winter and announced, "I have come to pray for Lydia to be saved." Lydia's father, my grandmother's brother, awakened the entire household, and they all gathered around Lydia and prayed.

Lydia did not get saved that night, but the next day, she went to the hayloft where she intended to pray quietly so no one would hear her. She became so earnest that her intentions were forgotten and she prayed so loudly everyone heard her. She left the loft that day knowing her sins were forgiven.

Grandmother's nighttime visit seemed to have brought a spirit of revival. Within weeks more of my cousins came to the Lord. One of those was August Luelf who is also now in heaven, but was loved and known by thousands as "the stuttering preacher." Another was Wesley Duewel. His books on prayer have been printed in 57 languages and have sold over two million copies.

The secret of that revival was not simply Grandmother's nighttime visit. It was those prayers she had prayed in secret. She had interceded in private until the Spirit so burdened her heart that she could not bear to think of Lydia's being lost. She must do what she could.

Dear Jesus, help me to pray until my concern for the lost moves me to obey whatever Your Spirit puts in my mind to do.

The Little Boy Who Prayed

 

Years ago, a five-year-old boy heard a missionary speak about all the people in the world who didn't have God's Word. He decided he wanted to pray for one of these language communities, so he began praying each Sunday afternoon for God to send missionaries to the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island. His mom and dad would smile each time they heard his fervent prayer.

Finally a Wycliffe friend of theirs reported that he was assigning translators to serve the Rapa Nui! The little boy started writing to the translators and then began selling stationery so he could give them some of his profits. His parents later discovered that the missionaries had become interested in this people around the time their son began praying.

Even the youngest intercessor can make a big difference in the world.

Thank You, Jesus, that the consistent prayer of all ages accomplishes much!

"Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20 NLT).

Desperate for Healing

 

A man in southern Sudan suffered for years from terrible migraine headaches. He was desperate to be rid of the headaches, so without a doctor nearby, he went to the local witch doctor.

In the book Holiness, Howe Shute relates that the witch doctor assured the man, "Yes, I can help you, but you've got to find one of your closest relatives you really love and cut off that person's head. Bring the head back to me and I'll lay my hands on it and say the right words, and your headache will be transferred to this other head."

The man was desperate so he agreed.

It took him several days to determine the relative he would choose, and during that time missionaries arrived and set up a large screen. That night they showed the JESUS film.

In the crowd was the man who was still considering whose head he should get. As he watched Jesus heal many people, he thought surely this God could help him, too. So he prayed his first prayer to Jesus.

"Jesus, if You can do it for them, You can take my headache away."

Later, the man reported, "I felt a cold feeling move from my head all the way to the bottom of my feet. When that cold moved through my body, I was instantly healed."

The man became a believer in Jesus and is now active in his church.

Thank You, Lord, for Your perfect timing that rescued this man.

"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness" (Matthew 9:35).

"But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture" (Malachi 4:2 NLT).

My Heart Was at Rest

 

My husband was to speak at a meeting in Florida, and on our way, we stopped in Atlanta to see our son. About 2 a.m. my husband and I both awakened, and he said, "I am chilling."

I groaned "Oh, no," remembering that in the last few days he had had multiple exposures to the flu both from family and patients. As I lay there praying for him, I thought of the verse, "As thy days so shall thy strength be"  (Deuteronomy 33:25). Even if I couldn't believe he would have perfect health, I could trust God to provide the strength his day demanded. I went to sleep.

The next morning Daniel was fine. He told me, "About an hour after we talked, I broke into a sweat. That's very unusual for me."

God promised His people a resting place, a place of repose where they would have rest from all their enemies.

To quietly rest in the Lord is not to be complacent, but to trust Him and to show Him our trust through faithfulness. In turn, His rest prevents stress and failure while providing peace, confidence, and joy. Our resting in Him is preceded by both faith and obedience.

There is a place of quiet rest
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace
Near to the heart of God.

"Now we who have believed, enter into His rest" (Hebrews 4:3).

Why Carry That Burden?

 

A friend called and told me she would no longer be a part of our small group. I hung up the phone and realized I felt rejected. What did that say about me as leader?
Unfortunately, I was taking it personally.

Jesus spoke to my spirit, "Let me carry your burden. Let that fall on me. I am your burden-bearer." After that thought went through my mind, I noticed I no longer felt the rejection. This scripture came to me: "The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me" (Romans 15:3).

How wonderful that we have One who "who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). He is still bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows. (Isaiah 53:4)

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, so He weeps with us just as He wept with Mary and Martha. He shares every burden we bear. He invites us to cast all our anxiety on him because he cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)

"My great business in life is to please God. Walking with Him in the light, I never feel a burden," was Hudson Taylor's testimony. When we live the wonderful life of faith, the Lord is our burden-bearer. He says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but tell me your requests, and I will attend to them."

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens" (Psalm 68:19). Just as a humble animal might bear heavy sacks of grain, so Jesus, in His infinite compassion, bears our burden in order to lift us up and relieve our distress.

Dear Jesus, forgive me for every time I carry my own burdens instead of giving them to You.