One Sunday morning, I stood in the hallway of my church, waiting to talk with a friend about her upcoming visit to see her Doctor. You see, she had a strange pain that could not be explained and after seeing multiple doctors, she was told there was a good chance it was cancer. She had some scans done the previous week, and she was going to find out the results of those scans the next day. She was in a dark place.
As a church family, we had been praying and I had prepared myself to encourage her with all kinds of wisdom. I just knew she would be anxious and upset. I just knew she would need someone to talk to, so when my friend came around the corner that Sunday morning, I was ready. I was ready to give her the encouragement she needed.
Yeah! About that. What happened next could not have surprised me more.
As I hugged her and started to tell her how sorry I was that she was going through this trial, she stopped me dead in my tracks. She began to tell me how she was NOT worried and I could see in her eyes ….that she really was NOT worried. She began to tell me that God was in control of all things and He was allowing her to go through this for some purpose. She told me she knew God had a plan that she could trust. And then she said something to me that has stuck with me ever since. She said, “I want my life to bring glory to God. If me having cancer will do that, then I am ready.”
Whoa! That was not what I was expecting.
This was not a conversation about her being healed or about it not being cancer. This was a conversation about trusting the God of the Universe with the outcomes.
I was speechless, and as our conversation ended, I began to feel challenged in my spirit.
Did I trust God that much?
Did I really feel in my heart that I was willing to go through whatever in order to bring glory to God?
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” ~Matthew 16:24-25
This friend of mine had two small children and yet, she was not doubting God because she was going through this trial. Oh, I’m sure she struggled in her own private place because she loves her family and she wants to raise her children, but she had complete assurance that God had a plan. She believed with all of her being that she could trust Him…no matter the results of that scan.
I do not know what you are going through today my friend. I do not know what trial you are facing, but here is what I do know.
I know that God loves you and nothing you go through catches Him by surprise.
I know that God will never leave or forsake you.
I know that even if you or I get the worst diagnosis possible or if a tragedy strikes our family, God never changes. He is constant. He is who He says He is.
I know that this life is temporary and the struggles we face will only last a little while.
I know there is a real eternity awaiting those of us who are in Christ. It will be more wonderful than our human minds can fathom.
Remember….we serve a God who is trustworthy. Surrender your darkest hour to Him. Trust Him my friend. No matter what, trust Him.
I am grateful for you and would love to hear from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I am not a coffee person. I know! I know! You probably think there is something seriously wrong with me! Well, I have tried it many different ways but cannot get past the coffee taste. For me, the coffee bean is not flavorful. Although coffee is not for me, I do think that people who drink coffee look sophisticated. I am very impressed when I hear folks speak the “coffee language” because I have no idea what they are talking about. Coffee people understand the differences between Mochas, Iced Coffees, Cappuccinos, Cafe au Laits, Frappes, Macchiatos, Lattes, and Espressos. Just thinking about it makes me dizzy. Just look at this menu below:
No, I am not a coffee person. My favorite cold weather beverage is hot chocolate! YUMMMMM! When it is loaded down with marshmallows and whipped cream, I am one happy camper. I love a cold night when I can wear my fuzzy wool socks, put on my soft, comfy pajamas, and have my favorite mug full to the brim with that warm delicious drink from heaven. It is something I look forward to as the Christmas season approaches.
What do you look forward to as Christmas gets closer?
Many of us get excited when we pull the Christmas decorations out of the attic and begin putting together our own winter wonderland. We look forward to finding that perfect gift for our loved ones and we smile when we hear Christmas music on the radio. We often sing, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but for many people, the Christmas season is not the most wonderful time of the year. For many people, Christmas is full of painful memories, loss and sadness.
My Mother-in-law was admitted into the hospice unit at Presbyterian Hospital the day before Christmas Eve many years ago. All she wanted was to spend one last Christmas at home with her family, but instead, she was rushed to the hospital in respiratory distress because the cancer had spread violently to her lungs. So that year for Christmas, we all crammed into a small hospital room and spent Christmas listening to the sound of a breathing machine while nurses and physicians came in and out every hour to check her. She was jaundiced, weak and unable to speak clearly. She was dying. We set up a tiny Christmas tree in her room. We held hands, we prayed, we cried, and we told her how much we loved her. Just as we had done for seven years, our family pleaded with God for healing, but in His sovereignty, He chose not to heal her. She died at the age of 46.
Our family had Jesus with us each step of the way that Christmas. He never left us. He was there to comfort us. He was there to love us. He was our strength and our joy.
For many this Christmas season, there is no joy because they do not know the giver of joy. There is no hope because they have never met the one who brings hope into this lost world.
This Christmas season, I hope you and I will pay close attention to those in our midst who are struggling with sadness and pain. I hope we will not turn a blind eye to them, but instead, I pray we see their needs and step into their lives to bring HOPE. We can bring hope to them because we know the HOPE of the world! We need to tell them that God sent His son into our world to save us. We need to tell them that Jesus is HOPE. He is LOVE. He is JOY. He gives us every reason to smile and sing, regardless of our painful past.
If someone you know is hurting this Christmas season, I encourage you to reach out to them in a special way this year. Invite them to be a part of your family tradition or ask them to come share a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with you. However you reach out to them this season, just be sure to tell them about your amazing Savior, Jesus, the one who gives life everlasting.
Merry Christmas to you, my friend!
I hope you are you geared up for the Christmas season because it is here! We will be baking, cooking, decorating and we cannot escape the CLEANING we will be doing. Sometimes I wish I could be like Mary Poppins. If only I could sing “Spoonful of Sugar” and smile as all of the dirty dishes wash and put themselves away. For most of us, life requires hard work and sometimes we do not feel like doing the work.
In the book of Luke, Jesus visits Martha and Mary. Martha is busy working. She is preparing an important meal for Jesus. As she slaves away in the kitchen, she is frustrated with her sister Mary because instead of helping with preparations, Mary is spending time with Jesus.
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me. ”But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~Luke 10:38-42 (NLT)
Can’t you just imagine the scene? Martha is busy running around getting everything ready for this important meal and there sits Mary—lounging by the feet of Jesus. Martha was not a happy camper.
I can relate to Martha. Can you? I know what it is like to prepare for a large gathering. I want everything to be perfect so I work and work until it is just the way I want it to be. There is nothing wrong with hard work, but when it prevents you and me from focusing on what really matters, then we have a problem. You see, Martha was so busy working FOR Jesus that she abandoned spending time WITH Jesus.
This can be the case for us too.
As followers of Christ, we often have good intentions. We help out at church by serving on different committees. We may lead a small group Bible study or sing in the choir. This type of work is so important but we must be careful that we do not get so busy working FOR Jesus that we fail to spend time WITH Jesus.
This time of year, there is much to do. Cooking, decorating and cleaning are usually a part of our holiday celebrations because we want everything to be “just right”. My friend, we need to be careful. We can pile too much on our plates or set our expectations of the holidays so high that we miss the whole point of celebrating in the first place.
This year, I hope you and I will reflect on the story of Martha and Mary and find encouragement from how Mary responded to Jesus. She was desperate to be in His presence. She listened to Him with an open heart and she was grateful for what He had done for her.
May we embrace the this Christmas season and worry less about how the food around our table tastes or how the house looks. Instead, let us focus more on spending time with our Lord and Savior and the people we love.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)
Giving thanks for you!
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