Beginning March 2, 2014 no new posts. Please use the Archive and Topical listings.


If you would like to receive a weekly e-mail reminder of each new post e-mail your request to:

You may also contact me at the above e-mail address with any comments or questions that you may have regarding any post. Please indicate that your comments are confidential and they will not be shared on the blog site.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Storms of Destruction May Lead to Brokenness

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.”
Psalm 107:28-30 NIV

Today I am remembering a storm that blew through the beautiful garden of my heart not so long ago. The sky was so blue and then out of nowhere the storm clouds began to gather. It was storm of massive destruction. The storm caught me off guard and pounded me with raining tears that could not be comforted. As the winds of this storm blew through my garden it uprooted trees that had been in place all my life. It turned over pots that contained memories that were precious. This storm of devastation left not only broken tree limbs but a broken heart.

I am happy to report that the storm has passed. I no longer have tears. God has healed my broken heart. It has not ended as I had hoped but I have forgiven. I so wish I could say that it has also been forgotten, but only God can take the sin in our life and cast it as far as the east is from the west, to be remembered no more. My memory still carries the scar from the experience but God has applied the balm of healing to my near fatal wound.

For me life was good. I had a beautiful home, a wonderful husband, good children, an amazing church, and did not want for anything that I truly needed. The garden of my heart bloomed with love, joy, and peace. Then boom! Out of nowhere Satan ravaged my garden and left emotional havoc on every pathway and in every nook and cranny! The sun went dark in my garden as I groped to find even one rose of love, or a daisy of joy, there was not a single peace lily to be found. Satan, in one fell swoop managed to orchestrate a storm in my life that smashed nearly every pot of beautiful flowers in my garden. This brokenness was more than I thought I could bear.

In the past, when I would sit with the Master Gardner, he would warn me to cut back bushes of pride. He had suggested that I trim away dead branches of selfishness that were found on the trees in my heart’s garden. He told me to thin out the tall perennials that waved suggestive messages of invasive control. My past had taught me to be judgmental and those thoughts had taken a tight hold in my life and had become root bound. I was warned that roots in that condition hinder further growth. The Gardner had shown me vines that needed trimming because they were not bearing fruit. Oh yes, I had been warned, there was still so much work that needed to be a done in the garden of my heart. Regretfully, I did not heed the warning.

Then one beautiful day the destructive storm pounded down on my emotions. My heart was broken as a result of this storm and a darkness I had never know before descended upon my garden. The good news was that the garden of my heart was not beyond repair. I looked up and allowed the light of Jesus to shine into my heart’s garden. You see, with Jesus in our life, life is never hopeless. When we look to him he begins the restoration needed to restore all that needs to be restored. He pulls up and casts out all that is useless and ugly and in its place he plants hope and peace.

There were many lessons I learned from that storm. I am certain that God used my lack of obedience to his suggestions as a spring board that began the process of breaking the things in my life that needed to be broken. I know that God is all powerful and is always capable of preventing these devastating storms of life. But sometimes God allows, and quite possibly arranges the details of our life as a means whereby we may be broken. I was beginning to understand that God is able to use the tools of loss and personal failure to bring about positive change in my life. I am amazed that God loves me enough to attempt to stamp out sinful behavior in my life. My self confidence always seems to push God away; however, personal need always draws me to him. I have learned that God created me and he knows my potential. He knows the plans that he has for me, plans that will give me a hope and a future. I am thankful that God loves me enough to continue to prune me even if it results in painful trials and destructive storms in my life.

When I choose to resist God he usually applies more pressure. My willingness to surrender to God lessens the pressure. I remember one particular struggle that seemed to hang around forever. After a very long time I ultimately surrendered my circumstance to God. I chose his will over my will. Past experience tells me that I usually do eventually surrender my will to God’s will. Lately, when I have been faced with a new storm in life I have been consciously praying, “God, I think I will go straight to surrender because I know that is where I will end up anyway.” The older I get the less I want to struggle with God. I am learning that there is no contest in wrestling with someone who always wins. I am finding that I’m getting too tired to fight. I am realizing that I crave the peace of God more and more. I am beginning to love God more than I love having my own way. Struggling with God always robs me of peace and joy.

As I look back on my life there is a strong personal timeline that tells me that God is not my enemy. This timeline marks for me God’s faithfulness in the past and his faithfulness today. Why then, would I struggle with trusting  him with the future? Even in my darkest of days God has positioned people, circumstances, opportunity, sermons of encouragement, and songs of praise to lift me up and set me free from the darkness of every storm. I know that God breaks me not to teach me a lesson but rather to give me a purpose. At the end of the storm I always find a rainbow reminding me of his faithful promises of love and that love strengthens my walk of faith and gives me eternal hope.

It almost goes without saying that many of the storms of life come because we live in a fallen world.  We often find our self in the midst of a storm as the direct result of another person's sinful behavior. Tragedy also comes from natural disasters. Those storms have nothing to do with our disobedience. Death is also an unexpected storm, yet without a doubt, although death is natural it still leaves us standing in the middle of a storm of change and grief. Today I am making a personal note that the next time brokenness comes into my life, I hope it will be from something that is beyond my control.  I don’t want to experience the natural consequence of brokenness because of my repeated failure to listen and obey God or my anger or unforgiveness, nor do I want it to be because of my pride or my need for control. I don’t want it to be because I forge ahead of God because I am too impatient or afraid to trust the one who holds my future.


1. Has God ever changed you for his glory through the brokenness in your life?
2. Are you currently experiencing a storm of destruction in your life?
3. Is God asking you to surrender your emotions or your need for control into his capable hands?
4. Has God been faithful to you in the past?
5. Do you believe that God is all that you need and will be more than enough in the future?


Dear God,

Help me not to despise when brokenness comes into my life. Rather, help me to surrender my life into your gentle hands for redirection, comfort, and peace. I ask that you still every storm in my life. I know that you hear the one who cries out in their trouble. Father you are the one who guides me out of my distress. Father I believe with all my heart that you are able to still the storm to a whisper and hush the waves of this sea. I will pray and I will expect your calm to come to my life until this storm passes over. God, help me to be sensitive to your voice. I want to learn to obey you sooner opposed to later. Help me God to receive with joy the purpose that you have for me as a result of every storm. God, I want to thank you for all of the wonderful times in my life that you have positioned people in my life to help me, teach me, and to guide me in your ways. God, I even want to thank you for the times of brokenness in my life. Why do you love me so much that you would even bother? God, I know there have been relationships in my life that were in need of repair, but out of that brokenness you repaired me! Lord I have grieved, but as you promised, you comforted me with the oil of gladness for those who mourn. God, you know there have been many times in my life when I wondered how I would make it, but you God have always sent the needed bread. Thank you! Why me Lord? Why are you so good to me? You are all that I need and more than enough.

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Why Do We Suffer?

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble
with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Most of us understand that if we do a certain thing or behave in a certain way there will be natural consequences. Still, it is especially hard to understand why bad things happen to good people. The ugly truth is that sometimes individuals are in the right place, but unfortunately, at the wrong time. Other times the sin of another person affects us as well. Crimes occur just because evil has entered the hearts of humanity, and natural disasters come unexpectedly and are out of our control.

Understanding suffering requires us to take a walk back to the closed and guarded gate of the Garden of Eden. You do remember that it was because of Adam and Eve’s sin that we have temporarily lost the privilege of living in that perfect garden. Because through one man, Adam, sin entered the world and now we cannot enjoy what God originally created for our well being, safety, provision, and enjoyment. However, it is through another man, Jesus Christ, that we who love and accept him will gain permission to enter back into the perfect sinless garden of heaven when we exit this earth.

Therefore, because of sin, suffering is a part of this life. All of us need God to help us through difficult times. After Jesus conquered death and went back to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit to live inside of every believer. Before Jesus returned to heaven, he told his followers that in this world they would have trouble. Jesus promised that he would neither abandon nor leave us without instruction, comfort, power and peace. He told his followers that he must return to heaven so that his Spirit could come and live within the heart of every believer.

As a man, Jesus could not be everywhere at the same time. But, he promised his followers that after he returned to the Father, he would send the Holy Spirit to earth to be with all believers every moment of every day. The Holy Spirit would be available and on the job without a single interruption of time or space. The very Spirit of God would come and permeate, fill, and abide at the very center of our spiritual being. Our body would be his temple. The Holy Spirit would be our very present help in trouble.

Jesus kept that promise and we who love him are able to participate in a sweet fellowship that is known only to those who belong to him. This personal fellowship is hidden from the eyes of all those who do not seek to know their Creator and refuse to reach out in simple faith and ask Jesus Christ to come into their life. God has extended an open invitation to all mankind to participate in this “special” fellowship but at the same time this fellowship excludes all who refuse to believe.

We also know that God is able to make good things happen even in the midst of a bad circumstance. Even though suffering is a part of this life, it is wonderful to know that our suffering will never be void of value. Those who experience suffering often become more compassionate. Because of their experience, they are now equipped to understand, help, and comfort others who may be experiencing the same type of suffering they have experienced. "…the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

Through trials, we come to the realization that we cannot endure the hard edge of life in our own strength. We become acutely aware that we need God’s strength and comfort to get us through hard times. It is through suffering that we learn to trust God.

God also uses our suffering to build our character. God uses the trials in this life to shape us into His image. If we trust God, most of us exit our adversity as a changed person. Our faith becomes stronger, we learn to be more compassionate, more tolerant, more merciful, more patient, and we become a more trusting child of God. We also become a recipient of God’s faithfulness and love. It is for those changes and gifts we can always be thankful.

When we suffer, it provides an opportunity for God to show up in our lives. God’s faithfulness is amazing! When we share with others how God provided, comforted and sustained us, we become an incredible witness to the power and faithfulness of God. This type of witness always brings God glory. God also receives glory when we remain faithful during our trials. Yes, bad things happen to good people, but it is so wonderful to know that Jesus has prayed for you and for me “…Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you… that your faith may not fail.” Luke 22:32a NIV

God uses our unfailing faith during trials to bring him glory. God does not seek glory in the same way we humans do. God is not a prideful glory seeker. No, God seeks glory so that the lost world will recognize him. God does this because he is so in love with his lost creation. God wants to get us all back home safe and secure. For that reason, God uses our suffering for his glory. It is an opportunity for others to see that glory and desire to find and follow Jesus.

Even though it seems that some people never suffer I am sure they do. No one has the perfect life. God is always looking for opportunities to work in every person’s life and bring about positive change. God wants to bring about change in our life that will make us look more like him. God created us in his image and he does not want that image to be blemished in any way. We blemish God’s good name when we blame him for our trouble. When we refuse to trust God in our suffering, and when we live our life defeated by the troubles we encounter God is not glorified.

People who do not know the Lord may seem successful and happy but they are still searching for meaning in life. Men and women masquerade behind a false set of world values. Some shout, “Look at me, I’m successful, I have it all together, life is one big party!” Yet, behind closed doors, their life may be quite different. God uses even the trials of discontentment and loneliness, disappointment and rejection as a means of offering opportunity for people to come back into a loving relationship with him. Running back to the Father is the only way that anyone can enter the perfection of heaven and enjoy the Heavenly Father forever.

There are many reasons why we suffer. The unchangeable truth is that God cares about all that concerns us. Only a god void of love would allow us to breeze through life without pain and suffering. Our God wants us to know we are in need of him and he wants to rescue us for all eternity. Heaven holds many rewards for those who remain faithful during their times of suffering. God is faithful to us and we must in return be faithful to him!


1. Are you baffled when good people suffer and those who do not honor God seem to be living life free of adversity?
2. Are you having difficulty understanding your current trial?
3. As you suffer will you dare pray, “God, make me better, not bitter?”
4. Can you name one good thing that has come out of your suffering?
5. Do you know someone who is suffering something that you have experience in the past?
6. Would you be willing to send a note, speak words of comfort to that individual, or maybe just listen as they share their pain?


Dear Jesus,

There have been days that I could not eat or sleep and days that I could not get out of bed. Some days I did not even want to go on living. Somehow, you rescued me! I know you have suffered more than I have or ever will. Help me to get my eyes off myself and give me the strength and desire to comfort someone else who is in need. I thank you that your Word says that I need not go through this devastating trial alone. Help me to seek your comfort, wisdom and strength during this difficult time. Lord, I pray that my attitude will indeed bring glory to your name as I walk this road of suffering. Jesus, it is my desire to remain faithful to you. I pray that through this suffering I will become a better person. Please protect me and guard my mind so that I will not become a bitter person. Jesus, I choose to believe you are going to use my hard times for my personal good and your glory. Thank you for being a God of comfort and a God who sustains me each difficult day. Jesus, I am moved to tears to know that you are praying for me that my faith will not fail. This knowledge is one more reason I am falling deeper and deeper in love with you! Thank you that all that concerns me also concerns you.

In Your name I pray. Amen.