The Father’s Love

[Author’s Note: This was written for someone very dear to me who never knew the love of his earthly father. If you are a woman reading this, please read boy, man, son as pertaining to you as girl, woman, daughter.]

There is in every man a small boy waiting to emerge into the man God has destined him to be. But, sadly, for many boys their soul bears the deep wound of a childhood that knew little or nothing of a father’s love; a wound wrought with pain and rejection and abuse; an unhealed wound which he carries unawares into his adulthood; a wound intensified by a life that has delivered him only more pain – a life wrought with rejection and loss and grief and brokenness.

To this man, and every man, the heavenly Father says, “My son, release yourself from your self-sufficiency to fix yourself and heal your own wounds; this is what I do for you – what My love does for you. All your efforts to be a better man than your own father have been futile attempts because you haven’t fully embraced My love for you. All your efforts to heal your own wounds have been futile because you haven’t lost yourself in My love and allowed yourself to experience how wide and long and high and deep My love is for you. Believing in Me and in My love for you is not enough; you must receive My love and lose yourself in it, for only then will you truly be able to love yourself and then rightly and truly love others as I call My children to do.”

“My son, only I can fix your brokenness and heal you, but I cannot do this if you do not embrace and accept My love. When you do not receive My love, you not only remain broken and unhealed, but you are essentially rejecting Me, for I am Love. Without My love fully residing and alive in you, you cannot be the man you want to be. Every day the forces of evil are waging war over your soul, trying to keep you bound to your past and your wounds because they know that I have created you for so much more than you can even begin to comprehend. But these evil forces will not have the victory because My love for you is more powerful than the most powerful lies Satan and his demons tell you.”

“O My son, open yourself up to receive and experience My love that is unlike any other; a love that is everlasting and never fails; a love that is honest and true and never lies; a love that always protects; a love that fights for you and will never let you go; a love that calls you ‘My beloved son and child’ and never speaks a harsh word to you; a love that is kind and comforts; a love that forgives and is full of mercy.”  

“Lose yourself, My son, in this love of Mine. Embrace it as you have never embraced love before. Cease striving to fix and heal yourself and let My love wash over your wounds as a soothing balm and medicine to your soul. Surrender your need to prove your worth by how well you can fix your life, and need My love as you have never needed anything before. Then, and only then, My son, will the wounded boy in you be the whole and healed man I have destined you to be. Then, and only then, will you be all that I have created you to be – free to live and love in my extravagant love for you.”

“I love you, My son!”

Signed,

Your Heavenly Father

Prepare Him Room

While singing Joy to the World during worship at church, the phrase “prepare Him room” took on a whole new meaning as I considered what it really means to prepare room in our hearts for Jesus during the Christmas season. I am not referring, however, to simply slowing down from the hustle and bustle and busyness of the Christmas season and taking time to be still and focus on the birth of Jesus – “the reason for the season” as the saying goes. I am referring, more specifically, to how we make room for Jesus in our hearts when all that seems to consume our hearts during the Christmas season is hurt and pain and heartache.

Whether it’s grieving the loss of a loved one, bearing the pain of a severed marriage or other relationship, struggling with the devastating effects of job loss, or any number of things that grieve and pain us, the great challenge is how do we allow Jesus to fill our hearts during a season that should be filled with celebration and rejoicing, but all we feel is brokenness and pain.

There is no text book answer as we contemplate this dilemma, for our pain and hurt are vastly more complex than many of the text book answers and solutions the world offers. I can only speak from my own present situation of brokenness, which has left my heart in pieces and tears my daily companion. During a season of the year that should fill my heart with joy and laughter, my heart is consumed instead with pain and weeping. This is not to say that I am completely without joy or hope; only that I am learning how to navigate this Christmas season with the grace that God offers me each new day to rise and simply allow myself to rest in His unseen arms. Every morning I awake still very conscious of the pain and hurt, yet also very conscious of God’s presence and the grace of His healing touch to sooth my aching heart and assure me that I am not alone in my pain and suffering.

During the Christmas season, this is how all of us prepare room in our hearts for Jesus regardless of our painful circumstances. That is, we do not deny that the pain and hurt are present and real, but we simply allow ourselves to grieve as often and as much as we need to. And in doing so, we allow ourselves to rest in God’s unseen arms of grace and in the bosom of His abundant love, letting Him wrap His loving and grace-filled arms around us as only our heavenly Father can.

No matter what you are going through right now, my friend, remember that your circumstances do not define your joy; Jesus defines your joy. So look to Him in the midst of your grief, to the One who is “the reason for the season,” and you will surprisingly find yourself singing with the choirs of men and angels “Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room. And heaven and nature sing. . . ”

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

Name Above All Names

One aspect Scripture places on trusting God is the emphasis on trusting in His name. Psalm 33:20-22 says, “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” But what does it mean to trust in God’s name? How can our focus on the name of God help us in the midst of our trials and suffering?

To trust in the name of God means we acknowledge that God’s name is above every other name. God is sovereign, and His name is holy. No circumstance, no person, no other god is a match for the sovereign and holy God of the universe. Nothing – absolutely nothing – can compete with the Name above all names. David expresses this truth in Psalm 138:1-2, “I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.”

God is exalted above all things, and His name is exalted above all things. This means that everything dark and evil and painful in this world is only a name. Divorce, cancer, Coronavirus, barrenness, unemployment – these are just names and are no comparison to the Name above all names. And when we consider our brokenness and sin, these are just a name as well, for God’s name is Love and Mercy and Forgiveness. No matter how deep our sin, God’s forgiveness reaches deeper. No matter how far we have wandered from God, His loving and merciful arms reach farther to bring us back to Him. No matter how helpless we feel our condition is, when we find it impossible to change anything, God can change everything. What great reasons these are to trust God unreservedly!

So let us be counted among those who know God’s name and put their trust in Him. Then we can confidently proclaim along with David, “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you” (Ps. 9:9-10).

Let your soul rest, my friend, in the Name above all names. Trust in God no matter what your situation is, and know that His steadfast love and faithfulness are yours in abundance.

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

The Goodness of God

“God is good.” While this is certainly a true statement of our heavenly Father’s character, in times of suffering God’s goodness often comes into question. How could such a loving God and Father allow us to endure such devastating circumstances? Why doesn’t He stop the pain and suffering? Certainly the all-powerful and sovereign God of the universe, who is in control of all things, could intervene in our circumstances and the world around us to alleviate suffering. So why doesn’t He?

The psalmist David expresses God’s goodness in Psalm 31:19: “Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!” Here, David tells us that God treasures up His goodness. It is stored up, or kept in reserve, for those who fear Him and take refuge in Him until they need it, then He graciously distributes it. It is similar to what the farmer does when the fields are ready for harvest – he waits and stores up the crop until it is required to harvest and distribute. So it is with the goodness of God. He does not empty it out in mass quantities all at once for us to appropriate, but keeps it in reserve until we need it.

This doesn’t mean that God is only good some of the time or only when we need Him to be. It simply means that God, who gives us so many rich things to enjoy, distributes His goodness in abundance as need arises. We never need to fear that we could ever come to the end of God’s goodness, for it is impossible for Him never to have more to give. We can never reach the limit of God’s blessings and goodness.

One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. (Ps. 145:4-9)

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. (Ps. 145:17)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Ps. 34:8)

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Ps. 100:5)

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. (Ps. 25:8)

Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God’s will)? (Rom. 2:4, AMPC)

When we find ourselves in times of suffering and in need of God’s goodness, we discover He is there to supply us with all that is necessary to carry us through the dark valley. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Ps. 23:4). When we have strayed from God and are overwhelmed by the weight of our sin, God’s goodness leads us to repentance. The best of God’s goodness is stored up for us for any and every situation. We can never exhaust God’s goodness nor escape from His abiding presence. Psalm 139:7-12 gives us this assurance.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

God is good and He wants us to experience His goodness. But a life of ease and prosperity provides little opportunity to experience the abundance of God’s goodness. It is through times of suffering that we get to know God better and experience the vast depths and dimensions of His goodness. So let us not grow weary or hardened of heart in the midst of suffering, for God is doing a great work in us as He leads us to experience His goodness in ways we could never have otherwise known!

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

Heaven In Our Eyes

I think one of the greatest challenges we face in the midst of suffering is keeping our focus on the eternal. When we are weighed down by the weight of our trials, our eyes naturally fixate on our burdens and what is going on around us. So how do we change our focus from the earthly to the eternal? How do we keep heaven in our eyes while earth is weighing us down with trials and suffering? The author of Hebrews helps us focus our attention heavenward by calling us to remember those who have gone before us. Read what he says in Hebrews 12:1-3:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted

Just prior to this, in chapter 11, we read of the many men and women who, by faith, believed and accomplished the impossible, and many of whom “were tortured, refusing to accept release, so they might rise again to a better life” (v. 35). These saints also “suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains of imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about…destitute, afflicted, mistreated” (vv. 36-37). These “great cloud of witnesses” are our motivation and encouragement to persevere in the midst of our suffering. Even more so, we look to Jesus who endured the cross for our sake, and is now seated in heaven with God the Father. Consequently, God has “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6), hence granting us citizenship in heaven through “Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Php. 3:20-21).

Our trials are painful, and suffering is inevitable, but if we learn to focus our attention on heaven and the glory that awaits us there, we unexpectedly find ourselves sharing in Paul’s grand profession of confidence: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18). Paul reaffirms this profession in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

No matter what trials or suffering we face, let us keep heaven in our eyes. Let us remember that our afflictions are light and temporary compared to the eternal weight of glory that is ours in heaven. Likewise, let us be steadfast in faith, remembering that we are not alone in our suffering: “[Be] firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Pet. 5:9-10).

Keep heaven in your eyes, my friends! No matter what your are going through, remember that heaven is a far greater prize than the trials we endure here on earth.

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

By Faith

Unquestionably, many are familiar with 2 Corinthians 5:7: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” This is certainly a Scripture verse that gives us hope and encouragement as we journey through life with its many trials, but I wonder how many people actually understand this verse in its context of what Paul is writing.

Here is what Paul writes in verses 1 through 8:

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 

Paul opens the chapter with “For we know.” He has just contrasted our light temporary affliction with an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, and things that are seen and temporary with things that are unseen and eternal (2 Cor. 4:17-18). Paul then proceeds to write more about this contrast between the earthly and the eternal.

In verse 1 Paul says the “tent that is our earthly home” is merely temporary, one that will ultimately be “destroyed” by physical death. But then Paul introduces the grand contrast that, though we die and leave our earthly body, we have “a building from God,” a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. This means we are more than our bodies and explains why Paul could consider all the pain and suffering he endured in his body as light temporary affliction compared to the eternal weight of glory to come.

Paul continues in verses 2 through 4 in speaking about our earthly bodies groaning because of the burdens of life. Consequently, we long “to put on our heavenly dwelling,” to put on our eternal bodies like new clothing. Christians groan because we see both the limitations and frailties of our physical bodies and the superiority and glory of our bodies awaiting us in heaven. Hence, we earnestly desire our new bodies, not because we want to get rid of our earthly bodies, but because we want to have a perfect, resurrected body. We desire to be clothed in our heavenly bodies “so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “Death is swallowed up in victory.” When we receive our eternal bodies, life completely conquers death. When we receive our eternal bodies, the groanings of this life – the affliction, the pain, the suffering – will seem but light and temporary in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that is beyond all comparison.

Therefore, we are all the more hopeful because God “has prepared us for this very thing” and “given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” Presently, God is preparing us for our eternal destiny. That God is preparing us for eternity is Paul’s way of saying that our light temporary affliction is working towards our eternal weight of glory. But Paul also understands that when the trials and suffering are difficult on earth, it isn’t always easy to take comfort in our eternal destiny. That is why God “has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” God assures the promise of heaven with the presence of His Holy Spirit right now.

So then, “we are always of good courage.” Just as the presence of the Holy Spirit in Paul’s life gave him courage and confidence, we too can be confident of the Spirit’s presence in our lives. Moreover, the day will come when we will no longer be “away from the Lord” but present with Him in heaven. Right now, however, our eternal glory and destiny is a matter of faith. Because we are “at home in the body” and “away from the Lord,” we therefore must “walk by faith” as we await our eternal glory in heaven. But on that day when we are in the glorious presence of God, we will not have to “walk by faith,” but we will behold the glory and presence of God “by sight.”

Because “we are still in this tent,” in our earthly bodies, we will groan as we encounter life’s trials and suffering. Yet “we are of good courage.” Why can we attest to such confidence? Because we have the promise that even though we presently live in our earthly bodies and are not yet “at home with the Lord,” we know our new resurrection body and home awaits us in heaven.

Let us, then, along with Paul, consider the trials and suffering we endure as light temporary affliction compared to the eternal weight of glory to come. Let us “walk by faith” and “not by sight” in the reality of God’s presence with us and the certainty of heaven that awaits us.

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

Triumphal Procession

Our world is in the midst of a great crisis and pandemic with COVID-19. Incidentally, we are also in the midst of Holy Week, a time of reflecting upon Christ’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem and culminating in the celebration of His resurrection on Easter Sunday. Yet, we celebrate Easter in hindsight of events that, some 2000 years ago, didn’t appear to be anything but tragic. As Jesus was mocked and beaten and hung on a cross to die like a common criminal, His triumphal procession into Jerusalem didn’t seem so triumphant. Similarly, many are questioning today what good, if any, can possibly come from such devastation and tragedy as COVID-19. Is there anything redeeming or triumphant in such a crisis?

The astounding answer is “yes.” Look at what God says in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15:

14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.

Did you notice the astounding phrase “God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession”? Wow! As Christians, we share in Christ’s triumphal procession. How so? This Scripture says that, through us, God “spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of [Christ] everywhere,” and that “we are the aroma of Christ to God” to the world. As Christ’s representatives here on earth, we bring the precious and sweet fragrance of His light and hope to a dark and devastating situation. Ephesians 5:2 tells us that “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, [as] a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” This is the redeeming and triumphant message of hope to a world devastated with tragedy and loss. This message is the “aroma of Christ” we share with the world.

Two thousand years ago, on that dreadful Friday as Jesus hung dying on cross, no one saw that Sunday was coming. No one perceived that on Sunday good would emerge as Jesus rose from the grave. What was only seen as a dreadful day in history is now Good Friday, and we know that Sunday is coming! We know we have reason to celebrate!

No matter where we are, no matter what we are going through, we have a great opportunity to be the aroma of Christ to the world. Christ died and rose again to redeem a lost and broken world. This is the message of ultimate triumph. This is the redeeming message of hope in the midst of all that is devastating and painful. This is the fragrant message Christians spread. It is a message that believes and speaks that good can and will emerge from the devastation and tragedy before us, just as it did 2000 years ago. We may not see it now, but Sunday is coming!

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

Hope Against Hope

I was reading Romans 4 the other day and verse 18 jumped off the page at me. Ever have one of those moments? You know the Bible story or passage well – have read and studied it numerous times – and suddenly you see something you’ve never seen before. In telling of Abraham’s faith regarding the promise of Isaac, Paul writes in Romans 4:18, “In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, ‘So shall your offspring be.’” Did you see the magnificent statement “In hope he believed against hope”?

Another way to say this is that even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway. Look at the story in context of Romans 4:18-21:

18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

We can glean a lot of encouragement from this passage because all of us encounter seemingly hopeless situations. When Abraham considered his own body, which was as good as dead, and likewise Sarah’s womb, his faith did not waver concerning God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. Notice that Abraham brought glory to God while he was waiting for the promise to be fulfilled. In spite of what seemed like a hopeless situation, Abraham was “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised,” and never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, while he waited his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. In hoping and waiting and believing, Abraham gave glory to God.

No matter what trials or suffering we encounter in life, no matter how hopeless our situation may appear, God’s promises are our confident hope. God is faithful. It is who He is. Whether it’s a Bible verse that God gives us as a promise of hope for our situation, or a Scripture promise pertaining to our spiritual welfare, God will bring it to fulfillment. No promise of His has ever failed and cannot fail because of His honor and character. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” (Num. 23:19). Whether God’s promises are related to time or eternity, to our physical life or spiritual well-being, God will bring them to completion. Because of all God is in Himself, He cannot go back on His Word or promises.

No matter what you are going through, my friend, keep hoping and keep believing. Though the waiting is difficult, and often times very painful, don’t give up! Lift up your heart to God, cry out to Him, and remain fully convinced that He is able to do what He has promised. Regardless of what is happening around you and what your circumstances tell you, hope against hope in our promise-keeping God!

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

 

Because He Lives

Fear. Uncertainty. Panic. These are just a few of the many human reactions to the Coronavirus that is affecting our world in unprecedented ways. Add to this our own personal trials that are affecting our ability to cope with life, and we wonder how we can possibly survive an international health crisis amidst our daily struggle to endure what is already overwhelming us. Bad news, indeed.

But there is good news for us in the midst of it all. Jesus is alive and well in the world! And because He is, we do not need to fear these uncertain times. The Christian hymn Because He Lives perfectly sums up the “good news” we need to hear and know. Ponder the first two stanzas:

God sent His son, they called Him Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon;
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow;
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living, just because He lives!

What good news – no, great news – this is! Because Jesus lives, and because “He holds the future,” we do not fret and worry as those who have no hope. The world is full of people who live without the understanding and personal experience of salvation in Jesus. But for those of us who know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we do not fear as the world fears. We do not panic in uncertain times but find our peace in Jesus.

Because the grave has no hold on Jesus and He has conquered death, His resurrection life is proof that He lives. And because He lives, we “can face tomorrow.” Because He lives, “life is worth the living” no matter what personal suffering or world crisis we encounter. Yes, the future is always uncertain, but our certainty is in Jesus who “holds the future.” Our hope and peace are not in circumstances but in Jesus, and we can trust the future to Him!

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

Burdened Beyond Our Strength

Undoubtedly, we have all been there. Life’s circumstances have completely consumed us and we feel like we just can’t take anymore. Overwhelmed with our trials and the drudgery of day-to-day living, wondering when we will ever find relief, we despair of life itself. We never imagined that life would get so difficult or that our life’s circumstances would be so unbearable, and we question how we can possibly go on.

If you have ever been in this place, then you know from personal experience that the statement “God never gives us more than we can handle” simply isn’t true. This widely touted cliche is rooted in a misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 10:13, which states that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.” This verse is speaking of temptations, not trials. In context of chapter 10, you plainly see that God is speaking of the Israelites “with [whom] most of them God was not pleased” (v. 5), and gives us the warning “that we might not desire evil as they did” (v. 6). Moreover, in speaking of the consequences for their sins, God says that “these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction…Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability” (vv. 11-13).

God has never said that He wouldn’t give us more than we can handle. And He has never said that the trials we endure will be bearable. In fact, Scripture even attests to the fact that we can be burdened beyond our strength. Look at what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:8: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” So if God does allow us to endure more than we can handle, then how are we to handle life’s unbearable circumstances? This is the big question!

The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 1:9, the verse following Paul’s confession that he and his fellow workers were burdened beyond their strength. Ponder closely what Paul says: “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” Do you see it? Paul says that as a result of being unable to endure, to the point of feeling that he “had received the sentence of death,” he no longer relied on himself but learned to rely on God.

This is exactly what we are called to do in our unbearable circumstances. No matter what we are going through, we can rely on God and trust in His strength and power to sustain us. Speaking of the thorn in his flesh, look at what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When faced with the inevitable difficulties of life, Paul learned to rely on God’s grace and strength and power to sustain and strengthen him. We can learn to do the same. With God as our all-sufficient source and supply of strength and power, we can endure all things. No matter what we are going through, the key to overcoming our burdensome circumstances is not trying to be strong in ourselves, but letting God’s power and strength fill and empower us.

No matter what trials are overwhelming you, “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ep. 6:10). God is bigger and stronger and mightier than anything you are facing, and you can trust Him to comfort, strengthen, and sustain you each and every day!

In God’s divine love,

Peggy

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