His unrestrained mercy in the valley of lament…

“As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me. “
  Psalm 40:11-12

Elizabeth magnolia, Cleveland Botanical Gardens

Do you ever come before God in prayer and feel as though there is nothing else in your heart but weariness? I do. There have been days lately when the posture of entering his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (Psalm 100:4) has not come all that naturally. David had those moments, too. In fact the Book of Psalms speaks of the many times he lamented before God. King David, the mighty warrior who slew tens of thousands, also broke down in desperate cries for help towards the God he loved.

I never had a problem believing that God allows suffering and that his children are not immune to emotional grief and pain. I have experienced sorrows early in life but for the most part, I refused to lament. I did not understand why Jesus said “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 Mourning, even when it was absolutely appropriate, seemed like a waste of time and tears. I was afraid of getting trapped in a useless emotional quicksand when what I wanted was to be done with grief, as soon as possible. Just preach Romans 8:28 to me please and let’s move on (now). Unlike the psalmist, I had no desire to talk to God about my sorrows.

Later in life I eventually realized that God lovingly listens to our lament. “You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry” Psalm 10:17 (NIV). Jesus promises comfort to those who mourn and he looks tenderly at our honest expression of need. When we are too proud to look at our losses, when we would rather hide our wounds and deny the weariness of our souls, we are shutting the doors through which his grace and mercy flow.

A faith-filled Christian is not a stoic human being unaffected by grief. Such is not the character of our Savior – “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). On the cross, Jesus cried “I thirst.” (John 19:28) He even pleaded to his Father “why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) He who knows the depths of our hearts will not despise our cries of anguish. He who designed us to experience both gladness and sadness delights in hearing our praises as well as our pleas.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” John 16:20

To lament requires humility – to admit before God that we are not strong, we are not able, we are not enough. It is not an act of arrogance or hostility towards God. When we lament as the psalmist did, we embrace our nothingness and acknowledge our greatest need which is Christ. Biblical lament involves turning our eyes to God instead of focusing on the self. This takes us to a place of grace where we become little and Christ becomes much. There is perhaps no other path on our journey wherein the Good Shepherd walks the closest with us than through the valley of lament. In times of deepest need, we realize we have nothing of worth to give to him, and yet he gives of himself to us in abundance as he preserves and strengthens us. He meets us in our weakness with his steadfast love and faithfulness. He does not restrain his mercy but lavishly pours it out to sustain and transform us.

Endurance and compassion are not learned in the lofty peaks of victory. They are formed in our character as we lament before our Lord during those long nights in the hospital, through tears over a loved one’s grave, when failure becomes all too familiar and relationships are beyond repair. Here in the valley of lament, Christ draws us to himself who is our Light and leads us to the next step on our journey even though the fog that surrounds us has not fully lifted. We grow in gratitude as we discover that indeed, there is enough light where we are standing as long as we are standing with him.

“Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering. The love of God is of a different nature altogether. It does not hate tragedy. It never denies reality. It stands in the very teeth of suffering.” Elisabeth Elliot

Fog over Lac Leman, Port d’Ouchy, Switzerland

The precious gift of time

Astronomical Clock, Saint Jean Cathedral, Lyon, France

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14

I was almost done with Kindergarten when my parents gave me a real watch for the very first time. It was a hand-me-down German-made mechanical watch that had to be wound every day or else it slows down and eventually stops. But I was thrilled about the fact that I could now tell the time… anytime. No need to go to our dining room where the wall clock hung in our home. No need to walk from my seat in the classroom to look at the hallway clock in our school. I simply had to direct my eyes to my wrist and I would get an almost pleasurable sense of security simply by knowing exactly what time it was. My watch quickly became one of my favorite things. Unbeknownst to me, my 6-year old human nature was already revealing signs of a rigid preoccupation with timeliness and efficiency – great gifts which, sadly, could easily be turned into idols (which I did).

That time I was wrong about time…

There is no shortage of slogans about the preciousness of time and like most people, I thought I had a correct understanding of the value of time. When I read scripture verses that spoke about the temporal nature of things and how fleeting this life really is, my immediate response would be to resolve to do things even more quickly; not necessarily with more wisdom nor with greater love and compassion – just faster. I was wrong about my perception of time in many ways, but primarily, in the sense that I thought it belonged to me. Such perspective ironically caused me to be enslaved to that which I wanted to control. This bondage was evident in those less than pleasant reactions whenever my schedule was ruined. Anxiety crept in at the mere thought of being late for something, not because of a self-sacrificing respect of other people’s time but because I was protecting my reputation of being always on time. It was difficult to hide my frustration when people I worked with didn’t value time as much as I did. I took pride in my ability to manage time well. Everything I did was driven by efficiency. But the bible says faster is not always better. In fact a very wise king wrote, “The race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong.” Ecclesiastes 9:11

Time is God’s instrument…

Time is the brush of God as he paints his masterpiece on the heart of humanity. ” Ravi Zacharias

Time is God’s instrument. He who is eternal and is therefore not bound by the limits of time works out his will each and every moment. He made everything beautiful in his time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11. Time is a tool that he can use in a powerful way. Like all of creation, time is at his disposal. He commands the passage of time as he lovingly fulfills his purpose in our lives. He who is perfect never runs out of time. As a child of God, I have freedom to completely trust him who supplies all my needs to likewise carve the right amount of time that is necessary to obey His will, to grieve through loss, to pray each day, to build relationships, and to be restored. All of these take time. Time that he generously provides. Patience becomes possible when in meekness and humility, we begin to believe and trust that he who determines the ticking of the clock, the passing of each wave, the rising and setting of the sun, is a God who alone possesses complete knowledge and understanding of what is best for us. Faith is believing not only that God will do what he said he will do but also that he will accomplish it at the time that he chooses.

Trust in his time frame…

When I fix my eyes on God and His Word, and not on the clock, waiting becomes worship. He said “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 40:10 Stewardship of time grows and matures as an outcome of a much greater delight in the person of Jesus Christ himself and a deeper desire to do his will. “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8

As we are being transformed to reflect Christ’s image to an anxious world, let us trust in his time frame and yield to his rhythm. We are not to be idle or complacent (that is definitely not Christ-like) but neither should we be deceived into thinking that we could go even half a beat faster or an inch of a step further than what he had planned for us. Otherwise our journey will miss out on joy because joy is only found in absolute surrender to Jesus.

“There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”  Elisabeth Elliot

L’horlogue fleurie (flower clock), Geneva, Switzerland

Rejoicing in the splendor of my Maker

Early morning fog over the Swiss Alps and Lac Leman

“Awake O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you O Lord among the peoples, I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Psalm 108:2-4

I recently finished re-reading The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and was greatly blessed once again by this literary masterpiece. Each chapter in this allegory is so rich in biblical wisdom that one can keep a blog going simply by unraveling the layers of truth and deeper meaning symbolized by a character or place – such as The Delectable Mountains.

Pilgrims: “Whose Delectable Mountains are these?”
Shepherds: “These mountains are Immanuel’s Land, and they are within sight of his city…”

I do think that out of God’s goodness and mercy, He allows us to pause briefly from our respective journeys and sets us upon a vantage point where He gives us a glimpse of heaven. In our own Delectable Mountains, we, like the pilgrims, are refreshed and strengthened so that we can keep going until we reach our celestial gate.

“So wait before the Lord; Wait in the stillness. And in that stillness, assurance will come to you. You will know that you are heard; you will know that your Lord ponders the voice of your humble desires; you will hear quiet words spoken to you yourself, perhaps to your grateful surprise and refreshment.” -Amy Carmichael

I am presently celebrating my birthday in Europe with my husband and we just had an opportunity to admire the Swiss and French Alps via Lake Geneva or Lac Leman. To say that these mountains are beautiful is an understatement. As a believer, I could not look at them and not be in awe of the God who created them; the God who created me.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”Psalm 139:14

I am thankful for the gift of life and this time of rest. But I am even more thankful that this life is not about me and that I get to participate in the story that our God has written for His glory through His Son Jesus Christ who is my Lord and Savior. During this time away from work, His Spirit has filled me with a renewed sense of wonder of who Jesus is, whose fingerprints I see all around me.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:6

Like the psalmist, I am rejoicing in my Maker. I will not remain in this physical place of rest forever, but I can rest my heart in Him all the days of my life. Here in my Delectable Mountains, He has reminded me of His glory and splendor, and that to be satisfied in Him alone, remains my highest call. Joy is delighting in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is and will be my joy wherever He takes me.

The Alps and Lake Geneva from the promenade of Port D’Ouchy, Lausanne, Switzerland

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory…” 1 Peter 1:8

The love that compels us…

Montserrat (serrated mountain) Catalonia, Spain

Montserrat is a beautiful mountain range not far from Barcelona. The name stands for “serrated mountain” which is very descriptive of its physical form. During a Christmas vacation, my entire family (except for me) went on a hike to one of its peaks. While I was standing at the base where the train dropped us off to visit the monastery and museum, I briefly looked at the height of this enormous mountain in front of me, and quickly decided that a snack of chocolate y churros at the nearby cafe was more appealing. Unfortunately for me, I missed a once in a lifetime experience I could have shared with the people I love the most.

“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend; 
The difficulty will not me offend. 
For I perceive the way to life lies here. 
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear. 
Better, though difficult, the right way to go, 
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.” 
― John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

What motivates us to climb our mountains? What compels us to choose to do something even though it’s hard or risky? Some would take up a challenge to satisfy a sense of adventure. For others, it’s a response to the call of duty and even heroism. Many would take risks and sacrifice comfort when there are significant benefits to be gained in return.

The apostle Paul who undoubtedly took great risks to follow Jesus, gave us his reason when he wrote to the Corinthians: “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

The love of Christ and gospel truth equipped Paul to endure everything from illness to imprisonment, from shipwrecks to snakebites; he was in danger with his own people and in danger with the Gentiles; he faced danger in the wilderness and danger at sea; he would go days without food and nights without sleep. We only need to read 2 Corinthians 11:16-33 to realize that there was absolutely no physical place of safety in his life and ministry. But that never stopped him. Why? It’s the love of Christ and gospel truth. He was willing to risk it all. “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Phil 1:20-21

In his book Risk is Right, John Piper wrote this about Paul’s sufferings: “Affliction raised his sword to cut off the head of Paul’s faith. But instead the hand of faith snatched the arm of affliction and forced it to cut off part of Paul’s worldliness. Affliction is made the servant of godliness and humility and love. Satan meant it for evil, but God meant it for good. The enemy became Paul’s slave and worked for him an even greater weight of glory than he would have ever had without the fight. In that way Paul— and every follower of Christ—is more than a conqueror.”

To this day, followers of Christ who suffer great persecution pray for faithful obedience, more than they pray for a change of circumstances. No, it’s not a sense of adventure or a sense of heroism that sustains the people of God. It is only the love of Christ and the grace he provides that can crush the idols of safety and security, and free us to live courageously for His glory. Some of us are being prompted by the Holy Spirit to take a step of faith in a certain direction and haven’t done so because we’re still counting the potential losses of doing so. We may have been procrastinating and sitting on the fence because choosing one way or the other would entail significant risks. I pray we may have faith that Christ has indeed freed us to no longer live for ourselves and that we may find strength in the truth that nothing can ever separate us from the love of Christ who is worth our all.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation,or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35,38-39

Yes, Jesus is worth it all….

Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot

The One who holds us…

“And He is before all things and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

The patient population I serve is very prone to skin cancer, hence we have a once weekly clinic that is devoted purely to surgical removals of basal or squamous cell carcinomas and even thin melanomas. These procedures are pretty straightforward and only minimally invasive. The actual excision of the tumor itself is fairly quick. What requires more time and patience is the process of closing the surgical wound, which is often done in two layers. The superficial row of stitches, the one that the patient can see, closes just the very top layers of the skin and improves the cosmetic appearance of the final scar. Buried underneath, however, is the more critical set of sutures that bear the tension of the wound and hold the full thickness of the skin together, while healing takes place in the next several weeks. Each and every dermatology resident who has worked with me would have been indoctrinated about the importance of those deep sutures in repairing the surgical defect and preventing wound dehiscence (i.e. separation of the wound edges).

What is holding us…

Stonehenge Monument, England

Ancient ruins attract lots of visitors. For approximately 20 British pounds each, my husband and I (and a multitude of other tourists) were allowed a close-up view of the sarsens and bluestones that make up the Stonehenge monument just north of Salisbury, England. Mysterious and fascinating, this circular arrangement of megaliths, is one of Europe’s most remarkable pre-historic ruins. As my handy audio guide narrated in fine British accent all that had changed about this architectural structure since 3,000 BC, I marveled at everything that remained standing. There is something very impressive about the ability to withstand conditions of wear and tear through centuries.

In this imperfect world with imperfect people, things fall apart quite easily. And not just things. Faced with illnesses, relational conflicts, job losses and crises of all sorts, it is not hard to feel like we ourselves are falling apart. The hardships that we face in this life are real and I don’t think it is helpful to simply disregard the pain and hurt that follow when lives fall apart. Nonetheless we should not avoid asking ourselves the question – what exactly is holding us? Is it our goals, our human relationships, our health and the stability of our circumstances that we count on to keep us in one piece? While these are good and precious gifts from God, they can NEVER hold us together. Much like superficial stitches that improve the aesthetic outcome of skin surgery but are unable to prevent the wound from breaking apart, all of these things (and people) that we love and cherish are not meant to sustain us at the core of our being. They cannot bear the tension of sin. Only Christ can.

Christ alone holds us…

When the apostle Paul raved about the supremacy of Christ in Colossians chapter 1, he said “and in him all things hold together.”  So there it is. He who was there from the beginning and through whom all things were created (John 1:2-3 “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” ), he likewise holds all things together. Christ and only Christ keeps us from being crushed into pieces. As long as we are his, even in our lowest and most desperate moments, we can be assured that Christ is in fact holding all things within and around us, both visible and invisible, and that is all that matters.  


For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13 

Stonehenge: portions that have fallen apart

When things go awry, my reflex is to chase after the parts and pieces that are trying to break off from where I would prefer them to stay. If you’ve tried that, I’m sure you’ve also experienced what an exercise in futility that could be. Our Father, in his goodness, wants us to stop trying to pull ourselves together and start trusting him to do the mending. He never said it would be painless. He never said it would be quick. But the Greatest Healer is more than able to seal the gaping wounds of our human weaknesses, repair our brokenness, and restore our souls in him.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

“He restores my soul, he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3.


Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held

Songwriters: Mark Hall / Matthew West / Bernie Herms

Cleansed and whiter than snow…

“Behold you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness. Let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:6-10

Our snowy backyard

We are blanketed in snow these days. That’s just how it is at this time of the year. On a nice sunny day, it’s really beautiful even though it’s terribly cold. The psalmist prays to be made whiter than snow. As I look out my window, I find it hard to imagine what could be whiter than fresh snow. It looks so pure and clean as it covers everything on its path. Just like the grace of God that covers my iniquities, and apart from which, my heart stands no chance of becoming white as snow (more like volcanic ash!). And so I praise the God who has forgiven me.

“Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Psalm 32:1

Forgiven and justified…

The list is extremely long for things I am thankful for. But at the very top of that list is the fact that I have been forgiven and freed from the penalty of sin. There is no life, no joy to speak about, if one has not yet known salvation in Christ and what it’s like to be forgiven by a God who is both Merciful and Just. Everyday, I live, breathe and walk as a debtor whose enormous debt has been paid; with nothing of my own to boast about, but with everything to be thankful for. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 His pardon does not lead us to a position of pride but a posture of meekness and freedom that the world can not comprehend.

Forgiven and called to forgive…

As followers of Christ, repenting and seeking forgiveness for our sins, and graciously forgiving those who sin against us ought to mark our days as we are being sanctified. Our Lord Jesus himself taught his disciples to pray “forgive us our debt as we have also forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12) because of its importance in our personal walk with him, in our life within the body of believers and in our mission to the world that has yet to know him.

I’m sure I’m not the only Christian who is frustrated about particular sins or idols that keep coming back into our hearts. For some of us, it seems as if we have driven on the same road many times yet somehow we manage to still sink our tires in the same potholes. The good news is that genuine repentance always receives genuine pardon from him who is Faithful and Just. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9   We need not be discouraged. Our God continues to forgive.

 

Niagara Falls

“There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins, And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains Lose all their guilty stains, lose all their guilty stains,  And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains”  (William Cowper, 1731-1800)

As sinners who have been forgiven, we are to extend the same forgiveness to others when we are sinned against. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” The same fountain flowing from Immanuel’s veins pours out the grace to forgive, regardless of the nature of the offense or our relationship with the offender. For us created beings to withhold forgiveness from others after we ourselves have been forgiven by our Creator makes no sense at all. I have gone through times of not wanting to forgive (or at least delaying it). Those were not the wisest moments, much like refusing a good treatment for a terrible cancer. Unforgiveness only puts us in bondage. “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matthew 6:14-15 

A heart surrendered to Christ is a heart that is unable to hold a grudge. It is a heart that overflows with gratitude that there is just no room for bitterness or resentment. Yes, it grieves over the same sins that grieve the heart of the Father, and it is zealous for righteousness, but it is also quick to run to the fountain from which God’s forgiveness flows, knowing it has no power on its own to forgive. Let us run to that fountain to be cleansed again and again and again, knowing that someday, sin will be no more, and we, the bride of Christ, will be made whiter than snow.

Our snowy street in Ohio

“Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives along with the command, the love itself.” Corrie Ten Boom

Trusting the God who sees it all…

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Aerial view of the peak of Mayon Volcano, Philippines

I was thirteen years old when I first read this passage from the book of Isaiah. I thought that after all these years of reading the bible, I would be able to apply this verse and take on the right perspective when the unexpected happens. Our guest pastor today pointed out that the danger with scripture verses that are so familiar is that they do become too familiar such that our knee jerk response becomes “I’ve heard that before.” So for the nth time in my life, I pray to dive deep and seek refuge in the wonderful truth that God’s ways are not my ways; that there is an enormous difference between what He knows (i.e. what He had always known) and what I will ever know. If I’m having a hard time with this, I’ve either thought too little of my God or too much of myself (or both). If the disparity between who He is and who I am, between his knowledge and mine, is unsettling instead of comforting, then my heart needs to go back to the shadow of the cross – the place where Christ died to bridge that great divide. Only when we humble ourselves before him can we truly rest in the incomprehensible greatness of God and submit to his sovereignty. The cross clarifies my proper position – that of absolute dependence upon him who needs no guidance from me at all in accomplishing his purposes. Here I am reminded of who it is who sits on the throne. He is the One who sees all things and does what he pleases.

“Whatever the Lord pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.” Psalm 135:6

Arthur Pink, author of The Attributes of God, wrote: “God does as he pleases, only as he pleases, always as he pleases. None can thwart him. None can hinder him.” As a recipient of God’s mercy and grace, I find this reassuring. But when the story of life doesn’t follow the plot I would have written, I sometimes forget that God is still in charge and that he is, in fact, doing as he pleases, which is always for our good and his glory. At any point in time, He who is the Alpha and Omega sees the entire picture, while I only see a very small fragment. I will never fully understand how, but nothing catches our God by surprise because he sees it all and knows it all. “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is high; I cannot attain it.” Psalm 139:6. 

I don’t need to understand it all. My role is to trust that my Good Shepherd will lead me in the path of righteousness and that no matter how broken I am, he will restore my soul. In the midst of pain, it can be a struggle to even begin to think about restoration, especially when our wounds involve others, too, and not just ourselves. When we are hurting, it is hard to believe that healing can take place, even though that is what we ask for. Yet we cannot allow disbelief to take control. We need to trust our God who does not tire of mending the broken pieces of our hearts that we may become more like Christ in his humility. “In trial and weakness and trouble, he seeks to bring us low, until we so learn that his grace is all, as to take pleasure in the very thing that brings us and keeps us low. His strength made perfect in our weakness, his presence filling and satisfying our emptiness, becomes a secret of a humility that need never fail.” Andrew Murray

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God promised to those who love him.”  

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is taal-lake.jpg
Taal lake and Taal volcano, Philippines

Sitting still and being steadfast means we don’t put discipleship on hold while we are grieving. Our trials should intensify our training. We need more than ever to pray, to serve, dwell in his word and embrace his people. I also heard a preacher say that if our trials stem from having been wronged by others, we should all the more pursue the holiness that we long for in them. God’s work must continue through our pain and sorrow. The enemy will try to paralyze us but Jesus is at the helm and he will make us fishers of men (Mark 1:17) regardless of our circumstances.

Corrie Ten Boom once said, “When the train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”

There is no need to fear. Our Father sees it all.