There is Promise in Pain (A New Study Announcement)

Today, I’m thinking about all the things holding us back and hurting our hearts. As I study, I hear a whisper inside – a commencing of conversation. “There is promise in the pain.” “Oh, Lord, can You tell me who wants to sift through piles of ashes to find beauty?” “Oh, Jennifer, Can you tell me who else would have sent their only Son to die so you, and everyone else, have opportunity to find it?” Ouch. Checkmate. “Okay, I’ll get my shovel. I have promise to uncover.”

As I sit here writing and praying, you are on my mind. I picture you alongside me in your own pit of ashes desperately seeking to unearth your promise. And for every one of you who are working with shovels in hand, I see others helplessly sitting with no idea how to begin finding what lies underneath. I’ve been there, too.

For the months of July and August we are going to study Job. At one time or another we’ve probably all felt a little like him, so why not step into his world and learn? Are you with me? Do you need to find promise inside the pain? Do you often feel a lack of certainty in your circumstances?

All of my studies are usually published on Wednesdays, but for the rest of the summer, not only will we have our regular Wednesday study, but we will also have what I’m calling “A Word for Your Weekend.” This portion will be for email subscribers only. The content won’t be found anywhere else.  Friday’s entries will be a mix of short videos and blog posts, maybe even a printable, meant to encourage you in everything we’ve discussed the previous Wednesday. It’s meant for faith building, helping you dig deeper in study.

If you’re not a subscriber to my blog, let me encourage you to sign up. The Studies are sent directly to your email. We also have a lot of changes coming to the blog in the near future. Subscribers will be the first to learn about these changes and participate in what’s coming!

This coming Friday, July 7th, there will be a special introduction into the life of Job. Only subscribers will receive it.

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

-Job 1:1

I’m looking forward to trekking through the life of Job with you!

Love,

Jennifer

 

For When Your Hope Needs Renewed

New HopeThis morning, I was reading in the book of Job. Let’s face it, we all feel a little like Job sometimes. Am I right? In chapter 19, we are told he is trusting in his redeemer. However, he says the following in verse 10…

He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; my hope He has uprooted like a tree.

-Job 19:10

That verse stuck out to me, because previously Job said this:

For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground…

-Job 14:7,8

If you read the chapter in context, you will see that Job is discouraged and comparing human suffering and death to the chopping down of a tree. He believes in new life for the tree, but he has questions about what happens to man at the end of life. He goes on to ask, “If man dies and is laid away, indeed he breathes his last breath, then where is he?” (See Job 14:10)

This comparison, and the different views on it, is in no way an accident. If you put the two bold statements together it reads – My hope He has uprooted like a tree. For there is hope for a tree.

Because of Jesus, we can read this passage with confidence. There is hope, because we serve a Savior who suffered and died to give it to us. Death and hell have been defeated.

  • We might suffer and feel uprooted, but we have hope.
  • We might wonder about our reality, and even worry about tomorrow, but we have hope.
  • We might feel pressed down, but we have hope.

When a tree begins to die, the fragrance of water awakens the buds of new life. We have access to the living water of the Almighty. It comes through His word, which is His love poured out on paper, that we might find hope and life inside it. I know this to be true, because in the verses listed above, I found new hope for my soul.

The thing about hope is that it can be renewed daily. It gives us exactly what we need to face whatever challenges come our way.

Friends, if today is a difficult day, I want you to know there is hope for you! Do not allow it to be uprooted. Even if your circumstances have “chopped” you down, let hope water roots of faith. Allow yourself to be saturated in His great love. Breathe freedom.

Love,

Jennifer

My eBook, Mercy Waits, is FREE to new subscribers!

Why We Can’t Escape Suffering…

Grace and the flower photoIt’s lovely outside today. The sun is shining and spring is teasing us with her sweet scent and sunny skies. This winter has been long, dark, and messy. I’m excited to welcome flowers and fresh air. It’s time for something new to bloom.

I can’t help but think there are a whole lot of you suffering and wondering why. You can’t figure out how you ended up in the place where you are. You are doing what you know to be right and still feel as if your “bones” are broken.

I recently had the opportunity to share on Psalm 51:8…

Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.

-Psalm 51:8

David wrote Psalm 51 out of repentance after his sin with Bathsheba. Nathan the prophet was chosen by God to point out David’s sin to him. When David finally recognized the error of his ways he said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13) And then Psalm 51 was birthed.

It is out of a repentant, humble, heart that David’s words encourage me. Our weakest moments tend to move us closer to the Creator.

It is usually through the groan of life that we are able to stir others. (Tweet that)

It’s obvious that the broken bones David endured were because of his bad judgment. But what about Job? Job chapter one clearly states he did nothing to bring on his pain and loss.

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

-Job 1:1

What about Job’s bones? They were broken too…

I studied those two stories last week. I poured over them and pondered God’s intentions. One did wrong; the other did right. They both lost children. They both suffered “broken bones.”One of the largest questions asked of Christians is: Why do people following Christ and doing “good” still suffer? I had an epiphany.

As Christians we are meant to live the character of Christ. We do our best to emulate His actions. The goal is to become more like Him and less like us. So, if we are to live a life emulating that of Christ, then how is it possible to escape suffering? It isn’t. Why? Because if Christ couldn’t escape suffering, how can we?

 

38 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

-Mathew 26:38-39

Christ was rejected, betrayed, abandoned, abused, and made to die on a cross. He was perfect, yet He suffered. Though grace abounds through the One who gave His life for us, we will still face pain. We live in a world full of sin which we cannot escape. However, we can become closer to our Father through our suffering and He can make us hear joy and gladness. It’s a gift.

I suffered 5 miscarriages and a stillborn daughter. I did nothing to cause such losses in my life. I cried out to God to make me hear joy and gladness. Without his grace there is no way I would have ever experienced true joy again.

Through devastation there is a beautiful opportunity to move closer to the One who calls us beloved. Today, I live a life wholly devoted to Christ because of the joy and gladness I heard during my sorrow. It was in my darkest moments that He revealed His light.

I don’t know where you stand today. I don’t know where you’ve been or what you’ve faced. Maybe, like David, your trial is a consequence of sin. Maybe, like Job, you’ve done nothing wrong at all. Either way, His grace is sufficient for you. You don’t have to feel guilt or shame because He died for YOU. You can hear joy and gladness. He can make you hear it. He is pursuing you. He loves you that much – enough to chase after you through hurt and shame, through grief and pain.

When your marriage is suffering and your kids make you crazy. When your friends abandon and you feel like you have nowhere to turn. You do. Throughout every tear we cry and horrible situation we face, the Maker of joy and Deliverer of peace has a gift for you. It’s called grace. It breathes freedom. It brings hope. And it’s for YOU!

You are loved even in the midst of broken bones…

May the sweet scent of a teasing spring carry with it a fresh rain of grace, and may healing bloom in your heart.

Love,

Jennifer

I’m linking up today with Holley Gerth to encourage through Coffee for Your Heart. Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150