Author Archives: jansuwilkinson

About jansuwilkinson

God created us so unbelievably complex. As an addiction counselor, I am privileged to hear and hold in trust the unique stories of immortal beings whom God loves. When reflecting on my own journey, I am curious about the narrative, the timing, the burst of meaning, the unanswered enigmas of every day. Yet there is one simple truth: love is why we are here. Reading and spilling ink with fellow writers of 66 Books in 2023 promises to be an immersion into the Divine love found on page after page of God's Word. Lead us deeper in, Lord Jesus!

I Kings 4-5; 2 Chronicles 2

Largeness of Heart

I am not the brightest bulb in the pack; in fact, when it comes to riddles or jokes, out of frustration, you will ultimately have to explain to me the solution or punchline. Yet, I consider myself a good counselor when it comes to containing the stories and complications of the lives of others. What I find is that I often experience that “aha” moment, that instant of clarity and knowledge which allows me to be of help. There are many times when my education or what I have experienced is not enough to demonstrate God’s everlasting love in the therapeutic relationship. Where does that wisdom come from? My faith and belief are that God is enlarging my heart with understanding, increasing godly compassion, and sparking the curiosity of lifelong learning that enables me to offer a glimpse of God’s love and acceptance to the hurting.

When I read, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding, and largeness of heart like the sand on the seashore,” I was struck with the words “largeness of heart.” (I Kings 4:29) Solomon was a young man, probably in his early 20’s when he became king over all Israel. His judgments, inventions, poems, and sayings were renowned. His reign and influence legendary. Solomon prayed for and God answered his prayer to have the wisdom to rule God’s people. Solomon knew, as is evidenced in the Proverbs he wrote, that just having intellect did not equate with wisdom. He acknowledged by His request for wisdom that He would need more than smarts and experience to be a good ruler. And God enlarged Solomon’s heart to contain the real-life issues of His people so that Solomon could settle disputes, negotiate treaties, and expand God’s kingdom on earth. I am not so foolish to think that I sit with the greatness of Solomon, but I am humbled to know that God is willing to take thought of me, too, when my prayers align with His will to speak godly wisdom when counseling others.

If you have never participated in talk therapy, you may find my words strange or find it hard to relate to the importance of establishing a trusting, non-judgmental relationship with another human being. Counseling is not just getting someone to talk about something bad that happened or getting a confession that leads to catharsis. The sessions are mutually momentous and forever memorable for both the counselor and the one seeking counseling. I often think of this quote by C.S. Lewis from The Weight of Glory.

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

Therapy is not the only place where largeness of heart is needed. God considers every human being important; therefore, every relationship is an opportunity to share the serious business of godly love. And just like the edict above, our relationships should reflect joy knowing that we are considered equal in God’s eye. How we relate to others will be our testimony to the understanding and wisdom born out of acceptance that we are here but a short while living among immortal souls. Should we not make the most of our time together meaningful spirit to spirit?

Dear Lord God, You are to me the reason for this life, this time in my life, this placement in Your plan. Let me remember how little my needs and preferences are in comparison to the importance of what You have stored up for me. I thank You for all the blessings and tender mercies in my life. I thank You for all the experiences that have brought me closer to You. And I welcome Your future for me, knowing that You will enlarge my heart even more as may be needed to bring others nearer to You.



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2 Samuel 11-12; I Chronicles 20; 2 Corinthians 3; Psalm 20

Sin has consequences. King David lost his reputation as a fair, honorable, and God-fearing man when he allowed his lust to take another man’s wife and then ordered the death of her husband. Yet God held David accountable. I can relate to how David felt when the prophet Nathan accused David, saying, “You are the man!” (II Samuel 12:7) When that righteous finger is pointed at my chest, the realization of my failures breaks all my defenses. Yet, even as he experienced the first of many consequences to his affair, David sought the Lord. We learn this in reading that as the newborn of his adulterous relationship lay dying, David fasted, wept, and prayed for the little one’s life. When the child died, David had this to say to his servants, “While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead; why should I fast?” (II Samuel 12:22-23)

David understood and accepted that sin has consequences.

I have considered specific times when I repented; I mean really sought forgiveness. There was at first conviction by the Holy Spirit; an internal knowing that struck my conscious immediately, such as after an ill-spoken word to or about someone. Or there was my own accusing thought and embarrassment of being called out for unruly, thoughtless behavior (even if couched in sarcasm or banter). Lately, years of missteps have suddenly pained my eyes like the blinding light toppling Saul off his ride and into the dust, the voice of God thundering, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4) And though I weep, pray, and sometimes fast, I am entirely sure that there will be consequences. I am saved; I have no doubt. I just know that the ramifications of all the wrong that I do by mistake or intentionally may play out for years.

The consequences of sin are enough to weigh a soul down.

If our God were not a loving, forgiving, and gracious King, I would be lost. His will is not to destroy, but to transform me. For this reason, when I turn to Him, unmasked, raw in the clarity of how I have sinned, I am met with forgiveness and mercy by my Lord Christ Jesus. I see how I am accepted. For the veil (that which separated man from seeing God’s glory) is taken away: “But we all, with unveiled faces, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18) I have confidence in the saving grace that comes only from the blood of the Lamb that paid for my transgressions, resulting in eternal salvation. I also am bathed in every day’s forgiveness for those mistakes and poor choices I make outside of God’s will. Glory to God!

It is through repentance that I begin to find rest for my soul. Also, like David, who could not give up praying that his sinful acts would not be visited upon his child, I intercede for those whom my grievous actions have hurt most. I accept the gravity of responsibility for my actions. Yet I also believe that God will help me in righting wrongs, making amends, and changing harmful behaviors when I yield to the loving guidance of His Holy Spirit. At the risk of repeating myself, my sins are not ‘swept under the rug’ just because I repent. But with forgiveness comes hope during those times spent on my knees before my loving Father. Where else can I go? Who other than God can I trust with my sorrowful, spirit’s truth? For being a child of God means that my sin, yes, all my sins, have been forgiven and forgotten by God. If only I could see clearly how to live a perfect life – one devoted to serving God without the unwanted failings perpetrated by this earthly body. How quickly the words come – Father forgive me – but how hard it is to never have to say that I’m sorry.

I am encouraged by the prayer and blessing in Psalm 20:4 “May He grant you according to your heart’s desire and fulfill your purpose…may the Lord fulfill all your petitions.” Yes, I desire many things, but today, just one. That I will be immersed in the presence of God, doing His will, relinquishing my control, and submitting to His plans for me.

Prayer (one that was once prayed over me by my pastor): Father, thank you for your love for me. Holy Spirit, I ask that you keep me honest and fill me with Your power and strength to walk rightly before God. Thank You for leading me and guiding me into Your best for my life. Overwhelm me right now with Your goodness and love. Pour out your giftings into my life. Thank you for the purpose and destiny You have created and set aside for me. I ask that You walk with me into all that You have prepared beforehand in Jesus’ name. Amen!



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I Corinthians 12; Psalm 140

Psalm 40:12-13 “I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence.”

I love speaking encouragement to others. Especially at work, I can see that pointing out their strengths and how God is working in the lives of my co-workers and the people I serve often births new hope, comfort, and an openness to God’s presence. I am not always that person, however. For it is also in my control to speak the opposite about or to all those who are in my circle of influence. That is, I can talk down to or negatively about someone which results in alienation or worse – harm to that person’s character or self-esteem.

Psalm 40:11 “Let not a slanderer be established in the earth.” That’s the power of words. And God’s gifts to me focus on speaking words.

I Corinthians 12:24-26 “…But God composed the body, having greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it, and if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

I prayed early in my Christian walk that God would give me one or more of the spiritual gifts that Paul described to the Corinthians. I wanted them all! But as I prayed, the Holy Spirit convicted me of the smallness of my love for others. I saw my need to have God’s love for others – a supernatural love superior to any human love I had experienced. No words can be uttered that describe or works performed by man that demonstrate His godly love. Yet, I wanted so much to be among those righteous ones, to be concerned about the poor and the afflicted. Now, I tell myself that I received the gift of love because I work with so many people who need mercy and support. Yet, has my life’s work become a badge of honor? Am I satisfied when others pat me on the back? The Book of James says, “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) I have a nagging suspicion that I get complacent and lack fervor for the things of God, especially outside of my workplace. It’s like I lose that energy and compassion by the time I get home. Just ask my family…

I do not believe in ‘beating up oneself,’ knowing that doing so causes shame, self-blame, and depression. This is false humility. But I do see the value of reflecting on the purpose and meaning of what I say and do. I do not really trust myself to handle the Lord’s gifts without some selfish reason to do so. In fact, my motives for asking God for spiritual gifts are often a source of concern to me. Am I focusing on man’s accolades? I hope not. What I really want is to be like King David. He was said to be someone who God sought for Himself, “a man after His own heart.” (I Samuel 13:14)

Dear Lord God, I know how to resolve my concerns about motive when asking for and receiving Your gifts by the Holy Spirit. Submit to You; be humble in Your sight; resist any temptation to speak evil of another; and most importantly, draw near to You. And there is confidence in knowing that as I do these things, God, You will draw near to me. Then, I can confidently operate in Your will and know Your purpose for using spiritual gifts at work, at church, and at home with family and friends. Let the words of my mouth be as “apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11) Holy are You. How gracious are Your words to me.


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I Samuel 16-17; I Corinthians 3; Psalm 9

I Samuel 16:13 “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” – Spirit

I Samuel 16:14; I Samuel 17:11 “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.” Then when Goliath taunted the armies of Israel, it was said that “…Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine and were dismayed and greatly afraid.” – carnal

Eliab said to David, “I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” – carnal

David said to his eldest brother, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause? – Spirit

I Samuel 33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” – carnal.

I Samuel 36-37 David testified, “Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” – Spirit

I Corinthians 3:1-8 The Corinthians were deceived in boasting about whose teaching they followed: some followed Paul, others Peter or Apollos or John the Baptist. – carnal

I Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” – Spirit

To be carnal is to be filled with and act out envy, strife, and malice which causes divisions among the brethren, misconstrues God’s truth, anesthetizes vibrant ministries, and bores into the foundation of faith in Christ. In my everyday affairs, am I of the Spirit or am I carnal? Like the pairing of Scriptures above, I see myself going back and forth between the two.

My human nature crowds out the Spirit, especially when I am either feeling the power and satisfaction of victory or wasting away in my self-pity when all is going wrong in my little world. – carnal

Such is my confession. Yet, thankfully, my God does not allow me to be overcome by my human frailties. His Holy Spirit is ever present within me, correcting, guiding, and forgiving me right back into His grace. Like David, I am encouraged by God’s protection and His care for me. Thus, I can always lift my voice and hands to Lord God and say:

Psalm 9:1-2 “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.”

Thank You, God, for Your Holy Spirit who speaks truth, who comforts, convicts, and heals us. You love us enough to dwell within us. Plain and simple. And I am so grateful to be Yours. Holy is Your name! – Spirit


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Judges 17-18; Mark 15; Psalm 89

“Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6) Mixing elements of true worship of God with practices unacceptable to Him is man’s attempt to bring him God’s favor. In dry times when I cannot feel God or hear Him, I try desperately to control my negative thoughts, often using the coping strategies so common now. I listen to calming music, practice breathing techniques, and use muscle relaxation exercises to ease the tension that grips my shoulders. Yet only when I meditate on God’s word do I receive the physical relief and quietness of soul that I seek.

There are other times, however, when the pressures of work, concerns for family, and health issues pour over me. I can relate to the lament of Ethan the Ezrahite in the Psalms. “Remember how short my time is; For what futility have You created all the children of men? What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?” (Psalm 89:47-48) My fears rise, and I am in danger of becoming despondent and disillusioned. In answer to my cries for help, God’s Holy Spirit prompts me to look to God for deliverance, to surrender to His will, and to wait.

I am strengthened and reassured once more remembering how God demonstrated His faithfulness and fulfilled His promises to save us. Not at our expense, though we may suffer. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son paid the ultimate price for our ambivalence and unbelief, to deliver us from the power of the grave, and without a doubt, to show God’s favor to us all.

For Christ was arrested while praying in a garden to God the Father; charged with blasphemy by religious leaders, condemned though innocent by political rulers, scourged by soldiers to the point of death, mocked, spat on, and forced to wear a thorny crown. This before dragging His own cross up a hill where He was nailed to its wood and hung there until dead. (Mark 15:9-33)

Of course, crucifixion was not the end of an historical account of Christ…nor are my troubles left hopelessly in the dark. But remembering the darkness of that bitter Friday is as necessary to me as envisioning Christ’s brilliant burst from the tomb. For through it all, my spirit is lifted with that as the Apostle wrote, “…neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38, 39)

Father God, I cannot fathom the love You have for me. You would allow Your own Son to suffer to bring me near to You forever. I adore You; I trust You; I worship You. Please forgive me if I fail to obey Your prompting or to speak Your word. Let the strength of my testimony be that You have saved me and filled me with Your steadfast love. Christ Jesus, there is no other name but Yours by which I am saved.

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