Tag Archives: suffering

Deuteronomy 24, Psalms 114 & 115, Isaiah 51, Revelation 21

Over the past three years, life for my husband’s family has been rough. From unexpected deaths to tragic car accidents and everything in between, it has been a roller coaster. We have walked through very quick boughts of cancer where we fought hard and lost. Most recently, another cancer diagnosis on top of another family member’s serious motorcycle accident, has left us spending many days and nights in shock trauma and several other hospitals. Job loss, military deployment and simply day to day life has been difficult. After decades of seemingly wonderful blessings of good health and protection, the walls have come crashing down.

Just a few minutes ago I arrived home after taking the children to visit their 82-year-old great grandmother in the hospital. Her time left on earth is coming to a close and we were saying our goodbyes and praying for the Lord’s peace and comfort.

Life. Is. Hard.

We all go through seasons in our lives that take us up and down. Whether your experience was car accidents and failing health or something else, I’m sure you have suffered at some point in your life. But the Lord reminds us that he is always near. He always has been and always will be. Our sufferings and hardships draw us closer to him.

During the hardships while Israel was in captivity, they needed reminders of Gods’ power and his faithfulness. They needed to be reminded of all the trials the Lord had brought them through. We need the same reminders today.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness,
you who seek the Lord:
look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
Look to Abraham your father
and to Sarah who bore you;
for he was but one when I called him,
that I might bless him and multiply him.
Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and they who dwell in it will die in like manner;[b]
but my salvation will be forever,
and my righteousness will never be dismayed.

“Listen to me, you who know righteousness,
the people in whose heart is my law;
fear not the reproach of man,
nor be dismayed at their revilings.
For the moth will eat them up like a garment,
and the worm will eat them like wool,
but my righteousness will be forever,
and my salvation to all generations.”  Isaiah 51

 

Life won’t necessarily get easier but through our hardships we can draw closer to the Lord and rely on him and most of all remember that his promises will come true because of his proven faithfulness over time. There are times when all I can do is cling to the last part of verse 8, “my righteousness will be forever and my salvation to all generations.”

 

Gram has been a very special lady in the lives of everyone she knew and even those she didn’t. She loved Jesus and his Church and cared for anyone and everyone around her. She was a hard worker, creative, fun-loving, deeply committed to her family and “Gram” to all. Though our hearts will mourn over our loss, we will rejoice in her healing and full restoration to health when she passes into the arms of Jesus.

 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21

 

Thank you, Lord for the time you give us to love one another and live these few moments on Earth with ones that we love. Lord Jesus, be near to the broken-hearted. Holy Spirit, bring peace and comfort to those suffering today and remind them of your faithfulness.

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Deuteronomy 10; Psalms 94; Isaiah 38; Revelation 8

Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer…But the Lord is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide.” Psalms 94:17-19;22 NLT

My heart is heavy this morning for my little nine year old guy. He has been battling fear and anxiety in his mind that I know all too well. As his mom I just want to take it away from him. I know what it is like to be paralyzed by fear and to let that hold me back from doing what God has called me to do. I am thankful that God is patient with me. He sees me as his beloved child. He wants what is best for me. He is the best parent.

Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins. For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next. Think of it-the Lord is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the Lord.” Isaiah 38:17-20 NLT

Hezekiah understood that God can work all things for good. His life was a testimony to that. As hard as it is to see my child struggle, I pray this for him as well. Do I trust the Father’s heart toward me? Am I desiring for God to get the glory from my life? How awesome it is to think of my children telling their children of the great things the Lord has done.

And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul.” Deuteronomy 10:12&13 NLT

Thank you Father that you hear my prayers. Thank you that I can look back and see your faithfulness in my life. Thank you for the perspective of generations coming to know you. Forgive me for my pride and selfishness.  I give you all the praise. Amen.

Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out.” Revelation 8:3&4 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Job 8-11; Revelation 12

Human suffering is wrong. We are not made for it and yet it is a tangible reminder that things are not right with the world and points to something, someone beyond our understanding…God.  The unwelcome twins, Grief and Pain settle in with Job and refuse to leave. It’s a full body-mind assault 24/7 and brings him to the very edge of life. Even his wife begs him to put an end to his suffering, “Curse God and die,” but he can’t. His belief that God hears his pleas and is somehow good and just beyond his meager understanding serves as the thin thread that keeps him hanging on.

Job can not look to his righteousness and intellect to save him, “But how can a mortal be righteous before God? Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand. His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?” Job 9:2-4.

 The God who created the universe and continues to provide life and breath withholds healing. Job may feel a million miles away from God, but that doesn’t change the reality of His existence: “When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.” Job 9:11.

 But then Job asks, if not prays, “If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it is now stands with me, I cannot.” Job 9:33-35.

Job’s seemingly rhetorical questions prove to be prophetic. The great arbitrator, the Messiah comes and takes on the curse intended for all mankind. I don’t have to suffer the consequences of my sin. Jesus goes to the Cross and his Resurrection breaks the power of sin and death over us. Once a stranger,  I am invited into the very presence of God having been made clean by the righteousness of Jesus.

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night has been hurled down.” Revelation 12:10.

 The evil spell is broken. In this world, I will know pain, grief and sorrow, but because I hold on to Jesus, I will never be separated from God. He endured that separation, so I would never have to. I am always invited, always welcomed into God’s presence. Short and sweet, God wins.

Dear Father,  thank you there is so much more to life than what I see and understand. Thank you, Jesus for taking up my sin and shame and making me whole so that I am learning what it means to enjoy the Father’s presence. Let suffering and pain remind me that I am made for your Kingdom. Today Holy Spirit, with my feet firmly planted in this world, show me how to live as a citizen of your country, under your authority and free from the accusations of the enemy. Your word is the last word and stands forever. Amen

 Kathy

 

 

 

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Job, Revelation, Uncategorized

Malachi 1-4; Psalm 2; Revelation 9

I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert. Id Edom says, “We are shattered but we rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!” Malachi 1:1-5 ESV

I think about how quickly I can doubt God’s love for me. When I am having a bad day, many times it’s because I forget to be grateful. But, God is still pursing me, showing me how much he does love me… My six year old daughter found a small notebook of mine and started to write in it. As I looked through it, I realized that it was a gratitude journal from 2014. It is small enough that I would keep in my purse and jot things down when they came to my mind. As I started to read it, I was filled with praise over God’s faithfulness in my life. God knew that I needed that reminder, on that cold rainy day. Because not very long after, the garage door broke and my van was stuck inside. Instead of worry, I was able to change my attitude to thankfulness in the midst of frustration. I wish I could say that was always the case in my life. But, just like the Israelites, I am so forgetful.

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6 ESV

Sometimes when I read these verses about the Lord’s judgement, I forgot about his goodness. That he is merciful. And he never gives up on me, never. He wants hearts to turn towards him.

They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them…The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plaques, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Rev 9:5&6; 20&21 NLT

Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?” Malachi 3: 1-2ESV

Thank you Father for caring about the small and large details of my life. That you love me with an everlasting love. I eagerly wait for your return. Amen.

As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, And I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession…Blessed are all who take refuge in him” Psalm 2:6-8, 12B ESV

Amy(amyctanner)

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1 Kings 8; Psalm 30; 1 Timothy 3

I will exalt you, Lord, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health. You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Sing to the Lord, all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping through the night, but joy comes in the morning. When I was prosperous, I said, “Nothing can stop me now!” Your favor, O Lord, made me as secure as a mountain. Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.” Psalm 30:1-7 NLT

Psalm 30 means a lot to me. It helps me to remember how far God has brought me. And the many pits I’ve fallen into that he has helped me out of. But, just like David, I can be so forgetful. I fall into the trap of thinking I can handle things on my own. But, that robs me of the peace that only God’s presence can bring. Because, like my pastor said in a sermon…“His presence is better than my freedom.” This convicts me and my wandering heart. Sometimes I have to cry out to him like David did.

I cried out to you, O Lord. I begged the Lord for mercy, saying. “What will you gain if I die, if I sink into the grave? Can my dust praise you? Can it tell of your faithfulness? Hear me. Lord, and have mercy on me. Help me, O Lord. You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:8-12 NLT

Dear Father, thank you for the the times that you have rescued me. I pray that I would remember your faithfulness, so that I don’t turn back to my old ways. Thank you for meeting me where I am and never leaving me. Amen.

Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel. He lifted his hands toward heaven, and he prayed, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.” 1 Kings 8:22-24 NLT

Amy (amyctanner)

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1 Samuel 1-2; Psalm 120; Acts 5

Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord. And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you.” 1 Samuel 1:10 NLT

I can relate to Hannah’s desire to have a child. After having two miscarriages we had a healthy baby boy. I remember making dinner the night before my sonogram. Praying for good results, while listening to the song, More than Enough. I desperately wanted everything to be fine, but I was claiming to myself that no matter what happened…Jesus was more than enough. And he would carry me through, like he already had.

I am the very woman who stood here several years ago praying to the Lord. I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Then Hannah prayed: “My heart rejoices in the Lord! The Lord has made me strong. Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God…He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, placing them in seats of honor. For all the earth is the Lord’s, and he has set the world in order.” 1 Samuel 1-2 NLT

As I think back, I am grateful for his hand in the trials in my life. This song, “All of have in you, is more than enough,” still rings true today. “You are my supply, my breath of life.” Sometimes my prayers were for a changed heart. Maybe God was using them to change mine. To show me that my helper, the Holy Spirit was with me all along. Helping me to remember his faithfulness, when I would forget. Guiding me what to pray, when I couldn’t pray anymore.

But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging on the cross. Then God put him in the place of honor at his right hand as Prince and Savior. He did this so the people of Israel would repent of their sins and be forgiven. We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey him.” Acts 5:29-32 NLT

Father, I pray the I would continue to let your Holy Spirit work in me. I pray that I wouldn’t be held back by fear or doubt. Thank you for your faithfulness in my life. Amen.

I took my troubles to the Lord; I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.” Psalm 120:1 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

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Genesis 45-46; Psalm 108; Galatians 2

Come closer to me,” Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. “I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives…He set me in a place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt.” Gen 45:4-8 MSG.

Reading these passages about Joseph and than Paul, brings to mind the video I watched of Pastor Saeed Abedini.  After being imprisoned for his faith for 3 years, he was landing on American soil. The thing that I was struck by the most was his prayer. He was praising Jesus and worshiping him. Not just for freeing him, but for who He is. I could imagine him praying this same prayer in prison. I truly got the sense that his faith didn’t depend on his circumstances. Like Joseph, he was not angry or bitter. Like Paul, his faith was not swayed.

They trusted in a God who is greater than their earthly pain. Do I?

Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.” Galatians 2:18-21 MSG

I am reminded that God has a greater plan for my life that sometimes  can only happen through suffering. That He is Sovereign. Even when I  cannot  see the good.

My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!

I will sing your praises among the nations. For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, Oh God, above the heavens. May your glory shine over all the earth. Now rescue your beloved people. Answer and save us by your power.

Oh, please help us against our enemies, for all human help is useless.

With God’s help we will do mighty things, for he will trample down our foes.” Psalm 108 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you for these men and their testimony of faith. Even when it hurts, I pray that I would turn to You. Help me to remember that You work all things together for good. Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

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Filed under 66 Books, Galatians, Genesis, Psalms