Hope, Treasures in the Darkness, Words of Endurance

Prayers offered for those who suffer are a bit like lighting a candle in the dark. Even the smallest flicker of light can push back the darkness to yield treasures of hope and joy. Unfortunately, we often don’t know how to pray for friends and loved ones – or even ourselves – when we face suffering, but the Word of God gives us abundant instruction and insight. Here are just a few examples.

Strength to Endure: “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether itis with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need” (Philippians 4:12-13 NLT).

Wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).

Discernment: “Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works” (Colossians 1:9 THE MESSAGE).

Support and Encouragement: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).

A Trusting Heart: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Hope in God’s Love: “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t…nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 NLT).

Greater Intimacy with God: “I keep asking that the…Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father; may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17).

Lord, I want to come to you with open hands, but my heart keeps crying out for life the way I knew it. So I’m afraid I have come to you with my fists tightly clenched, holding in the emptiness. Help me to loosen my grip on what was, and bow before your goodness and your faithfulness. Help me to trust that the meaning in the yesterdays of my life will surely be surpassed by the meaning in my tomorrows because you are the source of all meaning. And with you, the best is always yet to be.
Verdell Davis


Pain, Perseverance, Treasures in the Darkness, Words of Endurance

Sometimes treasure comes to us unbidden, surprising us in the shadows of darkness. At other times, we find it because we seek it.

During her cancer battle, Barbara made a practice of seeking treasure. Every night when she put her head to the pillow, she searched for the treasures of that day. Some of her favorites were the prayers of the children with whom she worked and the acts of love and kindness she received from family and friends. She considered her nightly ritual, which she called “treasure hunting,” to be a necessary exercise in sanity.

Barbara is just one of many seasoned treasure hunters who has gleaned gems of hope as they have wandered through the shadowlands. The treasures they find come in many different forms. Perhaps the following highlights of treasures they have discovered will inspire you to look for the treasures that cross your path.

The Treasures of Perseverance, Endurance, and Patience

Megan was cruising the fast lane of life when cancer slammed on the brakes. Rarely able to leave her house, she found herself locked in a holding pattern while the world sped by, but she didn’t complain about her confinement. Instead, she was amazed by all of the new things God was showing her in the slow lane. She had discovered the comforting sound of rain on a windowpane and had gained insight and comfort from hours spent reading the Scriptures. Her suffering enabled Megan to discover what she had been too busy to notice and began to infuse her life with the characteristics of perseverance, endurance, and patience.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:2-3

The Treasure of Joy

One day, after emerging from her journey through clinical depression, Jan Dravecky sat at her dining room table sipping a cup of tea and gazing out at the mountains. As she watched, she noticed the pine trees swaying in the breeze and the bright flowers blooming on the deck. Suddenly she “had a sense that I had experienced this day before. Then is dawn on me. This day reminded me of the day I was sitting at my dining room table several years before, in the depths of depression, the day when the Lord told me to let go, the day He promised He would show me a joy I’d never known. As I recalled that promise, I realized that the joy God had promised me had become part of my everyday life, a joy that comforts the soul.”

Weeping may go on all night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5 (NLT)

The Treasure of Fruitfulness

Dave Dravecky would rather be where he is today than where he was before cancer. “During and shortly after my battle with cancer I couldn’t have said that honestly; the good hadn’t yet come out of the bad. Now I can say that cancer has been a blessing in my life…I do not say this lightly or boastfully – I say this as one who has been humbled by pain and uncertainty – I would not be the man I am today if I had not been forced to fight cancer. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I have grown in ways I never dreamed possible.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

The Treasure of Stronger Faith

During the years Sally DeRue and her husband, Wayne, lived in the darkness of his life-threatening cancer, Sally saw their faith grow richer and deeper. “It isn’t that we had strayed away from God, but we kind of took Him for granted. Instead of coming to God just on Sundays, we learned we needed Him everyday, not just once a week.”

These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold – and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold.
1 Peter 1:7 (NLT)

The Treasure of Hope

Jone Eareckson Tada’s suffering as a quadriplegic has turned her eyes toward a hope that cannot disappoint. “Broken homes and broken hearts crush our illusions that earth can keep its promises, that it can really satisfy. Only the hope of heaven can truly move our passions off this world – which God knows could never fulfill us anyway – and place them where they will find their glorious fulfillment.”

But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:3-5