POSTS
12
November 2020
The Gift of Self
4
November 2020
False Guilt
4
November 2020
Living Hope (part 2)
28
October 2020
Living Hope
7
October 2020
Consider It Joy
7
October 2020
Seize the Trial
10
September 2020
Take Heart and Endure
2
September 2020
Free From Fear
20
August 2020
Our Unseen Hope
20
August 2020
The God of Peace
30
July 2020
His Only Son
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Peace, The Ultimate Treasure, Words of Endurance

Surrender to God in the midst of difficult circumstances is the way to find peace, but sometimes we are confused about what true surrender entails. If we think surrender is simply resigning ourselves to what we cannot change, peace will most certainly evade us. Peace lies in acceptance, not in resignation. Perhaps Creath Davis’ poem will help clarify the important difference between resignation and acceptance.



Resignation is surrender to fate. Acceptance is surrender to God.



Resignation lies down quietly in an empty universe. Acceptance rises up to meet the God who fills that universe with purpose and destiny.



Resignation says, “I can’t.” Acceptance says, “God can.”



Resignation paralyzes the life process. Acceptance releases the process for its greatest creativity.



Resignation says, “It’s all over for me.” Acceptance asks, “Now that I am here, what’s next, Lord?”



Resignation says, “What a waste.” Acceptance says, “In what redemptive way will you use this mess, Lord?”



Resignation says, “I am alone.” Acceptance says, “I belong to you, O God.”

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Faith, Pain, Peace

Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
ISAIAH 50:10



Pastor Ron Mehl was intimately familiar with the landscape of suffering. For 22 years, he lived in the shadowlands of a long-term cancer battle. For at least 15 of those years, he was in chemotherapy, and for the last decade of his life, his entire body ached as if he had a terrible case of the flu. Despite this deep physical trial, Ron lived a full life as a dedicated pastor, worldwide speaker and author of more than a dozen books. In one of the last books he wrote, Ron shared his secret to navigating the landscape of suffering and finding treasure there as well.



The great key in all of life is to surrender to God. The best and most appropriate thing you can ever do is turn to the Lord with all your heart. If it takes some set of overwhelming circumstances to push you into His arms, then count those circumstances as your friends…



Surrendering is a good idea when you are facing dark and hopeless times. But always surrender to God, not to the circumstances. There is a very big difference.



It’s one thing to sigh and shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, there’s nothing I can do,” and it’s another thing altogether to surrender your situation to the Lord who loves you. When you surrender your life and your circumstances to God, everything changes.



Always surrender to God, not to the circumstances.
Ron Mehl



Yielding to His will and His plan is step number one. Once that is done, you can begin to ask Him some questions as you pray. Perhaps you might say something like this: “God, what do You see?” In other words, “How does this situation look from Your vantage point? Please help me to find Your perspective on my situation.”



The second question you might ask is, “God, what are You going to do?” Third, you might ask, “God what should I be doing?”



In other words, “God I don’t know what’s going on here. I know what I see, but I want to look to You. So I’m asking You for wisdom to let me see these things as they truly are.”



When I’m facing a trial or a difficult circumstance, I find that I need a refresher course on God. I need to remind myself about the parting of the Red Sea. I need to remember about the manna from heaven, how Jesus healed the blind man, and how He stilled the storm with a single word.



I give myself a quick refresher course on God and His blessings to me, and that helps me surrender to Him… not to my circumstances.

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Peace, Perseverance, The Ultimate Treasure, Words of Endurance

Months have passed since Lucy put her big, bulky box in her hall closet. It is still there. Whenever Lucy has a new prayer request for her daughter, she writes it down on a piece of paper, opens the closet, and places the request into the box. This symbolic gesture reminds Lucy that as she continues to pray for her daughter, God is the one who carries the burden. It is Lucy’s visual expression of faith that the same powerful God who met her on that terrible, dark day when she could do no more is still working in her daughter’s life.



Lucy has come to believe that “in every journey, regardless of whether it’s physical, emotional or spiritual, there’s a period of silence when God is teaching us something. I think that’s why God gives us treasures in the darkness. They point us back to Him, back to the One who is our hope for the future.



“God has brought me such a long way from the day I placed that box in the closet,” Lucy explains.“Our whole relationship with God is based on faith, but until that faith moves from our head into our heart, we will wrestle in the darkness. And even when faith becomes firmly planted in our heart, we will still experience ups and downs. That is part of the reason I continue to put my requests in the box. That simple action helps me have hope for the future in the midst of the darkness.”



With a sparkle in her eye and conviction in her voice, Lucy adds, “My personal experience in the darkness made faith come alive in my heart. Sure I had to walk through the darkness, but there I found something greater than I ever imagined. I found God!”And that, she will say to anyone who will listen, truly is the ultimate treasure.

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Anger, Fear, The Ultimate Treasure, Words of Endurance

Lucy grew up without a father and lost her mother to cancer when she was a teenager, so family was extremely important to her.When she and her husband had children, they worked hard to provide a safe, nurturing, family atmosphere. As committed Christians, they attended church regularly and also enjoyed the support of a close-knit, extended family that shared their faith. Of course Lucy and her husband knew they weren’t perfect parents, but family was their top priority and they did their best to provide a strong, loving foundation on which their children could build their lives.



That’s why Lucy was utterly devastated when her daughter decided to turn her back on her faith and walk away from her family. Lucy had always believed she would never experience deeper pain than what she had felt when her mother died, but she was wrong. Her daughter’s choice to pursue what Lucy knew would be a self-destructive way of life sent Lucy reeling.



For two years, Lucy was driven to figure out why her daughter had made such a destructive choice.“I wanted answers,” Lucy explains.“I was her mother. I felt responsible. I needed to take care of it, to fix it. I was so paralyzed by fear and anguish, so desperate to get to the bottom of what had happened, that it was almost as if I couldn’t take a deep breath.”



Driven by guilt, distress and fear, Lucy forged ahead to figure it all out. “I totally left God out of my search. I knew He would answer my prayers for my daughter, but I didn’t think He would answer them in the way I wanted them answered. So I just sort of steamed ahead and left God in the dust.”



Lucy didn’t stop praying, reading her Bible or attending church, although she admits those activities became less meaningful to her. She continued to go through the motions of her faith, but she couldn’t connect with the God of her faith. She vividly remembers how disturbing it was to talk with a hurting friend who needed encouragement during that time. Even as Lucy read words of comfort from the Bible to her friend, they sounded to her own ears like “raindrops on a tin roof.” For Lucy, those words provided no comfort. Instead, they felt empty—even annoying.



Lucy continued her pursuit for answers until it literally wore her out. “I found myself trapped in a long, dark, tunnel. I was trying to analyze why and how all of this happened, but I was unable to find any answers, and that frustrated me so much. It seemed that there was no way out. I finally realized I could not do this on my own.” Then, just when she felt the darkness would overwhelm her, her daughter called and the lights went out completely. Their conversation pushed her over the edge. Lucy felt as if she had been “slammed into a brick wall.” She went to her bedroom and threw herself on the bed. Totally desperate, she cried out to God, “I can’t do this anymore. I don’t have the strength!”



Moments later, to her surprise, Lucy heard the Lord speak clearly to her heart: “I’m all you need. I am enough.”



“I knew it had to be God,” Lucy explains,“because no one else was there. It felt like God’s voice because I never would have thought or said that myself. It’s like you hear something all of your life, and then, all of a sudden, God speaks to your heart and you get it! It finally makes sense.”



That’s when Lucy realized that God had never left her side during the whole ordeal. Instead, she had left Him. So with great relief, she said out loud, “Okay, God, I believe you are enough.”



Lucy got up from the bed, but her body and heart still felt heavy.“I had no strength. I was so depleted. I thought to myself, How am I supposed to remember that God is enough? That’s when the idea came to me to go to my closet and get a big box. Somehow I knew I was supposed to carry that box with me. I didn’t understand why, but I knew God was using it to teach me something.”



Although the box was empty, it was large and cumbersome to carry around.“It was so awkward to carry that I couldn’t do much, but I didn’t let go of it for anything—not to comb my hair or fix a meal. I kept thinking, This is so stupid! It’s a pain to carry this big, bulky box everywhere. Why do I feel led to do this? Despite those thoughts, I was trying to listen to God, so I carried that box around with me for four hours!



“I knew that carrying the box represented some kind of lesson from God, so finally, I stopped my mental protest and just listened. Once I was quiet, I heard God speak to my heart again,‘The box is your daughter and all of the questions you have been carrying around.This is what is sapping your strength.’”



Lucy got it. She knew what she needed to do next.“Dear Lord,” she prayed, “I gave my daughter to You when she was an infant, and I’m giving her back to You today. I don’t need the burden of carrying this box any longer.” She then took the box to a hallway closet and set it down inside.



“I wanted the box to be in a place where I could look at it whenever I needed a reminder that God is enough, that He alone is capable of carrying this burden.”



After Lucy set the box in the closet, something unexpected happened. “When I placed the box in the closet and closed the door, I felt God’s presence with me! It was just as if He put His arm around me then walked away with me. For the first time, I felt God had met me where I was. That encounter showed me just how powerful He is. I felt that there had been a great darkness inside me, but when God showed up, hope replaced my anguish.”



God showed Lucy in a clear, simple way that she couldn’t possibly carry the burden of her daughter’s choices. She simply wasn’t strong enough. But after she encountered God in the darkness, she knew she could trust Him to carry that burden for her. Whenever she’s tempted to pick up the burden again, she goes back to the closet and remembers.

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Healing, His Word, Hope, Pain, Words of Endurance

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.
PSALM 119:105



I have told you before that it has been my experience when I am in that dark valley on my journey that I cannot “feel” God’s presence. While I may not sense God’s presence during those dark times I thank God that I have His Word. God’s Word has been the light that has led me out of every dark valley.



If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.
I will never forget your precepts,
for by them you have preserved my life.
PSALM 119:92



One dark day during my darkest depression, I became angry with God – I could not feel or sense His presence – I felt alone – my emotional pain was great. I shouted to Him that I was going to turn from Him and turn to the world. I desperately wanted relief from my pain.



As I turned to walk away from Him, I began thinking about what I would choose to relieve my pain. The world offered many choices – food, drugs, alcohol, an affair, material goods, entertainment of all kinds, etc – take your pick. The only problem? Oh, each choice would take away the pain temporarily but I would still wake up the next morning with the same pain – with nothing changed.



I realized that the only tangible thing I knew in life that offered me eternal relief from my pain was the Word of God. I understood what Simon Peter meant when he was given the choice to leave Jesus. He said to Jesus:



“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
JOHN 6:68



Simon Peter knew and had witnessed the Truth – he had no choice but Jesus. I had no choice but to turn the Word of God – I, too, knew it was the Truth. His Word led me out of my dark valley – His Word will lead you out of yours. His Word – The Eternal Light that shines in our darkness.



In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
JOHN 1:1-5 (NLT)



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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Hope, Love, Pain, Words of Endurance

I entrust my spirit into your hand.
Rescue me, LORD, for you are a faithful God.
PSALM 31:5 (NLT)



I don’t know why but from the time that I was young I have always felt responsible for myself. As I grew older I also felt responsible for everyone else who was in my life – my family, my husband, kids, and friends. I definitely was carrying an unnecessary heavy load – too heavy for anyone to carry.



But to make matters worse, I even felt responsible for God! After I became a Christian, I believed that it was my responsibility to hold on to God – in my own power – in my own strength. When I went through my valley of suffering and I was afraid, I would literally envision my hand desperately clinging to God’s outreached hand.



As I trod through my wilderness though I became weaker and weaker and I began to lose my grip on God’s hand. It was like, one by one, my fingers were being pried away from His – I was terror stricken – what if I did not have the strength to hold on any longer? Where would I fall? … Away from God? … Away from His Grace and Care? … Into the darkness forever?



Soon on my journey, I was forced to face that fear – I reached a point where I did not have the strength nor did I care to hold on any longer. I lost my grip on God and I fell even further into the darkness.



Much to my surprise and amazement was that when I fell I did not fall into dark oblivion but I fell into the loving hands of my heavenly Father! When I least expected it the Lord met me in my darkness and led me into His Light where He saved me.



The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
PSALM 34:18



If you are in that same place of weakness – where you don’t have the strength to hold on or even cry out to God – please do not lose heart. Please know that He will never leave you, He is close to you and will restore you and make you strong once again. You have His Word on that!



And the God of all grace,
who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
1 PETER 5:10



On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky

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