Sunday, May 7, 2017

In Which We Open Doors of Hope for Each Other



Of course you'll encounter trouble.

But behold a God of power who can take any evil 
and turn it into a door of hope.
*  Catherine Marshall  *


Let's admit it.

Somewhere along the line we've secretly mused, 'why me?'

Too many spoke the lie that the Christian life included great heapings of lavish prosperity and unlimited health for those who named it and claimed it.  

We figured that 1 + 1 = 2 and if we did all the right things then life would run rather smoothly and be relatively trouble-free.

Yet we found our own personal pathways strewn with messy heartbreak and surprising misfortune ... and the specific answers to prayer we yearned for never quite appeared.

We wondered if we somehow missed the boat.

*

We seemed to have forgotten Hebrews 11:36-39 where the passionate faith of New Testament martyrs led to destitution, persecution, and grisly, unspeakable deaths. 

Jesus Himself said,' in this world you will have trouble' {John 16:33}.  His own torturous crucifixion for our sins showed that He was not exempt from life's cruelties.

But there is a door of hope.

*

God specializes in turning our miseries into miracles, our woes into wonders, our disasters into deliverance.  He offers a life-altering comfort right smack dab in the midst of the troubles and the wrongs that have come our way ... so that we in turn can offer hope to the next one down the line.

'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God' {2 Corinthians 1:3-4}.

Emerging from our deepest sorrows, we are able to hold open the door of desperately needed hope to the next one down the line who's been yearning to know that there is a tomorrow.  Our own deeply personal sufferings allow us to offer those shining rays of hope with empathy and authenticity.

Grace and mercy are given freely, intermingled with our tears and the compassion of Jesus Christ.







*

sharing with

38 comments:

  1. Hi Linda! I have often wondered where I would be without the hope I have in Christ. I sure can bungle things up, make mistakes and say the craziest, most unhelpful things. But as your quote says, God can make good of anything, and I truly believe that.
    May we all be the open doors to each other that God provides for us. We can move on, move ahead and bless each other on our way.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

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    1. You make a really good point, Ceil, about moving on and moving ahead. If we stay stuck in our own stuff, we're simply not able to be present for another soul.

      You've summed up why I'm so passionate about emotional healing. The enemy has a vested interest in keeping us mired in our own stuff. He knows that through Christ, healing comes and defeats the foe.

      Thanks for kicking off this conversation. May it prompt a healing stream ...

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  2. Were you at my church yesterday, Linda? :-) My pastor quoted 2 Cor. 1:3-4 and talked about this very thing. He was preaching about Jesus' post-resurrection appearances, including His invitation to Thomas to see the nail scars in His hands and put his hand in His side. The pastor's point, which I thought was profound, was that Jesus heals the seriously unbelieving by sharing His wounds with them. Only Jesus can heal, of course, but as you say, we can surely offer hope by sharing our own wounds with those who might be comforted by knowing where we have been. Beautiful post, my friend.

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    1. By His wounds we are healed.

      And by His grace, He allows us to reach out and lead others to the Healer.

      It just doesn't get better than that, does it ...

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  3. Turning miseries into miracles - yes, He does. Gosh, I think we all have testimonies to God's power in this if we're Christians. Welcome to Monday, friend. Good encouragement to begin the week.

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    1. Amen, Kristi. Those testimonies are there, just waiting to be re-discovered and shared with those who are aching for some kind of hope.

      Wounded healers we can be.

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  4. After all Danny and I have gone through over these last five weeks, your words here went straight to my heart and soul, Linda. God doesn't promise us a rose garden here on earth, but our hardships and suffering can help us to have empathy for and understanding of the plights of others. And God can help us become that blessing for someone else! There is nothing He can't work to ultimate good.
    Blessings!

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    1. I love that you bring up empathy, Martha. So very different from sympathy which stands afar off but never gets to close where things are messy.

      Empathy. Your shoes are my shoes. I'm there with you.

      And speaking of being there, I join others who are continuing to pray for you and Danny. I hope this week offers good news.

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    2. Be sure to listen to the song that Carol shares a few comments down the page ...

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  5. Whenever I start moaning "why me?" I try to change it to "why not me?" For whatever reason, God allows us to go through difficult times - sometimes non-stop. Many times I can change the circumstances I am in, or atleast my attitude in the circumstance. When I realize that I am not in control and turn it over to God, it is almost like a sensation of being on a raft and going up and over the situations and God allows the waves to hit to remind me to focus on Him, which isn't always easy. I want things resolved my way and in my time line. It is a constant task of giving it back to Him.

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    1. I like your point about choosing our attitudes in the midst of our stuff, Marilyn. For sure, these are constant choices. We usually don't have the power {or the right} to change others, and often our circumstances seem just out of our reach.

      I'm going to keep that raft picture in my mind. But what if He asks us to get off the raft and step out to walk on water?

      Just wonderin' ...

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  6. I can recall vividly the spiritual whiplash I experienced when I began processing all this truth. I was deeply committed to the 1+1=2 of Christianity and it was pretty traumatic to re-train my heart according to the Word.
    And, Linda, that image. Is it a photo? I kept looking at it and thinking about Andrew Wyeth.

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    1. Andrew Wyeth! Wow, Michele.

      I love spying the same kind of primitive images that he did way back in the day. Those are my favorite pics to snap. {These 2 are Annapolis, MD shots.}

      And spiritual whiplash? Oh yeah. Been there, done that, too. More times than I can count.

      So grateful He never gets weary of bringing us back to where He needs us to be ...

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  7. Great post, Linda!

    I tend not to have a problem with "Why me?" because the unspoken continuation is, "...and not someone else?"

    Wouldn't wish my situation on anyone. It's just the right thing to do. So I'm OK with it. Better it be me.

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    1. You and my mom have alot in common ...

      May you each never feel alone in your suffering.

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    2. I think you'll appreciate the song Carol shares right below, friend ...

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  8. Your post reminded me of this Mercy Me song Even If. "My hope is YOU alone" the song sings. I have to constantly remind myself if this.

    https://youtu.be/B6fA35Ved-Y

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    1. * tears *

      HEY READERS ... be sure to listen to the song Carol has shared with us.

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    2. I LOVE this song, Carol. Thank you so much for sharing it. Yes, even if He doesn't move the mountains, our hope is still in Him alone!

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  9. Beautiful Post, My Friend. It distresses me greatly that we have portrayed the Gospel as a message of health and wealth. Jesus--is the golden ring!
    Blessings!

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    1. I guess we're always looking for the easiest ride, aren't we ... so like our human nature not to want to make our way through the valleys but only desire to skip over the bright skylines ...

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  10. I'm so thankful there is always a door of hope! I don't always see it at first, but that's on me, not God.

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    1. Lisa ~ I hear you. I don't always see it at first either. Too busy gazing back, looking to others, wringing our hands?

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  11. I love this post, Linda. I don't know what I would do without God's deep love and grace in my life. It is through those valleys of suffering that hope becomes even brighter and more appreciated. And as you write - "Our own deeply personal sufferings allow us to offer those shining rays of hope with empathy and authenticity." Yes! Empathy and authenticity! When we are blinded in the mire of our own struggles, it is hard to see the need of others and to offer hope to others. But thanks to God's grace, He pulls us up, helps us to fix our eyes on Him, and opens our eyes to the needs of others and leads us on to offer His hope to the hopeless and the helpless. Thank you for always being so caring and understanding, my friend! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. I love that you remind us of God's grace, Trudy. Please be sure to see the song Carol shared a few comments back.

      Our hope is in Him alone ...

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  12. This is beautifully written, Linda. I love that God can work good even in our hardest times and that he can work in us to allow us to offer comfort and hope to others. That is such an encouragement!

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    1. Amen, Lesley! What He allows is often for reasons that we aren't able to spy in the moment ...

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  13. Lovely! Yes we will have trouble as the world is broken but so much comfort comes from always knowing we are never alone.

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    1. Yes, yes.

      Be sure to see the link to Carol's song a few comments back. Mercy Me has put your words to music, friend ...

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  14. I lost count at how many times I've asked "why me?" especially in my youth. Haha.
    But, this is so true. And how God works in our lives is simply amazing.

    Thanks for this beautiful reminder, Linda.

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    1. In your youth?

      Oh you're still there, girl! And I love that you find God amazing. I say 'amen' to your words.

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  15. Grace and mercy are given freely. So thankful for that!

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    1. He is gracious and bountifully kind, isn't He ...

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  16. It is always good to be reminded that He has not promised a rose garden! The perfect garden He gave us was lost by our own choice and until He returns, we live in the midst of that consequence while covered by his shed blood, grace, and mercy.

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    1. mmm ... very interesting point, Pam. Our long ago ancestors gave it all away by their sin.

      Sadly, I can only fear that we would have been just as disobedient.

      God have mercy.

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  17. This part lady, times a million to the moon and back. Love how God allows our messes to work for HIS glory! "God specializes in turning our miseries into miracles, our woes into wonders, our disasters into deliverance. He offers a life-altering comfort right smack dab in the midst of the troubles and the wrongs that have come our way ... so that we in turn can offer hope to the next one down the line."

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    1. To the moon and back ... how great is the love the Father has for us!

      Multiplied by millions!

      You said it well, Nicki ...

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  18. "He offers a life-altering comfort right smack dab in the midst of the troubles and the wrongs that have come our way ... so that we in turn can offer hope to the next one down the line."

    Amen! Such truth.

    So--- I wrote, eek. Not sure if that means I'm back or just a quick hello on blog land. :)

    Much love,
    Beth

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda