I prayed this morning. No, I didn't quite pray; I unloaded. Some people have those deep prayers where they sit and listen for God. The late Mother Teresa, when asked what she said when she prayed, replied, "Nothing. I just listen." When asked what God said, she replied, "Nothing. He just listens, too."Read More
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"The trick to life: stop trying to be something and just be what you are and love it." thus reads the inspirational scrawling on the paper towel dispenser in my favorite cafe's restroom. The handwriting and adolescent angst indicate the work of a teenager.Read More
A little girl rode shotgun as her father drove to the grocery store. Opening the glove compartment, she discovered a pack of Marlboro Lights.
"Whose are these?!" she screamed in disbelief and disgust.Read More
Bobblehead Night makes for one of the best nights on any sports team's calendar. Is there anything cooler than receiving a doll whose over-sized and ever-smiling head bounces endlessly? We look at any bobblehead, laugh, and then in relief think, "Gosh, I'm glad my head isn't that big. I couldn't get out of bed in the morning, poke my head in the fridge, or find clothes with a suitable neckline."Read More
One of our primary desires is our desire to be right. If others don’t believe us, we’ll try to prove them wrong, hopelessly.
Few desires trump this one, this need to prove what we believe to be true. We must have others believe us. And the closer they are to our heart, the more dire the need.Read More
Recently while was speaking with a person whom I highly respect, I confessed that I was feeling weighed down by certain pains in my life. I mentioned I just needed to find some hope to get past it. Her response stuck with me: “Don’t jump to hope until pain has its full way in your life. Pain is what causes us to grow and become closer to the Lord.” This response wasn’t quite what I wanted to hear, but I knew it was true.’
In this day and age, we’re especially unaccustomed to, and very uncomfortable with, experiencing pain. We are a self-numbing and self-medicating generation with a variety of treatment options: alcohol, cigarettes, donuts, pain pills, marijuana, online forums, porn, plastic surgery, and so on. However, looking to the Truth, the passage in James 1:2-4 affirms exactly what my friend said.
This scripture talks about how we’re supposed to endure pain because it will do a work in our life. Not only that, but we are to consider the difficulties we experience “pure joy.” This is something that’s terribly difficult for us to understand because it’s counterintuitive. We try mightily to avoid trials, conflicts and hardships. Why should we consider painful experiences with joy? Pain is the best and surest way to bring us to our knees at the foot of the Cross, leaning on the Lord for strength. These experiences test our faith, and the perseverance of pushing through them grows us into maturity. Thus, pain is also the surest way for our spiritual and personal growth. With this perspective in mind, we can view pain not as a punishment, but as a gift. Experiencing hardships provides the opportunity to become stronger in faith and perseverance, and closer to the Lord.
When you experience pain, lean into it. Don’t shy away. Don’t numb yourself to it. Know that by embracing and enduring it, letting the Lord be your strength, you will come away with more spiritual maturity and fullness than you had before.
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