Articles by " admin"
13 Mar

Surrendering to God’s Will Might Be A Leap of Faith

Yesterday morning, I was outside while a woman was walking by my house.  I believe the Holy Spirit quickened my heart to speak to her regarding the things of God, but I hesitated and disregarded the thought.

Leap of Faith

When I prayerfully examine what it is that makes me hesitate, it always comes down to fear.  My most spiritual objection is, “what if it isn’t the Holy Spirit, but just my own whim of a thought?”   But there is great selfishness driving that thought as well, because if I only act when I am positive the Holy Spirit is guiding me, then I never need to worry about faith.  Faith is like walking off a cliff; you might fall, you might not, there is no guarantee.  All you know is God is there, and so whether you fall or float…God.  That’s it.  Just, God.

Then there’s also the discomfort of being inconvenienced by doing the exact opposite of what I had in mind to do.  Instead of living as anticipated, God suddenly said it was time to leap outside of my own comfort zone into a world where I had no control.  I mean, it was 9 a.m., I simply stepped outside to get our trash can from the side of the road, I had no intention to embark on a gigantic leap into the unknown.

Now doesn’t that sound like the Spirit we know?  The One who counsels us and convicts, ever urging to love our neighbors deeper, and fuller.  The Spirit who conforms this fleshly temple to love the world as He does.  I can easily let that woman pass by without any care of her whatsoever, but not God.  No, the indwelling Spirit jumps and pushes, like a mother about to give birth.  The Holy Spirit loves all, at all times, whether I’ve had my Wheaties yet or not.  It is the will of God that “all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim 2:4.  This is the God I worship; The One whose heart yearns for the gospel proclaimed, so that all men might turn, and be saved.

The worst that could happen is that I am rejected and thought a fool.  Am I willing to fall for You, my Savior?  Gracious Holy Spirit, why have I not surrendered all to You by now?  Sure, there are times when I say ‘yes’, but why not always?  Give me faith like Moses, who esteemed “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” Heb 11:26.  Risen Lord, I plead with you to purge this pride, fear, and selfishness that so often guides my behavior; I want to buy from you ‘gold tried in the fire’, Rev 3:18, and salt so this sacrifice might be seasoned, Mark 9:49.

Faith is simple.  When God nudges you to action, don’t second guess it, or over think it.  As believers, the Spirit dwells within us already and so the good deeds that come into our heads should not be brushed off as whims, but rather prayerfully regarded.  Keeping in step with the Spirit is as simple as faith.  With the indwelling Spirit and your own surrendered will, you can discern God’s will at any situation, at a moment’s notice, and at every turn, by simply asking who you see plainly in front of you.  Do you see the visible or the invisible?  Faith is the result of “seeing Him who is invisible” Heb 11:27.  “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go…” “And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

God loves everyone, at all times, and in all places, and “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, Eph 2:10.  By renewing the mind, God’s good and perfect will becomes clear, Rom 12:2.  We see the ‘good works’ which He has prepared beforehand, but we must also ‘walk in them’ by taking the next step, which is often more like a leap.  So, may I encourage you, dear believer, next time the gospel is on the tip of your tongue, don’t hesitate, just leap.  Just, God.

12 Mar

Evangelism with Fear and Trembling

I spoke with a woman about the gospel the other day, or perhaps I should say I stumbled through the gospel, trying to speak.  All the essential elements of the gospel were there and she responded somewhat positively, but I’m sure my voice trembled and I was so nervous; it was embarassing.  I prayed about it afterward and pleaded with God to help me improve, so I’m not such a fool for next time.  

The Lord’s Response: 1 Corinthians 1 & 2

The Lord answered that night during evening devotions, when my husband handed me his bible because mine was downstairs.  I providentially opened directly to 1 Corinthians 1 and the following verses were the Lord speaking that night, providing comfort and confirmation.

“…in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”  1 Cr 1:21-25

And then in 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5,

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

A Fool for the Gospel

That night God did not confirm that He would help me preach the gospel without fear, in fact, He confirmed the opposite.  He confirmed that the fear and the trembling was all a part of His plan, and that He was going to use it for His glory.  He said that when I am weak, then I am strong.  When I think I can’t do it, that’s just the time to dive in, that’s exactly the moment the Lord was waiting for.  He promised me power in my weakness and strength in my fear.   

Jesus, You love the world more than you love my comfort.  If you tap me on the shoulder, and tell me to talk to that one or the other one, then make me a fool, Lord.  Though I tremble with stage fright, I don’t want to miss my queue, so push me out on stage.  I’d rather die a fool for You than live having missed the show.

Scripture Reveals How to Surrender the ‘Pride of Life’

Jesus, what must I still lay on the alter to surrender to your Lordship?  What is in me that is dulling the power of my prayers?

And the Lord provided 1 John 2:16, “for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  And the Lord highlighted “the pride of life” for a number of minutes.  What is this “pride of life”?  

If the “lust of the flesh” concern sinful indulgences of the body, and the “lust of the eyes” are the things one can see and covet.  So the “pride of life” is the indulgence of the ears, the thirst for applause, the hunger for a name of high regard.   As Matthew Henry comments, “A vain mind craves all the grandeur, equipage, and pomp of a vain-glorious life; this is ambition, and thirst after honour and applause. This is, in part, the disease of the ear; it must be flattered with admiration and praise.”      

I confess, Lord, this “pride of a life” is a temptation which has daily overcome me.  Like fingernails running down a chalkboard, it is repulsive.  But Lord, how do get rid of this prideful sound? 

And in answer, the Lord provided Romans 8:13, “for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”Stained Cross

How to Put Pride to Death

But how do I put to death my pride, Lord?  How is that possible? 

And the Lord answered again, this time with John 19: 1-30.  I just read this chapter to my 6-yr-old the day before, except I was using a different bible.  I did not intend to go here again today, but the Lord providentially used it again, perhaps as a way of cementing His voice into my soul. 

“And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.  Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.” John 19:2,3

Jesus, God of entirety cloaked in human flesh, beaten, scorned and mocked.  Jesus, Creator of the bird and fox, Provider of the bird’s nest and the fox’s hole, had Himself no place to lay His head.  “Hail, King of the Jews!”.  At this point, the fate of the Teacher came to a crown of thorns and a purple robe stained red, with no place to lay His head. 

Room for Only One Voice

The path is so narrow, without room for empty praise, and there is only one Voice ahead.  When I deceive myself with vain glory, bring to mind the praise You endured, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and replay that terrible scene in my head, Jesus.  Mortify my elevated self with these words, ‘a servant is not greater than his master’.

I ask something of a miracle, Lord, that praise would fall on me in the same way as rejection.  That both praise and rejection would only bring to mind the scorn of the cross lifted up; God Almighty in designed subjection to the dust of the earth and flesh, the blood, the thorns, and the hard wood.  Increase, Lord, as I decrease.

19 Feb

So It Is With Everyone Who Is Born Of The Spirit

Christian, don’t make the mistake of missing one morning without a quiet conversation with your Savior.   What joy you forfeit, what peace you dismiss for a few more minutes of sleep, or yet another Facebook check.  These things pale in comparison to the riches found in your quiet moments with Jesus. 

outstretched armsThis morning I read Christ’s words in John 8:14, “but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.”   Then, suddenly, a great gust of wind shook my cozy house, affectionately reminding me of the ways of the Holy Spirit as written in John 3:8.  So I turned there to savor these words of Christ about the Spirit, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.”  And then another forceful gust of wind rattled the house.  It is marvelous, Lord; the wind outside, the Spirit inside, Your voice resting on my table.  

“So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  You hear the sound of the wind, but you can not tell from where is comes and where it goes.  Like Christ, the Spirit comes from heaven, and will eventually go to heaven, delivering up the born again soul that has clung to Him.  This is why we must be born of the Spirit; the Spirit is of God and will return to God, but the flesh will wither and rot.  Worship wells up in me and streams out my eyes because the One who commands the wind is even mindful of me, and Psalm 8:4 is tossing in my mind, and Mark 4:41 holds my heart still, “who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” 

Christian, do not miss your morning conversations.  He waits to speak to you, He rises to greet you!  “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you”  Isaiah 30:18.

Lord, Make Me Rich

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.” 1 Tim 6:9

What does ‘desire’ mean here?   The transliteration for this Greek word is ‘boulomai’ and can be described as:

1) to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded     2) of willing as an affection, to desire

Heavenly Father, lead me not into temptation.  Keep me from riches, keep me from any possibility of living ‘comfortably’ without depending on You for my provision.  I confess I am weak and prone to straying from your good way.  I long to be closer to you, that my every thought and desire would be about the work of Your kingdom and Your purposes.  Deliver me from evil, from anything that would compete with my affection for You, from anything that would cloud my sight of the path you have chosen for me.  

bread from heavenJesus, give me this day, my daily bread.  As you fed the children of Isreal in the desert their daily manna from heaven, might I also gather only for this day, for if I store more it will surely rot.  Give me the blessing of waiting on you for my provision.  I greatly desire the experience of praising your hallowed name for answering my prayers, and knowing I can trust in You for tomorrow.  I want You to be my Storehouse and my Strong Fortress, my Bread and my Cup.  May I gain the peace that comes with contentment and trust. 

Holy Spirit, I humbly request you would work mightily in me, that I would follow after righteousness and godliness, seeking first the Kingdom of God.   Make me rich in faith and patience and good works, like the first believers who fought the good fight of faith in the firey trials, looking always ahead toward the substance of things hoped for, seeing clearly the evidence of things unseen.  Amen.

What Does the Bible Say About Why We Exist?

God so Loved the WorldWhy do we exist?  Because of three little words.  We exist because “God is love” 1 John 4:8b.  Love is a complex concept but I will discuss two attributes of love that greatly pertain to our creation.

One attribute of love is that it must have exchange; love involves more than one party; it involves both a giver and a receiver. God created us because He is who He is.  He is love, and we are an outpouring of Him, created in His image; He is the giver and we are the receivers. 

1 John 4:8b, “God is love” also answers why we were created in His image, yet immeasurably inferior to Hiim, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you visit him?” Psalm 147:4.  He is great and we are not, yet because He is so rich in love He is still mindful of us.  God Almighty created us because it glorified Him to do so; our creation, and our humble frame, fits ideally within His attributes.  He is love and we are an expression of His love. “For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yes, I have made him” Isaiah 43:7.

Another important element of love is that it involves choice, without choice it is simply not love but a series of robotic mechanics.  If God made man to automatically love God, the world would be peaches and cream but love would not exist.  And this is an impossibility since the Reality is that ‘God is love’, and praise Him for it, since perfect love is far greater in glory than a loveless utopia.  And so, 1 John 4:8b can also explain why evil exists.  God is perfect and love is perfect, therefore love exists.  Love must have exchange and choice; man did not return God’s love, but instead chose hatred toward God, therefore evil exists.

So what is an appropriate response to all this love from the Creator?  Love and worship.  The bible says we exist to glorify God and to love Him forever. “…for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” Revelations 4:11. ”Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment’” Matthew 22:37,38.

If this seems unbelievable or unattractive, perhaps you haven’t personally experienced God’s love.  Man chose emnity toward God from the very beginning, and so there is great suffering and corruption today “by man came death” 1 Corin 15:21, so much so that many look around at all the destruction and blame God, doubting the goodness and love of the Almighty.  But where man (the receiver) failed to return His love, God (the Giver) found a way to love greater still, to give even more.  Find out how to personally experience God’s love by continuing this article here.

The Gospel: The Greater Thing

Son of Man“Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”  John 1: 48-51

On January 3rd, 2013, during my morning devotions, I opened to the last part of John, verses 1:48-51.  These verses struck me as very significant and applicable, though I didn’t fully know why.   It seemed as though Jesus was encouraging my belief that He speaks directly to me through His word.  As if He were saying, “because I said unto thee” (John 1:50)… then fill in the blank with all these various ways which I have noticed the Lord speaking through His word…”believest thou?”.   And then He said, “Thou shalt see greater things than these”. 

I knew I would see greater things than the Lord speaking through His word.  But this is really something to consider because I am absolutely stunned that the Lord speaks to His people through His word.  Why do I think He’s saying I’ll see anything greater?  And what is possibly greater than that?

I read John 1:51, “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man,”  but I didn’t really gather what it meant.  I was out of time so figured I’d come back to it later. 

The Wonder of God

After my morning devotions, my girls and I worked on their devotional books for church.  I was amazed to find out what the prescribed verses for that day was in their workbooks.  It was John 1: 47-48.  Then, driving my son to His doctor’s appointment, we passed a church with a sign that said, “Greater Things”, I think it was publicizing a series of sermons or something.  I tried to think nothing of it but I know God too well for that.  God is so cool.

Writing this out sounds crazy, but God is amazing and I am only writing what happened as it happened.  Interpret it as you like, but remember God knows every detail, every single hair on our heads, and He documents every single word ever spoken and He knows every single thought ever thought from every single person in all of history.  “He tells the number of the stars” Psalm 147.  Though I don’t understand why He would be mindful of man, I see no bounds to what He can and can not do. 

The Greater Thing

Came To ServeDays passed and I realized that I was heavily thinking about the Gospel, day in and day out, more than ever.  That great event when God became man and chose death by torture for Himself, thereby paying our sin-debt.  I am amazed by it; utterly stunned.  It is the central thought in my waking moments and the driving force behind my prayers.  I am thinking about it while I do dishes, while I make the bed, while I am shopping.  These meditations of the gospel produce abundant thanksgiving and worship and compassion.  

Compassion for those who have not heard of this life-giving and eternal event which fills my heart, mind, and soul.  This joy and wonder about God’s plan of salvation drives me to memorize scripture and prepare my own gospel presentation to anyone and everyone that would listen.  I only need 5 or 6 minutes of their time.  I have been a Christian for 23 years and never before have I been so driven by the Gospel. 

John 1:51

I have since realized with awe-struck wonder what John 1:51 means; “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” It is speaking about the Gospel; Jesus is the bridge between man and God.  I believe God opened this thought to me: God has bridged the gap between Himself and mankind through His Son, Christ Jesus, and that is even greater than God speaking to man through His word. 

The Gospel is the greater thing, and God has graciously increased my understanding of the magnitude of His mighty work at Calvary, I understand a little better my part and privilege to share that understanding to the world He so dearly loves, in His good timing, in His good ways, and for the glory of His good name.  Praise be to God.

Lord, What Do I Write? Holy Spirit Led SEO

I had just read Luke 11:33, “No man, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place,” so I prayed that the Spirit would teach me how to light this prayer journal, this blog, since it is one way I proclaim God’s goodness to me.  In other words, I was asking God to teach me how to get internet traffic to this site so it could truly be a ‘lampstand”.  Right now I don’t think anyone reads it because I haven’t spent much time at all on Search Engine Optimization, or on link building, or any such thing, so I hardly get any traffic.  

 Whose Keywords Should I Use?

What am I listening to?

At one point I did spend a couple of hours looking up what the SEO people call “long-tail keywords”.  SEO people say to find the longer phrases that people are typing into the search engines which other websites are ignoring because they are so long.  I found plenty but I had a very difficult time trying to fit these keyword phrases into what I have already written.  I don’t write what people want to hear, I mostly just record answered prayer, so it was very laborious to try to fit the phrases into what I already wrote, and it also didn’t sound natural.  I realized I’d have to write by becoming inspired by the phrases themselves if I really wanted to incorporate them.  That didn’t sit well.

Anyway, as I was asking the Lord how to glorify Him, how to light this lamp and proclaim His goodness, I glanced back down at my bible directly at Luke 12:11 and 12.  As if in direct answer to my inquiry, these words popped out loud and clear, “take no thought how or what thing you shall answer, or what you shall say; For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say”. 

“Take No Thought” Recording A Prayer Journal

By definition, recording answered prayer is a form of writing which requires exclusive submission to the Spirit, and so every word is essential to the whole.  God isn’t interested in my keyword phrases; that’s just not how He wants me to do things for this blog.  Prayerfully led link building is good enough for me to build traffic. 

The Lord wants each word typed to be owned entirely by Him, “take no thought” about what I am to write, be taught by the Holy Spirit alone.  Spend no time desperately inserting man-inspired phrases but instead use that time for eternity, seeking first the Kingdom, and it will turn out just the way He intended it to, traffic or no traffic.  The best prayers and praises are not words chosen for their popularity, but groans and thanksgiving formed into words from the Spirit alone.  “But seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33

Is God Selfish? An Atheist Knows Not What He Says

I watched a street preacher speak to a crowd with an atheist ready to pounce.  He wanted to know why ‘good’ people don’t go to heaven, feeling hell was unjust, and he called God selfish, and he called God a curse word.  I was impressed with the preacher’s calm demeanor and his loving persistence with the man, and the crowd, which was clearly antagonistic.  

“The Heavens Are Not Pure in His Sight”

The man in the video, full of sin like every man, boasts about his own goodness (after all, he did go to Ethiopia to help humanity).  He wants God to judge him based on his own goodness.  And God will judge him based on his own goodness just as he desires, but what a foolish desire for “God puts no trust in His holy ones, and the heavens are not pure in His sight” Job 15:15.   Jesus, who was sinless, gave all for humanity, and graciously offers a way for God to judge us by His own righteousness.  We are welcome to trust in our own goodness, as that man desires, but we are also welcome to trust in His goodness.  

This is a gift freely offered, but instead of an appropriately thankful response, Jesus continues to get sneers and condemnation from mankind.  The man’s accusation is rooted in ignorance of who God is, who we are, and how horrific sin is.   Sin is costly.  That man offers no answer to the severity and magnitude of the rampant injustice on earth.  God does.  

God is Just: Do Not Hope He Will Sweep Your Sin Under the Rug

How does it feel to be wronged by someone else?  Does it hurt, does it hurt a great deal?  What if God were to just brush it aside like that man wants Him to, is that just, is it good and unselfish?  As the victim of someone else’s sin, you need objective  justice, not a perpetrator telling you it was good for them and besides, it’s minor and relative anyway so it’s okay, no biggie.  Who’s to say it’s minor?  The perpetrator of course, but not objective truth, not goodness, not God.  It is right that your pain is not swept under the rug, but expressed in a just way.  Punishment is necessary, this is basic justice and it is good and right; “without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin”  Heb 9:22.  Blood was shed, justice was paid in full, at the cross, unless we chose to stay under God’s just wrath.  Even if the perpetrater, and all the world, brushes aside your pain as relative, Christ does not, He knows better than anyone the painful terror of that sin.   

Is Sacrifice Selfish?

What do you call a man who take a bullet for you?  Do you call that selfish?  Would this man say these things if he were on the hill that dark night at Calvary when the moon turned red?  Would he be yelling at Christ telling Him that He was so #%@! selfish?  Would he say that to the bloody Christ, the one man in all of history who was truly good and innocent?  Sin is costly!  If God is good, then every lie I told, every wrong thought, every wrong deed is costly; and the payment is hell.  But praise God, the good news is that I don’t have to pay it because Christ already did.  May God have mercy on this man’s soul, may he someday hear what is was that Christ said over and over again while paying for our sin on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”.

Is this our idea of selfish?  Would that man yell those things if he were standing in the crowd witnessing this?…

“You Know Not What You Ask”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:22-24

Almighty God, Your love overwhelms me, Your compassion unmeasurable; crucify my flesh, my will, fill me with You that I would love more fully, help me to understand with Your compassion.  

Jesus, teach me to suffer long, to endure, to wait on You, to live at peace with Your timing, to practice temperance.  Help me to understand Your gift, the pain You willingly bore for me and for all who believe.  From this understanding, produce in me meekness, mercy, and charity. 

Holy Spirit, grant me goodness, for I go to the source.  Hold back my tongue, until Your fruit manifests from it.  Give me faith to see as You open doors of utterance that I may speak the mystery of the gospel with clarity and boldness.

“But Jesus answered and said, “You know not what you ask.”  Matthew 20:22a. 

Last Saturday I met a godly woman, married three years, who told me her husband has health problems and is in constant pain.  This pain is a terrible pain, not a dull throbbing pain, but an almost unspeakable pain that continually disrupts even basic living.  This was something her young husband lived with daily, making anything he tried to accomplish extremely difficult. 

My heart ached for her and her husband, but attempting to put myself in their shoes by imagining what life must be like was very hard to do.  It is very hard to know anything other than what I do know; I hardly know pain of any sort, and I do not know chronic pain at all.  I lack empathy because I lack experience.  Jesus, how hard it is to leave myself and experience even a bit of the depth of compassion that dwells within You.  Lord, give me compassion.  

“But Jesus answered and said, “You know not what you ask.” Matthew 20:22a

Early the next morning after meeting my new friend, on Sunday at 6:30 a.m., I suddenly felt a lot of pain in my stomach.  It continued throughout the day, much of the day I was alright but many times the pain was very intense.  I realized it was only constipation so I was determined to avoid the emergency room, however I found the pain unbearable late Sunday night.  The pain was so intense I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t pray, and I certainly couldn’t sleep; for hours I couldn’t think about anything other than the pain, and I couldn’t do anything other than moan and rock back and forth on the couch.  All I could do was endure for the time God allowed it to continue. 

While I was on the couch that night, Jesus graciously and continually brought to my mind that I know nothing about pain, but that others do know pain, and they know it routinely.  My heart ached more fully for those who are so acquainted with pain. 

He also reminded me that He isn’t the author of pain, but that it could be blamed on something which is nothing, the nothing which is the gap, the great separation between man between God, and that all of creation groans and will continue to groan until He restores all things. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22   My spirit is at peace with Christ even as my body is wasting away, separated from Him physically. 

God wasn’t chastising me that night, though He does chastise His children.  All I felt from God while rocking in pain was grace and purpose and answered prayer.  I was the one, after all, who asked for more understanding; I was the one who asked to be closer to Jesus, the One most acquainted with pain, the One most acquainted with the gap which He did not create. 

Corrie ten Boom’s father once said, “It is no easy thing to stand in the palm of God’s Hand”.  When pain is so severe it consumes, Lord, You cradle us in the palm of Your Hand.  We gain strength to endure by trusting You are at work, graciously producing in us good fruit which You will use for Your good purposes.  Love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, all these are good fruits sown by the Spirit and tilled by Christ.  Praise be to the One who will return to reap His harvest.