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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Fight for Joy in the Crucible of Adversity: Your Thoughts

If you have been reading the past couple of posts, you know that I have been away for the past couple of days as I traveled to be with my wife and her family. It was a sweet time for Dusti and I, as we were also given extra time to spend with Logan and Delaney (our niece and nephew). For example, we were able to eat lunch with Delaney at school with a cafeteria full of kindergarteners and 1st graders. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to tell them, “No, it is not a tuma” or sing them a stanza from Adam Sandler’s “Lunch Lady Land.” Aside from the cokes and jokes, I have been thinking a lot lately about how I can minister to my family and offer them encouragement even while I am away. It is one thing to be there to offer hugs, to dwell together and hear one another’s prayers, or be able to serve in a tangible way. But when you are hours away, (apart from prayer of course) ministry can be a difficult thing to do. To give you a quick update, Kerrie came home from the hospital Friday afternoon and is recovering well. The lymph nodes were removed, and after another visit to the oncologist, she will begin chemotherapy. Let me add that the family is especially thankful for your prayers. What is true for all of us is the fact that we have all had our own trials and adversities. At one point or another, we feel like we have experienced that valley of the shadow of death. Moreover, those of us in ministry have been with others who have on numerous occasions. Indeed, it is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart (Ecclesiastes 7:2). Starting tomorrow, I thought I’d share some of the things I have learned from the struggles, valleys, and trials I’ve faced in my own life. The person God has made me has in large part been shaped, chiseled, and refined through various afflictions, and for them I am most grateful. I am reminded of the Psalmist who said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces” (Psalm 119:67-68,71-72). Before I begin my thoughts, however, I am interested in yours. What has God taught you through the fiery afflictions or adverse storms of life? Got any nuggets of truth or personal words of encouragement you would be willing to share? Any verses that have ministered to you? I ask this because this is simply applying the Word of God when it says that the God of all comfort comforts us so that we may be able to comfort others with the same comfort we have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-7). While the blogosphere has been proven to be a war zone at times, I believe it can also be a place where the balm can be applied and spirits uplifted. It is a privilege as brothers and sisters in Christ to comfort and minister to one another. We weep with those who weep and mourn with those who mourn. We rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance (Romans 5:3). If we are to an intimate knowledge of our Savior, surely we cannot expect to be exempt from sharing in the fellowship of his sufferings (Philippians 3:10). For any and all of you who take up this opportunity to share, let me begin by saying thanks. My family, especially Jeremy and Kerrie really appreciate it. Our family is hopeful and prayerful about the future, and already the family has been overwhelmed by the love and support they have received. And if you are currently going through a difficult time, be it a storm, affliction, or just spiritual depression, please stay tuned. I pray you will be encouraged in the days to come . . .

One last thing to note . . . and to keep my word, here is a picture of "dress up" where my wife and I joined Logan and Delaney in actin' the fool. Dusti was the high school cheerleader, Delaney was the Roll Tide cheerleader, Logan was the WWF wrestler, and I, well, I was the bald-headed rabbit with a purple fuzzy thing. Logan told me that I looked cool, so that's all that really matters.

4 Comments:

Blogger The Life of Chica Loca! said...

What a cute photo? It was good seeing you and Dusti at church this sunday. I was gonna say again that Carrie and the whole family will continue to be in my prayers. I have learned through differnt situations in my life that God honors the prayers of His people. Whether he answers them in ways we dont like or he answers them how we want them to be answered. Its still for the good of his will for our lives. I found a quote by Jonathan Edwards " A man at any age should be able to come alive every morning tiptoed against the suns risng or the rains falling and to close each day as nothing has ever existed or would ever come again for those were the intoxicating reveal of the senses for God had given them to man and they were nearly divine."
That may not have anything to do with anything or not but i wanted to share it. Julie

8/08/2006 12:49:00 PM

 
Blogger Stephen Newell said...

I can't say that I have any "nuggets of truth," but I do have a Scripture that has sustained me and truly been a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path: Proverbs 3:5-7. If any Scripture ought to be mandatory memorization, it's this one.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not upon your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes! Fear the Lord and shun evil."

8/09/2006 03:50:00 AM

 
Blogger Gordan said...

I am enjoying your blog a lot.

My wife and I recently lost an infant son. Before this happened, I'll admit that I thought I was ready. I had my "theology of suffering" all sewn up and ready to be put into action.

But in the months that followed, I found myself severely, sorely shaken, and at times wondered if I was losing my faith completely. Pretty scary stuff.

At the lowest moments (moments when I honestly didn't even WANT to believe anymore)I finally realized that I could not escape this fact: The Lord is risen.

That one thought, the historical reality of the Resurrection of Christ, was sometimes all that I had. But that was enough. It was an anchor for my soul, sure and steadfast.

Now that the front of the storm has passed over me, I find myself more grateful than ever for the grace of God. I know that I am a Christian, not because I want to be; but I am a Christian because that's what God wants me to be. I have been sustained by His mere good pleasure and mercy.

8/09/2006 06:43:00 PM

 
Blogger Timmy said...

Juls,

Thanks for the Edwards quote. Always enjoy Edwards. :)

Stephen,

Thanks for the verse bro. Actually, that is leading into my next post about this subject. Appreciate the encouragement.

Gordon,

I am honored that you enjoy P&P. More than that, however, I am grateful for your comments, encouragement, transparency, and personal testimony. I praise God for how he has brought you through some difficult storms and grown you as His child. One thing I've learned in my life that so much of theology I've learned has been rooted biographically and experientially. It is easy to speak of a theology of suffering when suffering is absent. But when it comes, the classroom of life will reveal whether or not we have passed the test. Sadly enough, I have failed in the past as well in being joyful through and honoring God because of it, and I pray that my family and I will seize this opportunity to treasure Christ and love one another in the months ahead in such a way that people around us will be drawn to our Savior. May it ever be!

8/09/2006 09:39:00 PM

 

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