Who Are You Putting on the Throne?

Who Are You Putting on the Throne?

I was recently challenged by something Pastor John Gray said in one of his sermons. It was only one sentence, but it was powerful:

“Everything in your life has a throne on it.”

Who are you putting on the throne in your life? It’s easy to say that God is on the throne, but what happens when you really break it down?

Who are you putting on the throne over your emotions? Is it the enemy, telling you that you are guilty or unworthy? Is it a friend or spouse, encouraging or discouraging you? Is it yourself, trusting in what you feel? Or is it God, reminding your emotions to respond to His truth?

Who are you putting on the throne over your worship? Who are you putting on the throne over your fears? Who are you putting on the throne over your relationships?

You might have God on the throne over your Sunday mornings, but is He also on the throne over your Friday nights?

Maybe there’s an area of your life that you are holding back from God. “Lord, I want you to take care of my fears and my addictions, but don’t worry, I can handle my marriage.” When we put anyone or anything other than God on the throne—over any part of our life—we run the risk of becoming the things Paul warned us about in 2 Timothy.

“For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control, brutal, haters of good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of [outward] godliness, although they have denied its power. – 2 Timothy 3:2-5

Take inventory of your thrones. Who have you placed in a position of leadership over the various pieces of your life? Are there any areas that you still need to relinquish to God?

There is only One who is all powerful, all glorious, and all loving. There is only One who is unchanging, unfailing, and unshakable. There is only One who is worthy of sitting on the throne.

“I, [only] I, am the Lord, And there is no Savior besides Me.” – Isaiah 43:11

And Be Blameless

And Be Blameless

“So what you’re saying is…”

Early in our marriage, this quickly became my husband’s least favorite phrase. In the middle of an argument, he would tell me that I was misunderstanding what he was trying to say and I would respond with, “So what you’re saying is I’m stupid?”

We have all put words into someone else’s mouth at some point. Usually, what we are actually voicing is our own fear or insecurity. If we have an area that we feel vulnerable in, we assume someone is attacking us even when they’re not. Since I was several years younger than my husband, I worried that he saw me as lacking in some sort of sage wisdom or intellect, so I would get defensive when he talked about my lack of understanding.

Maybe in your past, someone has made you feel ugly or unworthy, and now it’s easy for you to jump to, “So what you’re saying is I’m not good enough for you?” Or maybe you’ve struggled with anxiety and depression and your heart still hears words that aren’t actually being spoken. “So what you’re saying is I’m crazy?” Jumping to the worst case scenario is an easy trap for us to fall into, and in doing so, we project our fears onto someone else’s words.

How many times do we unknowingly do that with God’s words?

I once expressed to God that there were places in scripture that made me feel condemned or unfit for His promises. I confessed that certain words would send me spiraling back into the guilt I had struggled with before He had convicted me of His truth and grace. He revealed that I was interpreting scripture through the context of my own fears, so I asked Him to give me discernment.

This past Sunday, our pastor was preaching on Genesis 17—God Almighty. I kept getting caught up in verse 1: “When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless.”

My mind clung to the very last part of that verse. Be blameless.

“So what you’re saying is I have to be perfect.”

In the middle of the sermon, God reminded me that I had asked Him to reveal His truth and grace in the scriptures, and He gave me the following revelation:

Blameless does not mean perfect. It means without blame. What I am saying is, “Walk before Me, believing that you are free from the reign of sin and the weight of shame. Whose worthiness are you walking in? Not yours, but Mine. You walk without blame because My Son took yours to the cross with Him.”

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. – John 5:24

When we dive into God’s Word, we can’t bring our past with us. If we do, whether we are clinging to false teaching or wrong understanding, we place our own truths over His.

I encourage you to ask God to cleanse your heart of any lies you are holding onto so that when you open your Bible, you can avoid putting words into His mouth. Replace, “So what you’re saying is…” with, “Lord, what are you saying?” and allow Him to share the fullness of His glory and truth with you.

Do Not Fear

Do Not Fear

Scripture is very clear that we should not fear, with over 350 verses urging us to be fearless. But how does God respond to fear when it springs up?

In Genesis 6, after the flood, Noah probably had some fear in his heart. He had just seen the entire world drowned, with only his family surviving. There’s nothing like a worldwide flood to let you know that you’re not in control. God responds by putting His rainbow in the clouds, as a promise of his everlasting covenant to never again let a flood destroy all life. He saw Noah’s fear and wrote His promise in the sky.

In Genesis 15, we see Abraham’s fears play out. He had been promised a child, but he was advancing in years and fighting in wars. It’s very likely he was afraid that he would die and his legacy would end. He couldn’t control the fact that he was childless and that his wife was barren. God responded to his fear in Genesis 15:5 by telling him to look at the stars. So shall your descendants be. He saw Abraham’s fear and wrote His promise in the stars.

Keep in mind that both Noah and Abraham lived before the scriptures, so they had no scripture to look at. Today, we have access to His Word, which includes every promise He has made to us, written out in black and white.

When my daughter was born, I couldn’t sleep for months because I was terrified she would stop breathing the second I closed my eyes. I vividly remember the night God whispered to me, “You can’t breathe for her, but you can trust Me.”

It is so easy to fear things that are out of our hands. So often, we have no way to control the situation, but we can control our response to the situation. For me personally, God showed me that I needed to respond to my fear with a declaration of faith in His Word. I wrote down Psalm 4:8 on a note card next to my bed: “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety and confident trust.”

I repeated those words every night until I was able to respond to that fear rising up in me with faith-based authority, knowing that the Lord was watching over us.

“I sought the Lord [on the authority of His word], and He answered me,
And delivered me from all my fears.” – Psalm 34:4

So how does God respond to fear? He reminds us of His promises so that we can replace our fear with faith. Scripture tells us that He made a promise to Noah in the sky, He made a promise to Abraham in the stars, and then He came to earth in human form to make a promise to us on the cross.

How amazing to serve a God who has never broken a promise.

A Slave to Righteousness

A Slave to Righteousness

What does it mean to be a servant of God and a slave to righteousness? The idea sounds conflicting in nature to our understanding of freedom. Scripture tells us that we have been set free in Christ (Galatians 5:1) and that we are no longer slaves to sin (Romans 6:6). Yet Romans continues on in verse 18-22 to say that we are slaves to righteousness and willing slaves or servants to God.

So what does it mean? Have we been set free or are we servants?

Let’s look at Jesus – the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – who took on the title of servant.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

In Exodus 21, the ordinances for servants are laid out:

Now, these are the ordinances (laws) which you shall set before the Israelites: “If you purchase a Hebrew servant [because of his debt or poverty], he shall serve six years, and in the seventh [year] he shall leave as a free man, paying nothing. If he came [to you] alone, he shall leave alone; if he came married, then his wife shall leave with him. If his master gives him a wife, and she gives birth to sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall leave [your service] alone. But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not leave as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God [that is, to the judges who act in God’s name], then he shall bring him to the door or doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl, and he shall serve him for life. Exodus 21:2-6

After a servant had served six years, he was free to leave on the seventh (the number of completion). However, if the master had given him a wife, the servant could plainly say, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not leave as a free man.” If that happened, the servant was pierced on a doorpost and would serve his master forever.

Note that the master is listed first: “I love my master, my wife, and my children.” This might seem like an odd order—What slave would love his master more than his wife?—until we look at it as a picture of Jesus and the Father. When Jesus chose to say that He loved His Master (God) and the bride He had been given (the Church) more than his freedom, he was pierced on the doorpost (the cross) as a sign that he would serve His Master forever.  Jesus relinquished his freedom. In order to redeem us, he descended in a human form and suffered a sinner’s death on the cross. He emptied Himself to serve the Father’s purpose.

Romans 6:16 says that we are the slaves of the one whom we obey. Paul is telling us that we all serve something, whether it’s sin or Savior. To serve sin is to be bound in death and condemnation. To serve God is to be bound in Christ so that we can bear fruit (Romans 7:4). Christ set us free from sin so that we could serve in love.

So, to be a slave to righteousness means to choose God’s purpose over your own. One thing I know to be true is that God’s plans for us are far greater than the world’s plans for us, and only one master has promised everlasting life.

For you were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another. – Galatians 5:13

The Words That Broke My Heart

The Words That Broke My Heart

It only took one sentence to break my heart. I don’t mean that it just made me incredibly sad, or that it hurt for a few minutes—I mean that it literally shattered my heart. It made me stop and re-evaluate all of the things I was taking for granted in my own life.

I work for a Christian international relief organization, and some of the work we do is in countries that are closed to the Gospel. In several of these countries, Christians aren’t allowed to gather, they’re not allowed to own Bibles, and they’re not allowed to speak the name of Jesus. We had a guest visiting from one of these countries, and for the first time he was invited to church. After the service, he had tears streaming down his face as he said, “This must be what Heaven is like.”

The impact of that statement hit me hard. This man, who hid his Bible under the floorboard, had never stood side by side with other believers. He had never heard multiple voices singing, as one, praises to the King. He had never seen the body of Christ coming together in one place, for one purpose.

To him, coming before the throne with his brothers and sisters surrounding him, lifting up their voices to Jesus, was literally Heaven on earth.

To him, Heaven was doing the same thing that we get to do every single Sunday. To him, Heaven was going to the same place that we sometimes have to drag ourselves to in the mornings. To him, Heaven was hearing multiple voices singing the same songs that we complain about when they don’t fit our preferences.

There is so much that we take for granted when it comes to being able to surround ourselves with other believers. Despite personal differences or broken relationships, we can still stand next to each other and lift our voices in unison to our Father. We can pray with each other, sing with each other, and encourage each other.

His words broke me, but they also challenged me. When did church become an obligation? When did personal comfort become my spiritual goal? When did I start taking my brothers and sisters in Christ for granted? Scripture tells us to receive the kingdom of God like a child, and what a beautiful picture of childlike wonder: standing and singing together in awe of the glory of God.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

– Revelation 7:9-10

The Living Gospel

The Living Gospel

In Greek, the word “Gospel” translates to “good news” or “a message of victory”. That is the definition I’ve heard most often: The Gospel is the good news that Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sin so that we might become children and heirs of God.

Even during His time on earth, Jesus was the living Good News. He took what others deserved and, in return, gave them healing, freedom, and right-standing with the Father.

In Mark 1, scripture tells us of a leper, who was an outcast because Levitical law said that the unclean had to remain separate, or apart. Jesus touched the man and He healed him. He told the man, “Don’t tell anyone”, but the man went out and told them anyway. Verse 45 says that because of this, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly, but stayed outside in the lonely places.

In Mark 5, a man with an impure spirit came across Jesus. Verse 4 says that no one was strong enough to subdue him. People feared him and stayed away. Then, Jesus came and He cast the demons out of the man and into the pigs. Verse 15 says the people saw the man who had been possessed sitting there, dressed and in his right mind, and they were afraid, begging Jesus to leave their region.

In Luke 7, there was a woman who lived a sinful life. She was judged by the Pharisees. Yet when she saw Jesus, she wet His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and poured perfume on them. Jesus told her that her sins were forgiven and verse 49 says that the other guests began to judge Jesus, asking, “Who is this who forgives sins?”

That is the living Gospel. At the beginning of the story, the leper was in the lonely place. The possessed man was feared. The woman was judged. But by the end of the story, Jesus was in the lonely place. Jesus was feared. Jesus was judged.

He didn’t just save them—He took their place.

In Hebrew, the word for “Gospel” is Basorah. When you look at the meaning of each letter, the word translates to “a completely consuming dwelling place which reveals the head or authority of Grace”.


Jesus took our place so that we could take His, and come face to face with the Father of grace.

That is the message of victory. That is the good news.

That is the Gospel.

Remember Your Position

Remember Your Position

“Therefore, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…”

– Hebrews 10:19 -22

Scripture tells us that we should have the confidence to enter into the presence of God because Jesus acts as our high priest. The purpose of the high priest in the Old Testament was to enter the Most Holy Place, stand before God, and make atonement for his people so that they could have right-standing. Christ secured our eternal redemption through His sacrifice, so we are forever in a position of complete right-standing with God. We are His heirs, and we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

Our position of right-standing is tied to our identity, our purpose, and our authority. When we forget that position, we open ourselves up to an attack from the enemy.

Satan loves to take advantage of us when we don’t know the power we have. He attacks us with fear, or doubt, or anxiety, or insecurity. He tells us that God has turned His back on us, because we aren’t good enough.

We cry out to God and ask Him to remove those thoughts from our lives, but we so often forget that He has given us the authority to bind the enemy, in His name and in His power. Matthew 16:19 says, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

When we forget our position, we surrender our authority. I heard a sermon once where the pastor compared this to getting robbed while you’re home. I’ve thought a lot about that comparison, because it’s so true. We sit there, watching the enemy enter our homes, our marriages, and our relationships. We watch while he steals our peace of mind, our joy, and our confidence, and all we do is point and say, “God, look! Look at what he’s doing!” And God responds by asking, “Why are you letting him?” It’s like the police coming to your house after the robbery and asking, “Where were you when this happened?” and you answering, “Oh, well I was there.” Why did you not stop him?

Don’t lose sight of your position! Satan is powerless before the blood of Jesus, which is covering you. You are an heir of God and the power of life and death is in your tongue.

Because of who my Father is, I can defeat my enemy by waking up in the morning and saying, “I bind the spirit of fear, insecurity, and doubt in my life. Jesus died to give me His righteousness, and that’s what I choose to walk in today.”

When the enemy comes against me, I just remind him that the God who created the heavens and the earth, the God who parted the Red Sea, the God who delivered Daniel from the mouth of the lions, the God who walked on water, the God who died my death on the cross, and the God that rolled the stone away—that God is my God, and I am His child.

The Nails Are Gone

The Nails Are Gone

We all have scars.

We live in a world that leaves scars. We fight an enemy that leaves scars.

Sometimes our scars hold us back from the things we want to do and the people we want to be. It’s like we aren’t sure we are really whole.

Wholeness isn’t something we can see, and maybe we’re a little like Thomas. He said, “I want to see with my own eyes and touch with my own hands.” Maybe we’re holding our scars up to Jesus, saying, “I don’t see the healing! I want to be who you need me to be and do what you’ve called me to do—but what about these?”

Jesus answered Thomas the same way He answers us. With His scars.

He told Thomas, “Put your finger here.” Touch where the sin was. Touch where the shame was. Touch where the guilt was. Touch where the condemnation was.

Touch where the nail was. 

It’s not about what was there; it’s about what’s not there anymore. The nail is gone!

The things that held Me on that cross don’t hold Me anymore—and they don’t hold you either. Because I am your God and I have set you free. 


The Final Promise

The Final Promise

We live a life filled with God’s promises—healing, provision, protection—but sometimes it feels like we live a life of waiting on God’s final promise. His Second Coming.

Scripture is filled with people waiting. Abraham and Sarah waited 100 years for their promised child. Joshua and Caleb waited 40 years to enter the Promised Land. The world waited three days for the promised resurrection.

Friday was the day that Christ took all of our sins on Himself and was crucified. Sunday was the day that He rose from the grave and gave us victory over death. But Saturday was a day of waiting.

Sometimes it feels like we are living in Saturday.

We know that God has promised us eternal life, but we still see people we love dying. We know that God has promised us He will wipe the tears from our eyes, but we are still crying them. We know that God has promised we will never again hunger or thirst, but we still see babies whose bellies are swollen from hunger.

We know that He has promised us Heaven, but we are still waiting.

The good news is that as Christians, we wait with hope, knowing that our God is living. Knowing that our God has finished His work.

We may live in Saturday, but our hope is in Sunday.

Our hope comes from:

  • Knowing that He is faithful. (Deuteronomy 7:9)
  • Knowing what He has promised. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

When we meditate on His faithfulness and rest in His promise that He will return, we wait with a hope that can only be found in a God who has never failed. He said that the work was finished (John 19:30). He said His plan would come to pass (Isaiah 46:11).

It is not a plan to simply begin something. In order to bring glory to the Father, the plan has to be completed. Salvation is about a union with Christ that culminated in a resurrection, but the plan is still not complete. Jesus says “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40)

The plan is still being fulfilled because the purpose of the plan is eternal life for us. 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Our loving Father wants everyone to come to Him so that none of us are denied His eternal life. He finished His work. We are not waiting on Him; He is waiting on us—to proclaim His love to the world so that all of His people can hear His words and come home.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:14

Who Am I, Lord?

Who Am I, Lord?

In Exodus, Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He doubted his calling because he doubted his worth and his redemption.

Have you ever asked that question? Have you ever felt a calling on your life and wondered, “Who am I to fulfill this?”

He called me and I asked Him, “Who am I, Lord?”

To go out in Your name.
To fulfill Your purpose.
To command the darkness to flee.
To heal the sick.
To make disciples of all nations.

I asked, “Who am I?”

And He replied, “You are Mine.”

Jesus earned His right-standing with God. He deserved the abundant blessings. But He transferred both of those things to us so that we could be chosen, appointed, and equipped to fulfill His purpose.

“God saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace.” 2 Timothy 1:9

When we tell God we’re not sure we’re the right one for the job, we aren’t seeing ourselves the way that He sees us. We are mistaking and misplacing our identity.

Scripture tells us exactly who we are:

  • We are chosen by God, holy and dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)
  • We are sanctified. (Hebrews 2:11)
  • We are anointed. (1 John 2:27)
  • We are the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)
  • We are the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
  • We are HIS. (Galatians 2:20)

God has prepared the way for us. He has redeemed and qualified us so that we can respond to His calling with confidence, knowing who we are and whose we are. 


I Clawed My Way To You

I Clawed My Way To You

You can learn a lot about yourself by re-reading old high school journals. I recently found some of mine and was reminded of all of my favorite quotes, song lyrics, books, and movies. Between things I had written myself and things I had copied down from other sources, I could also clearly see the opinion I had of God. One of my favorite songs was “On Distant Shores” by Five Iron Frenzy.

First, a disclaimer: this song is amazing and I still love it. However, the lyrics that I wrote down in my journal didn’t capture the full picture of what the song was saying. Instead, I pulled out the ones that I thought I related to:

With resilience unsurpassed, I clawed my way to you at last.

I identified with those words so strongly, because that’s how it felt to me—like I was constantly exhausting myself trying to get to God. Like I was clawing my way to the cross. I think I believed that after Jesus died on the cross, His pursuit of me stopped there. He had done His part, and it was time to do mine. I felt like I had to be perfect to get to Jesus, and that when I missed the mark, I had to fight my way back to Him.

The enemy used to go before God to accuse us. In Job, scripture says that satan came before God, with the angels, and accused Job of only loving God because of His provision. But satan no longer has that option. He can’t come before the Father to accuse us, because Jesus is seated at the Father’s right-hand and serves, not as our accuser, but as our advocate and our mediator. He speaks in our defense and He fights for us. When we miss the mark, Jesus is there to remind the Father that His sacrifice has already covered us.

“If anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” – 1 John 2:1

Since the enemy can no longer go before the throne to accuse us, he instead comes to us and tries to convince us of his lies. He wants us to believe that we are unworthy. He wants us to believe that we are far away from God and can never get close because we don’t deserve to. He wants us to believe that the veil is still up and that we can’t come before God unless we are holy and perfect.

But God tore the veil for us (Mark 15:38). He chases after us (Psalm 139:7-8). He fights for us (Josh. 23:10). He never stops pursuing us (Luke 15:4-6).

Jesus went to the cross while we were yet sinners. That means that as unrepentant sinners, Jesus fought for us. If He fought for us then, how much more is He going to fight for us now that we are His? If He fought for us when we were dead in our sin, how much more is He going to fight for us now that we’re alive in Him? As a parent, as much as you would fight for any child, how much more would you fight for your own son or daughter?

If we use all of our time and energy trying to meet a standard of perfection that was never meant for us, we won’t have any room left to pursue our calling.

We don’t have to strive to prove our worth and we don’t have to fight to get to Jesus—His love is fighting for us! The lyrics I wrote in my journal today are the ones I am embracing as my truth:

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

It chases me down, fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it and I don’t deserve it
Still you give yourself away

Oh the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down

Coming after me

More Than We Can Handle

More Than We Can Handle

“God won’t give you more than you can handle” is a popular phrase that I’ve heard a lot in Christian circles. Sometimes it’s almost used as a joke. “God won’t give me more than I can handle, but He sure does trust me a lot.”

The truth is, that’s not what scripture says, and it can actually give a false sense of God and His character.

What scripture does say is that God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). It doesn’t say that God gives us temptations, but that He won’t let the temptations become too much for us. There’s a large difference between God giving us something and God protecting us from something. James 1:13 is very clear on this subject: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.”

Going back to the phrase “God won’t give us more than we can handle”, the idea that hard times are given to us by God can be damaging and makes it sound like He is the one who is causing our pain and our grief. It’s easy to look at Job in scripture and see someone who was given more than any one man should be able to handle, but it is also clear that God was not the one who gave him those tests and trials. Instead, when satan came against Job, God limited satan in what he was allowed to do (Job 1:12). Today, we have even more of God’s protection. The enemy can no longer come before God and accuse us because Jesus Himself is our advocate. 1 John 5:8 says that because Jesus holds us securely, the evil one cannot touch us.

Additionally, the idea of “more than we can handle” points to an unfair and unjust system, which is the opposite of God’s character (Job 34:12). Why should Person A be given more hardships just for being stronger than Person B?

Ultimately, it’s not about what we can handle. In fact, I would say we are often given more than we can handle. No parent should ever have to go through the pain of losing their child. No child should ever bear the weight of abuse. No person should ever feel the need to contemplate whether or not their existence matters.

In 2 Corinthians 2:8-9, Paul wrote to the church, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.” Those are certainly not the words of someone who felt like they had a handle on the things happening around them. He continued, “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”

We were not built or equipped to handle everything the world throws at us; that’s why we needed a Savior. It’s not about what we can handle, but what He can handle.

A more accurate phrase for Christians to use is, “We can never be given more than He can handle.” There is no burden too large or too small for our God. There is nothing the enemy can attack us with that we can’t surrender to the one who is abundant in power and love for us.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Even When It Makes No Sense

Even When It Makes No Sense

We have always had a need to make sense of the world we live in—through science, through mathematics, through geography—so that we are able to explain and justify our experiences. However, God’s ways don’t always make sense.

As an analytical person who works every single day in spreadsheets and numbers, it makes logical sense to me when the world says, “We don’t need prayers; we need action.” I have to remind myself that prayer is the most important action we could take.

In the New Testament, there are more verses about Jesus praying than there are about Him performing miracles. When giving advice to the disciples in Luke 18, He tells them that they should always pray and not give up. Philippians 4:6 tells us that in every situation, we are to present our requests to God through prayer.

Prayer is the most powerful weapon that God has given us because it allows us to directly petition him in our time of need. From there, He can tell us what to do. If we pray, and God tells us to move, then we need to move. If He tells us to hold still and wait, then we need to hold still and wait, knowing that He will bless our obedience. It’s much more important to seek wisdom and discernment than to jump headfirst into a battle you don’t know how to win.

I want to look at two examples in scripture where the action plans from God were definitely not the logical plans His people would have come up with if they had not first come before Him in prayer.

The first is Jericho. There is absolutely no way that Joshua would have had a strategy meeting and told his army to simply march around the city once each day for six days, while priests carried the ark and blew trumpets, if that direction hadn’t come from God. This battle plan made no sense, but on the seventh day, the army marched around the city seven times and gave a shout, and the walls of Jericho fell down flat.

The second example is Jehoshaphat and the battle he never had to fight. Instead of spending his time preparing for a war, Jehoshaphat spent his time before God in prayer and the Spirit of the Lord said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” When Jehoshaphat sent his army down the next day, he appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him and sent them to the head of the army. His front-line was made up of men singing praises to the Lord!

Can you imagine if our generals came before us and told us that their plan was to have the armies march around blowing trumpets or to send singers to the front of the line? Can you picture the outrage, the condemnation, and the disbelief that would follow?

Before taking action, it is vital that we first come before God in prayer, asking Him to show us what steps, if any, we need to take. That time of worship and petition should always be our front line. Maybe God will tell us to stand up and march, or maybe His answer will be to hold still and trust Him to fight the battle for us. Either way, when we take the time to first hear from God, and we have complete confidence in what He has called us to do, then the world’s opinion doesn’t matter.

God never fails, and He will always follow through on His promises when we are obedient to His direction.

Created For His Glory

Created For His Glory

“Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory” – Isaiah 43:7

What does it mean to be created for God’s glory? Scripture tells us that we were all created for His glory, but sometimes people tend to get the wrong impression from that statement. We are taught to be humble, and not to boast in our own works, yet here we see God literally creating things that will exalt Him. To understand what it means to be created for God’s glory, we have to first understand what His glory is.

In Exodus 33:18-19, Moses asks God to show him His glory, and God responds by saying, “I will make all my goodness pass before you.”

God’s glory is His holiness, His character, and His attributes on display. When we bring God glory, it means we are physically manifesting His hope, peace, love, joy, kindness, goodness, and gentleness.

Scripture tells us in Ephesians 2:10 that we are God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. God has not only prepared ways for us to display His character, He has also equipped us to do so by giving us His power through the Holy Spirit and His righteousness through Jesus Christ.

However, He also gives us a choice. Moses could have chosen to drop the staff. David could have chosen to drop the slingshot. Joshua could have chosen to drop the trumpet.

God knows the plans He has for us, but at any point, we have the option to walk away from the victory He wants for us. That doesn’t mean God won’t fight for us (looking at you, Jonah), but that He ultimately gives us the free will to do as we choose.

Because Moses didn’t drop the staff, he was able to deliver His people from slavery. Because David didn’t drop the slingshot, he was able to turn the tide of battle. Because Joshua didn’t drop the trumpet, he was able to win the city of Jericho.

When we choose to embrace our calling and surrender to God, we are able to walk in the power and victory He wants for us, and bring His love and joy and goodness to a fallen world filled with sickness, death, and pain.

In Scripture, when we read that the Lord has created everything to proclaim His glory, it means that He has created everything to bring revelation of His love to those who are desperately searching for it.

Here I Am To Worship

Here I Am To Worship

When I think of the word worship, I usually visualize someone with their hands in the air, maybe on their knees, singing or crying out to God. For believers, worship is a time where our minds can be transformed and our hearts can be renewed – but for that to happen, worship can’t just be external. It has to be internal as well.

I grew up in church, and I’ve attended Sunday morning worship all of my life, but I can’t count the number of times when I was singing the words with nothing happening in my heart. In Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they worship me in vain.”

There is a difference between being moved by worship songs, and being moved through the act of worshiping. It’s possible for your mind to be moved by the lyrics in a song, or the beautiful voice of a singer, without your heart being engaged. Maybe you think the lyrics are beautiful, but you don’t connect to the Savior behind the words.

True worship has to be internal. It’s not just about singing the words. In Hebrew, “worship” means to bow down and submit, or to offer. It means to internally surrender to the one whom you are worshiping. It’s this act of surrender that allows God to move in and through us. It connects our heart and spirit to the truth we are proclaiming with our mouths.

It’s when we are in that state of worship that God can easily speak to us, or impress something on our hearts. One of the most vivid memories I have of God speaking to me through worship was right after my father-in-law passed. A week after the funeral, I found out I was pregnant. I was overwhelmed with conflicting emotions – thrilled that we were going to have our miracle baby; devastated at the timing of everything; nervous about telling the family – but I knew God had been faithful to answer our prayers and that I needed to trust Him with the timing as well.

That Sunday, my husband led worship. I held my hands protectively over my non-existent baby bump and prayed that God would give me courage. The song my husband sang was “God of This City”. My head knew the lyrics, but it was like my heart heard them for the first time.

You’re the light in this darkness
You’re the hope to the hopeless
You’re the peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city

For greater things have yet to come. There is pain now, but joy comes in the morning. Blessed are those who die in the Lord. Do not grieve, like those who have no hope. I have a new song for you to sing. And greater things are still to be done. I know the plans I have for you. Do not fear, for I am with you. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. This child is My handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which I have prepared in advance.

God spoke words of love, encouragement, and provision straight to me because my heart was open to receive them. This doesn’t mean you have to receive revelation to be worshiping. Worship doesn’t have to follow a specific formula. You don’t have to be singing, or kneeling, or crying. It’s not about a body position, but a heart position. In your heart, does Jesus come first? When you’re singing or speaking, are you talking about God, or to Him?

Your pretty words mean nothing if your heart doesn’t echo them. Your raised hands mean nothing if they are not seeking Him. Your bended knees mean nothing if you are refusing to surrender. Worship is meant to declare God’s glory, but it means nothing if your heart doesn’t believe He deserves it.

If you want to connect deeper to the Savior behind the songs, you only have to surrender, for He is worthy to receive all of the glory and all of the honor. He alone is God, and He is worthy to be praised.

The Curse Was Reversed

The Curse Was Reversed

In Leviticus, one of the main themes was the idea of clean vs unclean. Leviticus 11-15 used to overwhelm me with all of the lists of clean and unclean animals, illnesses, and discharges. For the most part, in this context, being clean or unclean directly related to holiness, and it was often something that was determined by priests. To be unclean meant that you had no access to God. No one could approach God in an unclean state. God is and was holy, so anything that came into His presence also needed to be holy.

In the Old Testament, if you were considered unclean, not only were you separated from God, but you were also separated from other people. You had to live “outside the camp” so you would not defile it. People couldn’t come near you, or they would also become unclean. Touching something unclean made you unclean.

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” – Leviticus 13:45-46

Someone who was unclean was completely isolated under the curse that came with the fall of man.

But Jesus reversed the curse.

Those who were unclean could not go into the presence of God, so God came to them. Before Jesus, anyone who touched someone unclean became defiled. When Jesus showed up on the scene, for the first time, someone could touch the unclean and it was the righteousness that was passed on.

When the woman who had the issue of blood touched even the hem of His garment, she was immediately cleansed. Can you imagine the thoughts that would have gone through the Pharisees’ minds? They knew the scriptures and knew that those who touched someone who was unclean would become unclean.

Yet Jesus touched those who were demon-possessed, those who had seizures, those who were paralyzed, those who were leprous, and even those who were dead. He repeatedly touched people who would have defiled Him according to the Leviticus laws—and instead, He made them clean. The dead became alive, the sick became well, and the unclean became clean because of His holiness.

What a picture of the cross! Jesus washed us from our iniquity and cleansed us from all of our sins. He made us white as snow. We are clean now because of His finished work.

In the Old Testament, God’s people were stuck at the bottom of Mt. Sinai because they couldn’t come close to Him. But now, because we have Jesus’ righteousness, scripture tells us that believers can come boldly before the throne of God.

“Let us, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

Foundation of Grace

Foundation of Grace

Reading through the Old Testament several years ago, I remember being so confused by what felt like a bipolar God. In Exodus, He responded to the Israelites grumblings in the wilderness with grace over and over again. Then suddenly in Numbers, He responded to the exact same grumblings with curses and serpents. Did He just run out of patience with them? Did He decide after the golden calf that they weren’t good enough for His grace anymore? Did His grace for me also have limits? It left me with an impression that was incompatible with what I knew to be true about God.

Finally, a few years later, my husband and his parents led me through a study on the various covenants in the Old Testament and I was able to reconcile my view of the Old Testament God with the Heavenly Father I had fallen in love with. I was also able to create a solid foundation for my understanding of grace and God’s love.

To fully understand the foundation of grace, and what it means to live under grace, it’s important to look at a few of the covenants in the Old and New Testaments: specifically, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Mosaic Covenant, and the New Covenant.


Covenant:  cov·e·nant  \ ˈkəv-nənt ,  a formal, solemn, and binding agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties, especially for the performance of some action.

The Abrahamic Covenant was established in Genesis 12: 1-3 and was cut by a blood sacrifice in Genesis 15. When establishing a blood covenant, it was typical for both parties to pass between the halved animals to signify the commitments each of them were making. In Genesis 15:17, only God passed through the center, while Abraham was in a deep sleep. This shows us that the covenant was unilateral, meaning its fulfillment was dependent on God and His sovereignty alone, not on Abraham.

Abraham and his descendants had only to believe and it was counted as righteous. When the Israelites came out of Egypt, this was the covenant they were under. It was a covenant of grace, as we see in Exodus. While traveling to Mt. Sinai, the Israelites doubted Him on the shores of the Red Sea and God delivered them (Exodus 14:12). They complained about the water at Marah and God provided for them (Exodus 15:24). They grumbled about hunger in the desert and God supplied them with abundant bread and meat (Exodus 16:2-3). This is what a covenant of grace looks like – its fulfillment is not based on the works or obedience of the people, but on God’s faithfulness alone.

However, at Sinai, everything changed. Under the first covenant, Israel became prideful, believing their salvation came from simply being God’s people and that they were wholly capable of doing everything He asked of them. They saw themselves as equal partners in God’s covenant, so they signed up for a new, law-based covenant where God’s blessings now hinged on their faithfulness. (Exodus 19:1-8). When the people responded to God that they could do everything He asked, they were saying, “Judge us based on our obedience instead of Your goodness.”


The Ten Commandments, along with the other laws, were given to the Israelites in Exodus 20. While the Abrahamic covenant was a unilateral covenant, the Mosaic Covenant was a bilateral covenant. Though its ultimate fulfillment was still dependent on God, there was now also an agreement that had to be fulfilled by the Israelites in order to experience the blessings. When establishing the covenant, the sacrificial blood was thrown both on the altar and also on the people (Exodus 24:6-8).

The law was good and holy, but the covenant was weak because it was dependent on human ability and not God’s ability. Hebrews 8:7-8 says the covenant was not faultless, but the fault was with the people, not the actual covenant. The Israelites couldn’t live up to the promise they had made to God. They immediately broke their end of the covenant when they created the golden calf, and it was only Moses’ prayer and God’s grace that kept them from being consumed by God’s wrath. Instead, scripture says that God plagued the people because of what they did with the calf (Exodus 32:35).

After this exchange, note how God reacted to the same sins of the Israelites. In Numbers 21:4-6, the people spoke against God and against Moses, and the Lord sent fiery serpents among them. Rather than the grace and provision they had seen before, their sin brought punishment upon them.

So what was the purpose of the law?

  • To set a standard of righteousness.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. – Psalm 19:7-9 (ESV)

  • To reveal sin and knowledge of sin.

Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. – Romans 3:19-20 (ESV)

  • To show that Christ was the only means of obtaining righteousness.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. – Romans 3:21-24 (ESV)

It’s important to note that this covenant did not nullify the Lord’s covenant with Abraham. He still planned to create an everlasting covenant, through Abraham’s offspring. Hebrews 8:8 shows that the Lord knew a new covenant was coming – one that would be perfect and faultless. “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.”


In the Old Testament, in order for someone to be cleansed of their sins, they were required to bring in a lamb that was without blemish. The sinner then laid their hands on the lamb’s head before it was killed, transferring his sins to the lamb. The lamb’s innocence was then transferred to the sinner making him righteous.

The New Covenant was established on the cross, when the Lamb of God took on all our sins: past, present, and future. The Cross brought us back to a permanent state of grace, giving us Christ’s righteousness. Jesus was the only one in the flesh who could perfectly satisfy the covenant God had created, nailing the law to the cross, and fulfilling it on our behalf. It is because of Christ’s finished work that believers now stand as forgiven, righteous, and blessed children of God.

Colossians 2:13-14 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (ESV)

Believers now live in the New Covenant, under the power of God’s grace by the Spirit. It doesn’t mean we have no moral law or standard, but that we are able to live righteously through a new source of life.

“For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” – Romans 8:2-4

When You’re Hurt By the Church

When You’re Hurt By the Church

This is a challenging topic to write about because it is so personal, but that’s also what makes it so important. Sometimes the church hurts us, and that pain can directly affect the way we see religion, relationship, and God Himself. Depending on the situation, “the church” could represent a physical place, or it could mean the church as a body of believers.

A little over two years ago, it felt like the church completely sucked the life out of me. I was a new mom, working full-time in ministry, and working on a second church plant with my husband. I’m not going to go into all of the details here, but within six months, it felt like I had been punched in the gut and my heart was in pieces. I don’t think there was any malicious intent behind the hurt—in fact, I think that is very rarely the case—but it didn’t make the pain any less difficult to cope with.

I found myself shutting down, emotionally and spiritually. All of the passion I had for ministry and God’s word completely dried up. I started dreading Sundays and avoiding my Bible. For our family, we realized that we needed to make some difficult decisions to get us out of the situation we were in, but even after those changes were made, healing came slowly.

For me personally, healing looked like starting a blog. I began to write about the things I was struggling with and God was faithful to give me insight as I went through that process. In fact, I began to look forward to that time with Him again because He was consistently helping me change my perspective and sparking new ideas. Last November, after I had been blogging for about five months, I felt like He was leading me to commit to writing one post a week. The idea was a little scary, since I was already struggling to come up with new topics, but I decided to take the leap of faith. I asked a few close friends to help hold me accountable and started making a list of things I wanted to talk about.

Not one week has gone by since I made that decision that God hasn’t given me a topic to write about. In fact, I have hardly been able to keep up! Several times, I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night with an entire blog post in my head.

It felt like I was healing; I was cherishing my time with the Lord, I was excited about church on Sundays again, and I was spending time in scripture daily as I prepared my blog posts. Then last Sunday, God revealed that I was still withholding myself from Him.

We were in the middle of worship that morning, and I felt a gentle conviction about not putting my hands up in the air. I know everyone has different styles of worship, and many people choose to not put their hands in the air, but three years ago I had my hands up every single Sunday, every time I sang in the car, and every time I found myself praising Him. I had discovered a freedom in that action that made me feel so connected to God, and I reveled in it. But this Sunday, I began to look back and realized that I hadn’t once put my hands up in the two years since I’d been hurt.

The thought brought me to tears, and I heard God gently ask me, “Why are you holding back from me? I’ve never hurt you.” And I cried out in my spirit, “God, you’ve never hurt me, but your church did.”

When we are hurt, how often do we end up withholding ourselves from the wrong person? With our spouses, our friends, our families… how often do we hold back from them because we have been hurt before? Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”

Who deserves our surrender more than the one who gave up everything so that nothing could separate us from Him? (Romans 8:38) Who deserves our complete love and devotion more than the one who raised us from death to everlasting life? (John 3:16) Who deserves our worship and praise more than the one who rejoices over us with singing? (Zephaniah 3:17)

The church may hurt us, but God doesn’t. Sometimes it’s hard to separate what He has done with what people have done in His name, but don’t let the enemy convince you your pain is from God. If you’ve ever been hurt by something or someone in your life related to the church, I encourage you to ask God to reveal any part of yourself that you are keeping from Him. Let Him show you where you are holding your hurt, so that He can help you release it.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

-Isaiah 41:10

Misconceptions About Grace

Misconceptions About Grace

Grace in the English language typically means elegance, beauty, or mercy, but in scripture, grace is the foundation of our salvation and redemption. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith—and this is not from yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Grace is the means that allowed us to be reconciled and restored to righteousness in His sight after the fall. God’s grace is His goodness toward us when we were still sinners and had no reason to expect His favor.

Grace is something I write about a lot, because I think it’s one of the most important aspects of Christianity. However, I also think there are a lot of misconceptions about what God’s grace is and what it means. Here are three I see or hear about most often:


God secured our eternal salvation by sending His son to die on a cross, giving us his unmerited favor and mercy. That is what grace looks like. Because we did nothing to earn it, or deserve it, there’s nothing we can do to lose it.

Ephesians 2:9 says that we are saved, “not by works, so that no one can boast.” Works do not earn us salvation or grace, and thank goodness they don’t. We would constantly be bouncing in and out of redemption, as we struggle to live as Christians in a fallen world.

God’s grace defies our logic and challenges our beliefs about worthiness. Thankfully, there’s no correlation or causation between our works and His grace. Our performances do not determine His grace, our successes do not determine His grace, and our failures do not determine His grace. It is not about our works, but Christ’s finished work on the cross.


Grace does not mean that we don’t need to repent, or turn away from sin. We are not looking at grace the right way if we refuse to correct our behavior or learn lessons because we see ourselves as perfect. Grace doesn’t mean we are perfect; it means we are covered.

Romans 3:23-24 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

We all fall short—if we didn’t, grace wouldn’t be needed—but scripture says we are justified by grace. The enemy can attack us in multiple ways: he can get us to dwell in condemnation, where it feels like we are never good enough and can never live up to God’s standards; or, he can make us think that because we are covered by grace, we aren’t accountable for our actions. Either way, we stop producing fruit because we stop focusing on Jesus and His plan for us.

Grace does not make us perfect, but it does give us Jesus’ perfect standing with God, which enables us to come before Him free of guilt. God’s grace is what allows us to get back up when we fall and turn away from the things that make us stumble.


A term that’s used a lot is “giving grace” – giving yourself grace, or giving others grace – but I don’t think the term is always used correctly. True, supernatural grace isn’t something we give or don’t give. It’s not something we work for, or earn, and it’s not something we can provide.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.”

Grace and the ministry of reconciliation is from God. It’s not so much about giving grace, but how we respond to, and reflect, the grace we’ve been given.

So maybe to “give yourself grace” is simply to remind yourself that you live under the abundant, unending grace that Jesus died to give you. To “give others grace” is to remind yourself and them that they live under the same thing.

When the Healing Doesn’t Come

When the Healing Doesn’t Come

Most Christians believe that healing happens even today, and many of us have either been healed or have known someone who has been healed. But how many of us also know someone who wasn’t? How many of us have been left confused, disheartened, and heartbroken after praying for healing that never came?

This is a difficult and often painful topic to talk about in the Christian world, one that can lead to division, but it’s also something many of us have faced. It’s one of the things that cause Christians to turn their back on God, or become angry with God, and it’s one of the reasons Christians feel separated from God in their grief – How could a good God let this happen?

When healing doesn’t come, the most prominent question is why? Why are some healed instantly while others struggle for years seeking healing? Why do some live while some die? We say that the blood of Jesus purchased our healing, so were the stripes He bore only enough to heal certain illnesses or certain people?

The default answer to this is “God’s timing” or “God’s will”, but how does someone in pain reconcile the heart of a God who was willing to heal Person A’s cancer, but not Person B’s cancer? Scripture tells us that God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). He does not love some of us more than others. We can’t earn our way into healing, the same way we can’t earn our way into salvation or righteousness.

If we were to pray for a friend or family member to be saved, and they ultimately die cursing God, would we assume that it was God’s will for them to not be saved? 1 Timothy 2:3-4 says that God wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. We can’t automatically associate every unanswered prayer with God’s will, or we are giving people a picture of a God who cares about some more than others. Instead, we have to focus on what we know to be true.

There are things we know from scripture and then there are things we think we know.

Things we know:

  • God’s intention for us in the garden was to live and not die, or suffer (Genesis 2:15-17)
  • Adam and Eve disobeyed God and we began to live under a curse (Genesis 3:17-19)
  • God reversed the curse through Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:22)

Things we THINK we know:

Our brain makes connections that might not be true. We take scriptural truths and then follow them down a path that’s not biblical.

God knows when we suffer, and He is good and loves us, so He wouldn’t want us to suffer. God can stop our suffering, so we should never expect to suffer.

Scripture refutes this repeatedly. Look at Job, Moses, Hannah, David, Jeremiah, Paul, Peter, Daniel, Thomas, etc. Acts 14:22 says, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Christians don’t escape suffering; we have the promise of a loving Father who will “come near to the brokenhearted and save the crushed in Spirit”.

God is a loving God who wants to heal me, but I haven’t been healed. Since God is all-powerful, there must be something wrong with me. Maybe I don’t have enough faith, or I have unconfessed sins.

So what do you say to the husband who just lost his wife or the parents who lost their child after spending days on their knees in prayer? Would it really help to walk up to a mother who recently lost her son and tell her that she could have saved him if she had just had more faith? Is that going to bring her closer to the cross or push her further away? Theology is not going to help someone who is suffering; only the presence of God is going to do that. We can’t pretend to know what God is doing behind the scenes. In the book of Job, his friends all accused him of doing evil, but God called him blameless and a righteous man. It is so hard to not give answers when someone is in pain, but sometimes our poorly worded answers can cause more grief and condemnation, when the truth is simply we don’t know.

Ultimately, it comes back to what we do know to be true. We don’t know God’s thoughts, but we do know His character. We know He is God, and we know He is good. Scripture tells us:

  • God will pull us close in our time of grief. (Psalm 34:18)
  • God is for us and He loves us. There are things we can’t understand and mysteries in the world, but there is no mystery in how much God loves us (Psalm 136:26)
  • God will turn our grief into joy (John 16:20)

If you are struggling with a loss that you can’t understand, or if you have prayed for healing that still hasn’t come – I encourage you to continue seeking God and trusting Him, knowing that He is for you and He loves you. A great book that dives into this topic in depth is “Where is God When it Hurts” by Philip Yancey. I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about what God’s word says about grief.