Ultimate Joy

Archive for April 2013

Frustration grew in my heart as I rushed to be on time for an appointment the other day. I had just put the car in drive and was preparing to back out of the driveway when my cell phone rang. I shoved the gear selector back into park and picked up the phone. It was a dear friend of mine from graduate school and her voice was heavy with hurt. Recently, there had been two deaths in her family and just last night, her mother-in-law suffered a terrible stroke and was not expected to live.

Man Holding Cell Phone Camera
Her sorrow broke my heart. I wanted to reach through the phone and hug her. I wanted to lift her burdens and reach through the phone line to hug her. I couldn’t do any of that, so I listened and prayed.
Do you feel overwhelmed today? Discouraged by the complicated challenges in your life? There are so many burdens being carried by souls weary of the task. So many people are desperate for a miracle from God.
God knew we would struggle with difficulties. That’s why so many times the Bible points us back to the hope of Christ. In Mark 5: 25 – 29, for example, we learn of a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years. She heard about Jesus and thought, “If I just touch his cloak, I will be healed.” I love how the Message translations says about Christ’s response to her after He has healed this precious daughter, “Live well, lived blessed.”
Like this woman, the best thing you can do is take your needs to Jesus. Purposefully place your faith in the Faithful One. When you pray, He will strengthen you. But if you try to handle things in your own strength, you will remain weak and ineffective.

If you are desperate for healing, help and hope, ask God to increase your faith today. Make a determined choice to trust Him. When you do, He will meet you at your need and carry the load of your burdens for you. He will whisper to you, “I am here. Now live well, lived blessed.”

Yesterday, I attended a moving prayer service at Saddleback for Matthew Warren, Rick’s 27 year-old-son who committed suicide on Friday. I didn’t know Matthew, but I am on one of Rick’s teams and one of Kay’s. I’ve come to know both of them and I know their hearts are breaking. Could you say a prayer for them, but also for anyone who has been devastated because of suicide?

Myra+Rick2Richard and I had a very close friend who committed suicide. This happened in 2010 and I still often think of her often. We have always operated with an open door policy on our home; we feel it is God’s, not ours. As we processed our friend’s death, we wondered why she never shared her troubles with us, never picked up the phone to call us or come to stay with us. With all the questions we asked ourselves in our grief, I can’t imagine how a family member recovers from this shock.

Tom Holiday, Rick’s brother-in-law and Matthew’s uncle, gave a profound message this weekend. He issued a call to action: to attack evil with good. So, please take an extra moment to be kind to those around you. Hug your family and friends. Let people know how much you love them. Ask Jesus into whatever grief you are carrying because we all have grief in this life. Only He can completely transform a situation. Nothing, absolutely nothing is hopeless if you invite Christ into it. His very presence covers us with an all-encompassing love and a radiant hope to fill our lives with energy and purpose. So go out of your way this week to become a living, breathing, walking display of His glory.

Let me start: thank you for all the kindness you have shown me through the years. All of you, my readers, have gone out of your way to encourage me and make me into a better writer. I appreciate your acute intellects and wonderful suggestions on how to improve. You are awesome and amazing. My writing has vastly improved because of you.

Thanks for all you do! Now, please say a kind word today, tell someone that you love them or bring a smile to someone’s face with a word of encouragement. Let the world be brighter today because of you.