When there have been problems in my life I have most often viewed them as obstacles — things in my way, that I must get around in order to get to the “important stuff”– like (definitely not in order of importance)
- healing my child’s autism
- healing myself
- sharing Christ with others
- getting things around the house cleaned up or fixed
- getting a good deal on something, now.
The past few weeks have been filled with problems.
- multiple illnesses
- high fevers
- pink eye
- the sudden death of a 49-year-old friend
- intense work-related stress in our home
- and now the news that my step-mother may be seriously ill.
And on top of it there are the everyday struggles that sometimes feel just as constricting, or more so. Like a bad night’s sleep coupled with irritable kids who demand attention and seem to fuss all day long without provocation.
What did I do to deserve this?
Is this a punishment from God?
Why can’t I just get on with my life?
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Why does everyone else seem to have it so easy and…
About two years ago, my friend, Margaret, gave me the devotional book, Streams in the Desert that has been a source of comfort to me over and over again. Please check it out. Maybe you aren’t in the desert right now, but for sure you most certainly will be at some point.
The readings really are that.
Streams. Refreshing streams.
It is easy to coast along when you feel well and your kids are fine and there is plenty on your table. But our lives are becoming more complex and so is the world. I think that it is crucial that we have a correct understanding of sorrow and suffering and trials in order to live right in the world with others and with God, both now and in the future, whatever may come.
I needed the reading for February 19 yesterday, and I need it again today. It brought new meaning to these problems in our lives. I hope that it is a blessing to you as well.
Every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2)
A child of God was once overwhelmed by the number of afflictions that seemed to target her. As she walked past a vineyard during the rich glow of autumn, she noticed its untrimmed appearance and the abundance of leaves still on the vines. The ground had been overtaken by a tangle of weeds and grass, and the entire place appeared totally unkempt. While she pondered the sight, the heavenly Gardener whispered such a precious message to her that she could not help but share it.
The message was this: “My dear child, are you questioning the number of trials in your life? Remember the vineyard and learn from it. The gardener stops pruning and trimming the vine or weeding the soil only when he expects nothing more from the vine during that season. He leaves it alone, because its fruitfulness is gone and further effort now would yield no profit. In the same way, freedom from suffering leads to uselessness. Do you now want me to stop pruning your life? Shall I leave you alone?
Then her comforted heart cried, “No!” ~ Homera Homer-Dixon
What has encouraged you during time of trouble?
You may also be encouraged by my thoughts about Embracing Suffering.