Archives For Suffering

findinggod-650x220Life is difficult. Flat tires, flooded basements, cranky kids, wounding words, the loss of a job, a broken body, a painful marriage—“trouble” comes in all shapes and sizes. And it often shows up when we least expect it and are unprepared.

Learning to live for God through all the daily troubles and difficulties of life isn’t something we can take or leave. Our worship, walk, and witness depend upon how we handle the daily chaos of trouble and hardships. However, while the depth of our self-centeredness makes loving others more confusing and harder to learn than anything else in life, there is nothing more important. And that’s where we all need help.

Gary and Lisa Heim joined us on May 7, 2014, for a heart-to-heart discussion about what they’ve learned about pursuing God when we’re discouraged or frustrated. Gary is a pastor of small groups and discipleship at a church in Rockford, MI. Lisa works with the women’s ministry. Both are licensed counselors and have written about what they’ve personally learned and have passed along to others over the past 25 years of ministry. Their book, True North: Choosing God in the Frustrations of Life is the theme of this webinar.

In keeping with our ministry commitment to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all, we are making the content of this webinar available without cost or obligation to you and anyone you’d like to share it with.

To listen to the audio recording from the live webinar event, click the link: Finding God In The Frustrations of Life.

To download the PowerPoint from the webinar, click the link: Finding God In The Frustrations of Life PPT.

To get a free sample download from Gary and Lisa Heim’s book, click the book title link: True North: Choosing God in the Frustrations of Life.You can also visit their website for more helpful information on their teaching and speaking ministry at: True North Ministries.

For further resources from RBC Ministries to help you understand better what faithful living looks like when we struggle, click the link: Life-Struggles.

flickr/Creative Commons/Spring by Paula Bailey

flickr/Creative Commons/Spring by Paula Bailey

I like winter primarily because it leads to spring. Even though I live in Michigan where the harsh and blustery winters are reminiscent of C. S. Lewis’ make-believe world of Narnia where it was “always winter but never Christmas,” spring (even in Michigan) never fails to show up. And when spring finally arrives, I appreciate it the more for the long wait. The warm, sunny days ushered in by chirping birds and hardy crocuses and daffodils that burst through the ground, even when the last vestiges of snow still linger, prove that winter always gives way to spring.

We all face trials and difficult periods or situations in this life that, like a long winter, seem to never end. I’ve experienced a few, including a period of 2 or 3 years when I thought our son would never learn to read, no matter how much tutoring or special help he received; several years when two of our teenagers (simultaneously but for different reasons) created such stress and heartache in our family that for a while it consumed much of our time and most of our energy; and decades when it seemed a loved one would never experience a victorious Christian life. But God enabled me to endure and to grow in godly character (and surprisingly in joy) through these difficulties—and He continues to do so.

Even in the most trying circumstances we can have hope that God will enable us to endure and will carry us through—and will transform us in the process. Jesus said in His Word: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We can cast all our cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). He promises to help us and be with us in our struggles.

Unlike winter which always leads to spring, not all difficult trials will end in this life, but they will end with this life. And in the next life, which will last for eternity, we will be with our Savior and will “receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). That gives me hope.


October Baby

Jeff Olson —  January 31, 2013 — Leave a comment

Over the weekend I watched the film October Baby. It tells the story of a college-aged girl named Hannah whose world is turned upside down after she discovers she is the adopted survivor of a failed abortion.

This story about a girl whose life almost wasn’t is a powerful film on forgiveness. Hannah had to wrestle through strong bitter feelings and forgive several people before she could move on with her life.

The film’s grace-filled, non-condemning treatment of Hannah’s biological mother, who had attempted to abort her, was also a surprising breath of fresh air. Women who suffer the heartache of having had an abortion may find watching this film to be a very healing experience.

Something Hannah’s adoptive dad shared with her near the end of the movie also stuck with me. Hannah’s discovery and search for her birth mother caused a lot of tension between the two of them, which he often didn’t handle well. As they stood next to each other at the graveside of the twin brother Hannah never knew she had, her dad confessed,

“It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s that I’m trying honestly to learn to trust God again.”

Leaving things we care about in God’s capable and loving hands is a most important lesson for us all to learn.

None of us are perfect and can stand sinless before God. Join us as Gene Getz explains God’s plan of salvation and how the death of Jesus pays the price for all of our sin.

Is God loving? Yes. Is He all-powerful? Yes. So why are there horrific levels of suffering throughout the world that both people of faith and those without faith seem to battle with equally? Frankly, it’s impossible for our finite minds to make sense of it. We are left to trust in a God who uses everything–including the suffering–to ultimately bring about His good purposes.

It is impossible to watch or listen to any form of news media and not be struck with how much violence is in the world. The fact that violence erupted between two brother in Genesis 4 and has continued to escalate down through time is verification that there is a bend towards violence that runs through every human heart.