• DANCE IN THE RAINLife is not about waiting for the storm to pass; it's about learning to dance in the rain.- Vivian Greene

failure+

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about failure, especially in these weeks after Easter. Even as Jesus moved toward the cross with courage and strength, the men around him crumbled, plagued with regret and shame.

As I look at my own life, I realize that I am no different than those men. I do things I regret, make bad decisions, hurt people I love. And when I do, I am faced with the same choices that the men in the Gospels faced. I see parts of myself in Pontius Pilate, Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter, each of whom displayed a different response to moral failure.

Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, so when the crowd wanted to crucify him, Pilate tried quieting them to prevent a riot. But when his efforts failed, he released Jesus to be crucified. Pilate rationalized his actions, publicly declaring, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” (Matt 27:24), but that was a meaningless declaration. Pilate was responsible for Jesus’ death, no matter how he tried to justify it.

Then there was Judas, one of the twelve, who betrayed the Lord. We don’t know why he betrayed Jesus, but we do know that Judas never acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, referring to him as “Rabbi,” and not “Lord.” After his failure, he went back to the chief priests and elders, but not to his friends or community. Scripture doesn’t mention him with other disciples after he left the Last Supper. Alone, riddled with guilt and shame, Judas hanged himself in desperation.

Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends.  Jesus warned Peter that he would deny him, but Peter insisted he would be faithful, even to the point of death. It must have been humiliating for Peter when hours later, after the casual question of a slave girl, Peter swore and for the third time denied ever knowing Jesus. But even after his heartbreaking denial, Peter remained in community, as he and John both raced to the empty tomb. Because he repented and sought forgiveness, Peter could unashamedly proclaim the gospel of forgiveness and grace.

Why did these men respond to failure so differently? 2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

Pilate showed no grief. Judas displayed worldly grief. Peter had godly grief. What kind of grief do you have when you fail? Which of these three men do you most identify with?

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  • April 27, 2017 - 11:08 pm

    Jacob David - Another beautiful article. We are all afraid of failure although we face it many times in life. How do we respond to failure? Like Peter we turn back to our Lord. Yes it needs a lot of courage to accept our failure in front of our friends. Thank you Vaneetha.ReplyCancel

    • May 1, 2017 - 11:40 am

      Vaneetha - It does take courage for all of us…thank you for writing.ReplyCancel

  • April 28, 2017 - 9:31 am

    Art Mealer - “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” Prov 27:19 Thank you for being one of those still waters for us.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2017 - 7:24 am

    Cindy Brown - This is lovely, Vaneetha. The moment that stands out so much to me is in Luke 22:61, when the Lord Jesus was at the house of Caiaphas, being questioned and mocked and spit upon. He turned and looked at Peter at the moment that the rooster crowed. That in itself is heartbreaking. I can only imagine the love and compassion that must have been in the Lord’s eyes as He looked at Peter. I would rather hide my sins than confess them to The Lord, but in my heart, I can see Him looking at me in the same way, which serves to drive me to repentance. I don’t deserve His love but He loves me anyway. That is Grace!ReplyCancel

    • May 1, 2017 - 11:42 am

      Vaneetha - I love that moment too…He always looks at us with eyes of love and compassion. Grace is truly amazing!ReplyCancel

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 pray life falls+

 

In the midst of broken dreams and riveting pain, how should we pray?

Should we pray for healing and deliverance, believing that we just need to ask, because God can do anything? Or should we relinquish our desires to God, trusting that even in our anguish he has the perfect plan for us?

Yes. When life falls apart, God invites us to do both. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced unimaginable suffering. Sweating drops of blood, he fell to the ground and prayed: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” (Mark 14:36). Jesus, in his agony, is teaching us by example how to pray when we’re desperate.

Abba, Father

Jesus does not begin with, “Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth.” Of course, God is Lord of all and deserves honor and reverence.  But Jesus chooses a term of endearment: “Abba.” While “Abba” does not mean “Daddy,” it was used as an intimate, personal term for Father. Jesus is asking his Father to do something for him.

I grew up calling my father “Daddy,” and still do to this day. “Daddy” was a great name when I was happy with him, but when I was upset, I wanted to call him “Sir.” I could feel distant and defiant on the inside when I called him “Sir”, but there was no separating myself from him when I said “Daddy.” And my father, who wisely knew that, insisted that I call him “Daddy” after our disagreements. When I was able to use that name sincerely, he knew our reconciliation was complete.

In a similar way, I need to draw near to God in my pain. He’s the Almighty Lord, but he’s also my Abba Father (Rom. 8:15). I need to approach him as such.

Nothing Too Difficult

Jesus knows God can do anything. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Ps 50:10). All things are his servants (Ps 119:91). Nothing is impossible with him (Luke 1:37). While I know those Scripture verses by heart too, I often functionally doubt God’s ability to change my situation. I scan my circumstances and assume things will continue as they are. Even as I pray, I don’t look for miraculous answers; my prayers become rote recitations of requests more than earnest petitions of faith.  

But in Gethsemane, Jesus knows his Father can grant his request. God gives life to the dead and summons into being things that don’t exist.  And I need to remember his limitless power when my situation looks insurmountable. View full post »

  • April 14, 2017 - 7:26 am

    Because I Believe – Melinda Inman - […] And this: How to Pray When Life Falls Apart […]ReplyCancel

    • April 18, 2017 - 6:17 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much for writing, Georgia. A dear friend of mine has said to me numerous times that God’s refusals are always his mercies. And I remind myself of that frequently when I find myself frustrated that God hasn’t said “yes” to my every request. His will must be done and not mine!ReplyCancel

      • April 21, 2017 - 8:55 am

        Georgia - You’re 100% right and it reminds me of that verse in John 6:38 when Jesus said “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.”

        Awesome blog, keep up the great work!ReplyCancel

  • April 17, 2017 - 3:43 pm

    Georgia - “His refusals are always His mercies to us”

    That is my quote of the day, thank you Vaneetha. I just heard a sermon yesterday (and I admit that I cringed because the pastor kept emphasizing a type of “name it and claim it” faith in God and the “if you ask it and believe you’ll get it) faith in God and I think he misinterpreted where God was coming from. I certainly could be wrong but I think that one of the most important parts of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane was that Jesus prayed according to God’s will. As you said, Jesus ultimately was willing to relinquish His own will in favor of God’s sovereign will even though He asked for it to be different. And to me, another prayer – the Lord’s Prayer – the most important part of that was when Jesus said to God “Thy will be done.” I remember another great post of yours a while back that said that God calls us to a kind of duality where he wants us to come to him always with our prayers and we are always free to ask him to remove our thorns and sometimes he will do that, BUT he also wants us to trust him enough to relinquish our will in favor of his even if his ultimate answer to our prayers is “no” and we don’t understand it or like it. That message of yours along with this one really has encouraged my heart (despite decades of hearing “no” from the Lord on a certain issue) because you are one of the few who I feel who allows God’s real truth and sovereignty to come through in your commentary and you don’t just write the feel-good fluff stuff that a lot of folk insist on hearing all the time. Real faith has both high mountain peaks but also many valley lows…thorns that are removed and some that may stay but ultimately we are called to trust our Father’s plans like you said. They are always best. Yours is a real faith and you have real insight into Scripture (a rarity these days) and I thank God for you, God is using you in a mighty way.ReplyCancel

  • July 10, 2017 - 1:00 pm

    Ann - Thank you for this post.
    Your words are a blessing.ReplyCancel

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faith in good+

 

What good is God?

This may sound like a startling question, but if our lives aren’t what we expected, if our cherished dreams aren’t coming true, if our prayers are seemingly unanswered, many of us will ask that very question at some point – or maybe you have already.

A dear friend recently walked away from faith with that question on her lips. What good does God do for us anyway?

Her newfound atheism is based on her experience. To her, ‘You go to church, read the Bible, believe in Jesus and try to live by godly principles. But when life comes crashing down around you and you sincerely cry out for help, God is strangely silent. He doesn’t help at all. So you begin to wonder if he ever was real in the first place. The Bible sounds like nonsense and Christianity looks like a massive hoax that in the end delivers nothing but empty promises. It gives people false hope. And that is the cruelest part of all.’

Have you heard that line of thinking before? Or more importantly, do you feel that way yourself? Did you build your life on a faith that you assumed was strong, only to find that what you were counting on, namely prayer answered swiftly in accordance with your will, feels more like a mirage than an oasis? Are you tired of hoping and waiting because you’re not sure what you’re hoping and waiting for anyway? Maybe it’s easier not to believe and just to play the cards you were dealt without waiting for a miracle. That way you won’t be disappointed. And you’ll be in control of your own life.

If those words resonate with you, I understand, at least partially, how you feel. I have not walked away from my faith, but I have felt let down by God. Wondered where he was. Felt my prayers bouncing off the walls.

I thought that the only way God could make things right was to change my circumstances. My prayer list was made up of the things I wanted God to change. Change my circumstances. Change my relationships. Change my health. Make it all better.

And so when it didn’t happen, I questioned God. Why didn’t he answer my sincere prayers? View full post »

  • March 30, 2017 - 7:01 pm

    Oseias Rodrigues Feitosa Junior - Hi Vaneetha I am a member of a reformed Presbyterian church here in Brazil. Also I run and write for a Christian blog. We have a good team made of a group of young men and women.
    I recently started to follow you on facebook after reading a text and watching a video posted on desiring God from John Piper.
    Your words really touched me and as they are powerful in God’s words. Wish other people that are non english speakers could also read what you have being writing. So I’m here to ask if you can authorize me to translate and publish some of your texts in portuguese on my blog cristourbano.
    May God keep blessing your work and words and thoughts!ReplyCancel

    • March 31, 2017 - 10:49 am

      Vaneetha - So glad this was helpful! You are welcome to translate this for the blog cristourbano. If you email me at vaneetharendall@gmail.com, I can give you the “used with permission” info I usually give people who repost my writing on the internet.ReplyCancel

  • March 31, 2017 - 7:51 am

    Tamlyn - Thank you for this beautiful, uncomfortable, hard-hitting, and powerful post.ReplyCancel

    • March 31, 2017 - 10:50 am

      Vaneetha - So glad this was helpful! Thanks for writing.ReplyCancel

  • March 31, 2017 - 9:29 am

    John B - I enjoyed this very much. I know I need to hold things with an open hand and not with a closed grip on my wants.ReplyCancel

    • March 31, 2017 - 10:52 am

      Vaneetha - I need to do the same thing, John! I often have a closed grip on my wants and God has to pry my fingers open!ReplyCancel

  • March 31, 2017 - 9:36 am

    Cynthia Burgess - Thank you, lovely Vaneetha, for more difficult truth that nudges me closer to the savior, our precious Lord Jesus. I plan to share this with my Bible study ladies. When we pray for others aloud, I’ve noticed, we seem to always ask God to smooth the way and give them the best outcome ( no pain, no tears, no struggles). This year I have been trying to shift the focus from asking God to “fix it” and move to asking God to open their eyes to see how God will “use it” to change the ones they are praying for, to change themselves (including me!), into the person who desires God above all else. I see Him working in this area! It is hard to change prayer habits that have taken years to form, but God uses willing hearts!
    I have shared many of your writings with the ladies, and I am deeply grateful for your honesty and vulnerability. Thank you. Keep writing!ReplyCancel

    • March 31, 2017 - 10:55 am

      Vaneetha - I so agree Cynthia. I do the same thing- my prayers, especially public ones, are so focused on God fixing the problem that I don’t pray that God would use it. Thank you for that reminder!ReplyCancel

  • March 31, 2017 - 12:31 pm

    Crystal - Awesome commentary Vaneetha. I so wish more ministers would preach messages like this instead of constantly intermingling faith with aspiring to achieve earthly prosperity, success, money, connections, comfort etc… Life is extremely hard and oftentimes there is no easy fix or answer for the various pains we have to go through. It can be so hard to reconcile these difficult pains of life with a good God, but that is exactly what faith calls us to do… to look beyond our circumstances and lean not unto our own understanding… to place our confidence in God (and specifically in his character and wisdom) and in the fact that he always loves us and he always knows what is best for us even if he doesn’t take away the pain and leaves the thorns in our earthly lives. He sees our end from our beginning and he knows that all the pains we go through in this life will be worth it when we get to live in eternal glory with him… in fact, these pains we go through can help point the way for others to be saved through his son Jesus; offer encouragement to fellow Christians; and help us become more and more like Jesus ourselves. I love that verse in 1 Corinthians 2:9 you quoted and I also love the verse in 2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” That’s the real good news and goodness of God like you said. Great post!ReplyCancel

    • March 31, 2017 - 1:46 pm

      Vaneetha - Love your perspective, Crystal! I totally agree with this- “He sees our end from our beginning and he knows that all the pains we go through in this life will be worth it when we get to live in eternal glory with him… in fact, these pains we go through can help point the way for others to be saved through his son Jesus; offer encouragement to fellow Christians; and help us become more and more like Jesus ourselves.” Thank you for writing.ReplyCancel

  • April 3, 2017 - 9:46 am

    Julie Warner - Thank you Vaneetha, for sharing the outflow of insight and wisdom that has ruptured from the tremendous pain you’ve experienced. We can see how God has redeemed all of your suffering for so much good, for so much of His glory. It cheers us all on to keep going, to keep trusting Him in the affliction. One of the most difficult elements of chronic pain is how isolating it can be mentally and emotionally. Even if others can’t see the pain, it’s the greatest irony for the one suffering – we don’t want to be a burden to those we love with the daily pain and so we try to hide it to protect them… and so it adds to the isolation and the spiritual pain intensifies.

    Learning how to let go of control along this path has been the hardest lesson for me: to yield to the isolation (Jesus will meet me in it), to be honest with my family when I’m in pain (Jesus will be their sufficiency); and with no end it sight, hoping on God instead of healing (He will not disappoint!).

    Much love and esteem for you in our faithful Father!! XXOOReplyCancel

    • April 6, 2017 - 10:49 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much for writing, Julie. I loved the lessons God is teaching you: “Learning how to let go of control along this path has been the hardest lesson for me: to yield to the isolation (Jesus will meet me in it), to be honest with my family when I’m in pain (Jesus will be their sufficiency); and with no end it sight, hoping on God instead of healing (He will not disappoint!).” Great wisdom for all of us!ReplyCancel

  • April 5, 2017 - 3:28 am

    Rudina - Thank you so much sister for sharing and ministering so faithfully this spirit-filled truth. This whole article became a prayer to me. And I also pray for an ever increasing of Jesus in you. May he grow ever stronger in you and may He sustain you in his never-ending love! Much love and appreciation.ReplyCancel

    • April 6, 2017 - 10:49 am

      Vaneetha - So grateful this was helpful, Rudina. Thank you for writing!ReplyCancel

  • April 7, 2017 - 8:38 am

    Weekly Grace and Links – Abounding Grace - […] you ever felt let down by God? Wondered why God is always silent? What Good Is God? by Vaneetha Rendall Risner is a good read for anyone in that place right […]ReplyCancel

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unfulfilled longings+

 

I was lonely for years.

I longed to remarry, but I didn’t want to admit it to anyone. Not even to myself.

I didn’t want to pin my hopes on something that might never happen. And if I never remarried, I didn’t want to look like I had wasted my life, hadn’t trusted God, and couldn’t be content. I’d be pitied by others and embarrassed for myself. I didn’t want that.

So I buried my feelings.

At times those stuffed feelings would resurface and I would ask God for a husband. I’d journal about it, pray fervently and be on the lookout for who God might bring. Then I would try to forget about my longings, surrender them to God, and convince myself I didn’t want to be married anyway. I told myself, and other people, that it wasn’t important. That I was completely content. That I had come to terms with where I was.

That was a lie.

A lie I wanted to believe because it seemed that everyone who loved God was satisfied with their circumstances. Besides, it seemed better to deny a longing that might never be fulfilled than it would be to keep longing. It certainly was less painful.

Others had accepted their unfulfilled longings. They had come to terms with their singleness. Or infertility. Or discouraging careers. When they finally let go of their desires, they gained a sense of stability.

So I was torn about what to do. I begged God to take away this desire and he didn’t. So I cried out to him to meet me in the midst of this unfulfilled longing.

For years he met me there. And then God blessed me with a husband who is beyond my expectations.

And yet in other things – with longings just as real and intense – God has not given me what I was yearning for. He has left me with unmet desires. Desires that may not be fulfilled this side of heaven. Desires that I may live with forever.

Right now I want a healthy body that can do the things I want to do. With post-polio syndrome, I am deteriorating daily, much more rapidly than I am prepared for. Some days I wake up with intense pain, which gives way to a dull ache that drags on throughout the day. On those days, my arms are limited to basic tasks like eating and dressing. If I can use them at all.

It’s been excruciating.

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  • March 17, 2017 - 12:14 am

    Sofia Perez - Vaneetha,

    I understand your desire to serve others. I too feel an emptiness when I am not being poured out into others lives. But don’t think you are not serving. It may not be physical in the capacity that you desire to give. However, you are serving thousands of people who are hurting and looking for hope. You are feeding dry souls who are aching and long to understand how suffering can be good in God’s hands. Through your many articles you have encouraged me in my sadness to continue to press on. You are serving far more than you can imagine by sharing your trials with the world and pointing us towards Jesus.

    I cannot thank you enough. I frequently check your website for new updates because I know that whatever you write will lift me up when I am down. I am going through a difficult season and I am so grateful for you.ReplyCancel

    • March 17, 2017 - 11:55 am

      Vaneetha - I can’t tell you how much this meant to me today, Sofia. It is encouraging to know that the Lord is using my writing to point people to Jesus. That has always been my prayer. Praying for you as I write this that God will walk closely with you through this difficult season of sadness and comfort you with his everlasting love.ReplyCancel

  • March 17, 2017 - 4:19 pm

    Mike R - Bless you for this article, Vaneetha. As I have been going through more specialist visits, more lab tests and procedures, and more “new and hopeful” medications, only to find that I continue to spiral slowly downward, I have been shown, once again, that my only hope and rest is found in God. My greatest peace is found at night, when I lie in bed, deep in prayer. I can cry out, complain, argue, and weep. Or quietly rest under His wings. God does not change, but I do. I still struggle and your writing helps me to realize that it is normal, and even more, a blessing.

    Like you, I have a desire to serve. I spent my professional career helping those in physical need, so I am not surprised. It is built-in. It is who I am. I thought that my later years would redirect my energy to the Church. Instead, I find myself living the life of a a person much older than my physical age. One-a-Day now describes my activities, not my vitamins. Vacuum the living room. Or, go to the grocery store. Or, mow my tiny front lawn. Or, go to church, to the doctor, or to the pharmacy. One activity per day. The rest of each day is spent on the couch, sitting or lying.

    God seems to have said, “Be still and know that I am God.” My prayers travel a well-trod path, from desperation to joy and back again. One day I can tell him, “It is good that I was afflicted”, and mean it. The next day I am slogging through the swamps of depression, resentment, and self-pity. It is as though I must eat my meal of bitter herbs before I am given a taste of honey-sweet manna.

    Like many who have been given the blessing of bitter herbs, I have read the book of Job over and over, again. Sought reassurance in biblical passages concerning patience during afflictions. Wondered at the life of Joni Eareckson Tada, and marveled at the life of Elizabeth Elliot. But how can I relate to Job, a righteous man beyond my understanding, or compare myself with Joni? Worse, who am I to complain when there are Christians in the world who are under great persecution, and with great need for even the basic necessities of life? It is humbling to think that I falter under lessor trials.

    This entry to your blog is a bit of a psalm, or so it struck me. You acknowledge your pain and your struggles. Yet you remember God’s deliverance. And in that you find hope. God has gifted you with a remarkable ability to communicate.

    Thank you, finally, for helping me to see that there is purpose, even in my sinful failure to endure trials joyfully. What a thought that God can use my painful yearning and lack of contentment to draw me to himself, the only true answer. And to teach me that He is far greater than the temporal things I ask for. I am praying for you as I write this, in that I know that as much as you have been a teacher and encourager to the rest of us, you still must face each day of pain anew. May God bless you and your writing, Vaneetha.ReplyCancel

    • March 17, 2017 - 5:08 pm

      Vaneetha - Mike, I have reread your comment numerous times already. It is beautiful. You have such an incredible gift with words and I can so relate to much of what you said. Your words have ministered to me today, as I know they will to everyone who reads them. Thank you for sending this.ReplyCancel

  • March 17, 2017 - 5:45 pm

    Trudy - I’m so sorry your body is deteriorating, Vaneetha. It must be so hard. I have a chronic illness, so I know the struggle when we have to give up something we can’t do anymore. But what you go through is far worse. I can’t imagine it. Still, I feel less alone when I read your posts. I feel like you understand me.

    You serve far more than you know. I shared your post “Do the Next Thing” with some online friends, and they were encouraged as I was. I always look forward to your posts. They offer so much hope. I love your honesty and your thoughts of not denying or suppressing our pain, but to pour them out to God. Your close relationship with God shines through. You always point us to our only hope in Jesus.

    This reminds me of a woman in a nursing home who couldn’t do anything like she used to. When someone questioned her, she said, “I can still pray.” It really struck me. She couldn’t busy herself with serving anymore, but actually she still did serve as she continued to be a prayer warrior. Love and gentle hugs to you!ReplyCancel

    • March 18, 2017 - 2:56 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you so much Trudy. I am so glad my posts make you feel less alone- because when I post, it makes me feel less alone too. Its amazing how God uses everything!ReplyCancel

  • March 18, 2017 - 9:25 pm

    georgia - thank you for this. you can’t know how timely it is for me to read this. meeting with my counselor tomorrow to discuss this very thing. she actually reminds me very much of you, or you of her, and i know she would/will tell me these very same things. i will pray for you regarding the longings you still have. i ask for you to pray for me, as i am deep in struggle right now.ReplyCancel

    • March 19, 2017 - 2:23 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful this was helpful, Georgia. Praying as I write this that God would meet you in a tender way in your struggles.ReplyCancel

  • March 20, 2017 - 6:51 am

    Crystal - I love your blog and this definitely spoke a word to my heart as I am going on 40 and have never been married and still have the desire to be married although I have questioned many times if I should give up that desire altogether. I strive for contentment but it certainly gets hard although, like you said, God asks us to still trust that He knows what’s best for our lives and will sustain us even though He might not give us what we want in the end. Thank you for your insights and spiritual encouragement Vaneetha. Oh and by the way, your book was WONDERFUL! Please keep me in prayer and I will do the same for you 🙂ReplyCancel

    • March 20, 2017 - 6:12 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you Crystal for writing. Living with unfulfilled longings is a hard balance, isn’t it? I would love to have complete contentment but I have definitely found that constant crying out to God has deepened my prayer life. I’m glad this post in the book were helpful to you. Praying as I write this that God would meet you in the midst of your unfulfilled longings and show you that He is better than your dreams.ReplyCancel

  • March 20, 2017 - 9:49 pm

    Michelle - Your words are what I needed to hear today. I have been crying out to God these last 3 weeks, asking Him to take this cup that He has given us to drink. He hasn’t and I have struggled with not being content with His plan. Thank you for speaking this truth. This endless ache is what He is using to bring me closer to Him. Please know that though you may not be serving Him in ways that you had imagined, you are most definitely being used by Father to encourage and help those of us who are weary. You are loved, my dearest sister.ReplyCancel

  • March 21, 2017 - 1:55 pm

    Lori - Chronic illness is a hard way to grow in Christ. And those of us that have an invisible chronic illness suffer not only the pain and fatigue from our illness, but also must bear stigma and marginalization from an uneducated society (even friends and family!).
    But God … has been pleased to afflict me (Ps 119:75), and He tells me also that it has been GRANTED to me to suffer (Ph 1:29). HUH? That’s counter-intuitive. God evidently has far different thoughts about suffering and pain than I do. I must take Him at His word – who am I to be displeased with His choice when He is pleased with it? He has tailor-made my affliction for my good and for His glory. To refine me and sanctify and mold me into Christ-likeness.
    These are the things I know … but I must preach them to myself daily, because my heart’s default is forgetfulness about God’s faithfulness.ReplyCancel

    • March 26, 2017 - 6:18 pm

      Vaneetha - My heart’s default is forgetfulness, too, Lori. But thankfully as we preach to ourselves daily, the Spirit helps us remember His faithfulness. Thanks for writing.ReplyCancel

  • March 24, 2017 - 5:39 pm

    J - Vaneetha, I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now, especially since I began struggling with an unexplained chronic condition about two years ago. I am relatively young and in my mid-late twenties and yet your words resonate so deeply with me. I desire marriage, yet I also struggle with feeling like a burden, being one who often receives more than I can give, and possibly not being able to be the wife and servant that I imagined to be because of this broken body I’ve been given. I’ve spent more nights than I’d like to admit crying and pleading for God to take this cup from me, yet He has in His good purposes responded with, “Not yet.”

    Only being a few years into this physical battle, there are many days where I feel absolutely overwhelmed at the very likely possibility of many, many more painful days left ahead of me. What if it never gets easier? Oh, how I long and groan inwardly for our return home to heaven! But then I read your transparently honest words which bring such comfort and encouragement to my weary heart. Your continued perseverance in clinging to Christ after all these years has shown me that indeed, this road ahead may not become easier, but there is still hope as we sojourn on this earth. Your words point me to the hope of our Lord who sustains and gives grace to endure each and every day with contentment.

    Thank you for sharing your hope, but even more, thank you for sharing your pain, because truly God’s power has been displayed and glorified through your weaknesses. You are such a blessing.ReplyCancel

    • March 26, 2017 - 6:21 pm

      Vaneetha - Thanks so much for writing. I understand the pain of looking at the future and wondering, “what if this never changes?” When I do that, I ask God to remind me, tangibly, that He loves me extravagantly and whatever happens will ultimately for my joy.ReplyCancel

  • March 31, 2017 - 9:42 am

    Linda Swanekamp - Vaneetha, your words are always rain on a scorched ground. I do have chronic pain, but not like yours. I wish there was no suffering, but God has always used suffering since the fall for His purposes, even if we can’t see it. Growing closer to Jesus would not have been possible without the suffering I have lived. It pains me to even write that. Jesus served us and we can never pay Him back. He asks us to be faithful, to witness of Him, and lean on Him. Your words serve all over the world. Your prayers are not bound by physical limitations. He is enough. We either believe that or are crushed . He was crushed by the worst of humanity and pain, but resurrected and intercedes for us daily.ReplyCancel

    • March 31, 2017 - 10:56 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you for writing, Linda. Love this, “Growing closer to Jesus would not have been possible without the suffering I have lived. It pains me to even write that. Jesus served us and we can never pay Him back. He asks us to be faithful, to witness of Him, and lean on Him.” Amen.ReplyCancel

  • April 6, 2017 - 12:37 pm

    Carly - Dear Vaneetha,

    Thank you for this post. I have been struggling lately as a single mom, with feelings of unworthiness and distance from God. I guess I still have a naive notion that being a Christian and receiving the Holy Spirit, somehow will mean that all of my problems will be solved. That somehow God will be my genie and just make everything perfect. I have been playing the track over in my mind that goes “God if you love me, why did you let X happen” or “Why didn’t you stop X from happening?”. Though reading your blog helped me to remember that in my weakness his strength is made perfect. I am blessed in so many ways, and although I have my heartache and trials, the silver lining is that I do have God to lean on. I do not know what the future holds, but God does not expect us to do his job for him. Sometimes we simply need to ask that he give us our daily bread and trust in his promise and unfailing love. Thank you for your blog.ReplyCancel

    • April 6, 2017 - 1:03 pm

      Vaneetha - I am all too familiar with those “tracks” that you’ve been playing, Carly. I’m sure they have grooves worn out from all the times I have played them myself. But I am grateful that the Lord is reminding you, as he graciously reminds me, that his strength is made perfect in my weakness and that he is using my suffering for something bigger than I can imagine. One day I will see it and rejoice. And while I may not see it today, I can grow in my love for God and trust in him as I wait.ReplyCancel

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