When “Giving Thanks” isn’t so Easy

Through Him, therefore, let us at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.    Hebrews 13:15 AMP

In every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 AMP

Recently, our pastor reminded us that the season between Thanksgiving and New Years has the highest rate of depression and suicide attempts. So that means, while many of us are prepping our turkeys, gulping glasses of eggnog, eating way too many cookies or admiring a beautifully lit tree, others among us are drowning in hopelessness and despair.  All the while, watching others around them with seemingly Instagram-perfect lives. (As if that’s reality, but I digress…) Our hearts should ache for those struggling through this season.

I confess that it’s all too easy for me to give thanks when I have the blessings of a warm bed or full belly or good relationships. It takes no sacrifice to give thanks in such scenarios. But I find it does take deliberate effort to be thankful, because my default setting is to take His gifts for granted. To forget that all I have is a gift from His hand. From the breath in my lungs, to my amazing husband and our family, to the heater under our kitchen table (and strategically placed by my feet.) All of it. Gifts from Him.

I have also learned experientially the importance of giving thanks for “gifts” that, at first blush, are more like the proverbial “ugly sweater” gift. When financial challenges engulfed me, He provided and enabled me to give thanks for the few packages of Ramen noodles and can of chicken that became a casserole for five children. Or the times when relational betrayal or the pain of regret for my own bad choices laid me bare and yet He provided forgiveness and healing through my Lord Jesus. And has brought beauty from ashes.

Teaching us the invaluable lesson of giving thanks to Him in all circumstances, not just pleasant circumstances.

Then I think of those celebrating Thanksgiving Day who are behind bars or sitting at a makeshift tent-campsite or those handling funeral arrangements as they simultaneously battle the ache of grief or those coping with an all-encompassing loneliness that this season seems to amplify. When folks in such circumstances give thanks through a whispered prayer of gratitude to the Lord Jesus, it is a priceless “sacrifice of praise” that honors our God. Folks who are purposely giving thanks, even if they must search through the debris of a trial or pain, to do so.

For one moment, let’s step back from our turkey dinners and contemplate the challenges our neighbors might be walking through and consider what a sacrifice it may be for them to utter the words, “Thank you, God.”

Have you ever been there? Are you there now? Is there a person who comes to mind as you read these words? As we celebrate this special day, set aside to give thanks to God for His great blessings, in whatever form they come, let’s remember those struggling the season. Pray. Reach out. Be a blessing. Let’s be His hands and feet to all He puts in our path. There is hope. And it is found in Jesus Christ.

“As a matter of fact, God isn’t asking you to be thankful. He’s asking you to give thanks. There’s a big difference. One response involves emotions, the other your choices, your decisions about a situation, your intent, your ‘step of faith.’”

– Joni Eareckson Tada

Happy Thanksgiving!

Father, I am in awe of the gifts You’ve so freely given. Life. Salvation. Breath. Genuine hope because of Christ. Help me to remember, and not forget, Your good hand of favor on my life. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Click here to purchase a hard copy or download a FREE pdf of the devotional, Stony Paths learning to trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

You may also purchase Stony Paths, learning to Trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life, by visiting Lulu Publishing or Amazon.

Peanut Butter Cups

“…to the hungry soul any bitter thing is sweet.”

Proverbs 27:7 AMP

God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever. Psalm 73:26 AMPC

Yeshua (Jesus) said to them, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Bread of Life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever trusts in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35 Aramaic Bible in Plain English

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. Psalm 43:2a

I love Reese’s cups, especially the newer offering that has a peanut butter shell with peanut butter filling. Mmmmm. Dee licious. Have I mentioned how much I love all things peanut butter? Yet, as much as I appreciate a good Reese’s cup, when my stomach growls with hunger, the bright orange package shouldn’t be what I reach for. Yes, it will stop my hunger pangs, but if I repeat this too many times, I’ll have long-term negative consequences.  But wait a minute, what if my cupboards were bare and my pockets empty? What if, in my hunger, I thought that the sugary peanut butter treat was my only option to fill the ache in my belly?

As I mulled over the scripture in Proverbs 27, I couldn’t help but think of the world around us. A world that is literally “starving” for hope, peace, purpose and the removal of fear/anxiety/panic …. This emptiness has led to starvation of the soul, where, “any bitter thing is sweet.” Spiritually speaking, reaching for a Reese’s in the form of pleasure or money or sex minus God’s guidelines, or gathering as many “likes” / hits as possible or by social activism or “religious” and/or spiritual activity (the possibilities are endless). When the sun goes down and dark silence envelops us, the ache remains and the hunger endures.

On the flip side, many of us are so “full-bellied and satisfied” that we’ve failed to notice those starving right in front of us. Failed to look beyond our own homecooked-meal comfort to notice the ache of empty bellies all around us. Folks who have settled for the quick Reese’s cup or something much worse, when we know the Bread of Life Himself. While it’s true we cannot (and should not) force feed the manna of God’s Word, are we at least offering it to those around us or at least living a life (by His grace) that causes others to want what we have? Do I?

My heart aches for the “starving” folks all around us who have stuffed themselves with all the world has to offer and yet their soul-deep ache and emptiness remain. Here’s my challenge to you (and myself), each time we see a Reese’s cup, let’s use that lip-smacking orange package as a reminder to pray for those around us. Or, let it be a reminder that your ache cannot be filled with anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Reach out to Him, He will meet you right where you’re at. (For more information, call 1-888-NEEDHIM or text (320) 345-3455 or click https://needhim.org/chat-now/)

“There is a God–shaped vacuum in the heart of each man, which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”

– Blaise Pascal

Father, please reveal to me where I’m seeking to fill soul-deep needs with the junk food of the world. Please also give me Your eyes and heart for the starving people all around me. Please use my life to honor You, in Jesus’ Name, Amen

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Click here to purchase a hard copy or download a FREE pdf of the devotional, Stony Paths learning to trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

You may also purchase Stony Paths, learning to Trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life, by visiting Lulu Publishing or Amazon.

Does Your Life Bring Glory to God?

Recently, I came across this years-old devotional I wrote several years ago and couldn’t help but think of those walking through knee-deep trials right now. As you read the devotion, think of how differently God defines the events of our lives and perhaps where you and I might be tempted to doubt His goodness along the way.

Does Your Life Glorify God?

[Jesus said to His disciplines] “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” John 12:23 NIV

“…for the Son of Man to be glorified…”  If I didn’t know what was about to happen to Jesus, I would be excited at the prospect of Him being glorified. But I do know what comes next. He’s going to be arrested for something He didn’t do, get slapped across the face for refusing to answer the High Priest, suffer the agony of His beard being plucked out for the amusement of cruel guards and beaten until unrecognizable as human (Isaiah 53). The Son of Man was stripped naked and nailed to a wooden cross.  And just when you think the cruelty and humiliation can’t get any worse, bystanders taunt Him one last time. “If you’re really the Son of God, come down off that cross!” and then they spit at Him.

Being aware of all that was to come, the one word that would not come to my mind is glorified. Abandoned, rejected, abused, maybe… but not glorified. Of course, Jesus did know all that would befall Him as He spoke those words. That’s what makes His statement so out of place to me.

Jesus’ mockery of a trial, ruthless beatings, and death (and then His bodily resurrection) were used as tools to bring glory to God. Jesus willingness to be our Scapegoat (Leviticus 16)  brought glory and honor to Himself like nothing else could. The Son of Man was glorified!

If you find yourself knee-deep in difficulties, the Lord doesn’t require your understanding, but He does want your trust. He is more than able to bring glory to His name through your life’s circumstances. Even circumstances, that surface-level, seem disfigured and ugly. What an honor it is to bring glory to His name!

“…we will stand amazed to see the topside of the tapestry and how God beautifully embroidered each circumstance into a pattern for our good and His glory.”

― Joni Eareckson Tada

“Father, I don’t understand why I’m in this trial. And I don’t like it. But — I am willing to obey You no matter what. Grant me the ability to walk through this valley and to do so without bitterness. You don’t require my understanding, only my trust. Glorify Yourself through my life.” In Jesus, name, Amen.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Click here to purchase a hard copy or download a FREE pdf of the devotional, Stony Paths learning to trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

You may also purchase Stony Paths, learning to Trust Him as we walk the Stony Paths of real life, by visiting Lulu Publishing or Amazon.

Free Devotional – Stony Paths

Stony Paths – Learning to trust Him

as we walk the Stony Paths of real life.

Recently, a friend asked what drew me to write a book on the topic of trusting God. The answer came immediately….

Let me share with you what I told him that day … I was confronted with emergency open heart surgery with no time to think through the seriousness of the situation. The doctors explained that with a near total blockage in what is often referred to as the “widow maker”, I had no time to spare … this was life and death … surgery was needed immediately. While I am no spring chicken and would never be confused for an athlete, I am in decent physical condition, try to eat healthy and exercise, so this news came as a complete shock to my husband and I. Understanding what must be done, we held hands and prayed together, thanking our heavenly Father for His flawless timing and protection on my behalf (and asking Him to help the surgeons of course!).

Days later, as I became fully aware of what had actually happened and how close I came to dying, I was overcome with thankfulness and gratitude to the Lord. So excited to share with nurses, friends, housekeeping staff … anyone who would listen, about how the Lord spared my life. Of how good God is. How loving and faithful. But then it hit me … like being smacked across the face. What if He had said “no” to our prayers of healing? What if God had not caused the blockage to become known and I had died suddenly? What if my husband was planning my funeral rather than planning my home therapy sessions? And what about the people who heard me gush about my near-fatal experience? What if they had a family member who faced the same scenario but their mother or wife or friend had died instead of the miraculous intervention I had experienced?

This question reverberated in my heart – Is God still good and is He still worthy of trust, even when the answer is No? Is my trust in Him total and complete or is it only for particular outcomes?

We trust Him for finances or safety. We trust Him for basic necessities. We trust Him for healing. And we should. But there is a still deeper level of trust that our Father God is calling us to. A trust that stands alone – separate from our hoped-for outcome. To simply trust Him, no matter the outcome. A trust in the goodness of God based on His word that tells us that if He was willing to give the life of His Son for us, is there anything He will withhold? You see, if we look at the Cross of Christ as our backdrop, then we can look the rawest reality in the face with the knowledge that if He has allowed it, I can trust that He has a plan, a purpose and that He knows what is ultimately best for me.

“If God Sends Us On Stony Paths He Provides Strong Shoes.”

Corrie ten Boom

I still share with anyone willing to listen to what the Lord did for me … but I always bring it around to this point: Even if He had called me home that day, He is still good, He is still faithful and I trust Him.

Even when we don’t understand. He is worthy of our trust.

Though I must admit that I have cheated a bit on this whole trusting the Lord thing, you see, He’s given me lots of practice. Maybe He’s done the same for you too. I’ve buried two children; I’ve walked through betrayal as well as financial collapse and as with many folks, childhood brought its own set of challenges. And if that weren’t enough, I made plenty of messes that caused great distress for me and others. Through it all, I have learned by experience that our Father God can be trusted – no matter the outcome and no matter the reason for our mess.

As you read through the devotions in this book, it is my prayer that the Lord will enable you to look your darkest challenge in the face and know with certainty that He loves you. That your Father God is trustworthy. No matter the outcome. He will walk you through this. You are not alone. He loved you enough to send His Son to die for you. With that as your life’s backdrop, be intentional about viewing all you walk through as filtered through His fingers. He’s got this. Let’s trust Him as we walk the stony paths of life.

To purchase a hard copy of Stony Paths, visit the products page or visit Lulu Publishing. It may also be purchased on Amazon.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

Salsa and Life

“Lord, do You not care…?” Luke 10:40 ESV (38-42 for entire story)

Homemade Salsa

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”  Job 13:15 NKJV

This year, our daughter’s small backyard garden produced a bumper tomato crop, so with great anticipation, we set aside an entire day for me to show her the finer points of canning homemade salsa.  As we washed, diced and jarred the tomatoes, onions and peppers, we talked about life and family and our world. In the midst of it all, she asked one or two heavy questions that still linger in my thoughts. Before I share the questions, allow me to give you part of the short answer I gave her. “I don’t know. But I know we can trust Him.”

With obvious emotion she asked, “Mom, why did God allow a woman with several young children to die of cancer?” The heartfelt question that came amid the dicing of tomatoes and jalapenos, demanded more than a memorized theological answer. Keeping my hands busy with the task of canning, I thought/prayed how to answer her question. Even as I was secretly thankful she intuitively understood the larger issue of God’s control over all circumstances. Even tragedy.

Have such questions ever lodged in your heart? Have you ever thought deeply about why a divorce or why singleness? Why an addiction or why a betrayal? Why financial ruin or a broken relationship? Why the death of a child or the death of a hoped-for dream? Pain begs for an answer.

In today’s verses, we see two contrasting examples of facing the inevitable pain of real life. When Martha was confronted with the minor irritation of no help in the kitchen, she spoke almost harshly to the Lord Jesus, when she asked, “Lord, don’t You care?” By contrast, we read of Job, who has just been given the news that everything he owns has been stolen by an invading army, and all his servants killed. As this news hits his ears and before there’s time to digest the reality, another servant shows up to tell him the devastating news that all his children have perished in a freak accident. (Read Job 1 and 2). Job’s first response is to worship God. He knew he dare not give priority to his emotions; he spoke out what he knew to be true rather than allow his emotions to do the leading. A couple of chapters and several more trials later, we hear Job say, *“Though the Lord slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

Perhaps Martha was too self-focused as she rushed and hurried and grumbled… Whatever the reason, she snapped at the Lord Himself and accused Him of not caring.

Though Job didn’t understand the why of his horrific pain, he knew his God and he knew His character. So even in the midst of such guttural ache … he trusted.

Back to my daughter’s heartbreaking question – I could have offered to bullet-point Bible verses that academically explain God’s sovereign control over all things, or sin’s impact on our broken world, or God’s ability to bring good out of even the vilest circumstance, etc. But I did none of those. Now wasn’t the time. I admitted to her that I did not know the why of such tragedy, but I did know that we could trust God with it. Reminding her of the story that she’s heard repeated since childhood. Of her own brother and sister who died as babies, and how such tragedy taught me (still teaches me) to trust my Father God even when, (especially when), I don’t understand.

The best answer to a hurting heart is simply, “I am so sorry for your pain.”

Becky White

The truth is we may never know the why of a particular trauma this side of eternity. It’s enough to know our God is good and faithful and He can be trusted. Even with, and in, our pain. If He gave the life of His Son for us, surely we can trust Him when we don’t understand.

Father, I know You are good, and You are faithful, but there are times when life’s pain blinds us of that truth. Please enable us to rest in You as we walk through tragedy, or as we walk with others in their pain. We choose to trust You even when we don’t understand. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I lay my “whys” before Your cross in worship kneeling, my mind too numb for thought, my heart beyond all feeling: And worshipping, I realize that I in knowing You don’t need a “why”.

– Ruth Bell Graham

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

*Some may say that God did not cause Job’s pain, but surely, we must agree that his trial came as a direct result of God’s permission.

Because He Cares for You

Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.

1 Peter 5:7 Berean Study Bible   Psalm 55:22 NASB

Because He cares for you.

Familiarity breeds contempt. The extraordinary becoming ordinary. In the era of social media, the Truth of Scripture can be lost on us as we scroll past another artfully crafted meme with a feel-good phrase. Even when that phrase is God’s Word.

That nearly happened to me recently as I read my “verse for the day” pocket calendar and quickly recognized this often-quoted and meme enhanced Scripture. Thinking “Oh, I know that verse…” yawn… (I’m being authentic with you here.) But this time, as I read the verse, the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks as the words Because He cares for you leapt off the page and washed over my heart.  I read and reread those words… Holding them up to take in each facet of meaning.

He could have ended the prayer directive with, “because I said so.”  …But He didn’t.

It struck me so strongly and so emotionally. What a tender phrase added to the instruction of casting all our anxieties on Him. On Him to carry. On Him to handle. On Him to work out the myriad of beyond-our-ability-details. Yet He wasn’t just academically providing direction on what we ought to do with a religious, legalistic pattern to follow.  He wants us to know the why… Because He cares for us. Such love and tender compassion embodied in that phrase. The Amplified Bible reads, He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].

Whatever burdens our heart, burdens His.

Becky white

Whatever burdens our heart, burdens His. He longs for us to bring our every need, our every concern, our every question, our every fear, our every what-if and even our every “why?” and cast them onto the One who cares for us.

Oh Father, It is face-to-the-floor astounding how You tenderly care for what concerns my heart. I lay my anxieties and burdens in Your strong hands and rest in Your sovereign care and control over all that grazes my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

That’s Impossible

This is what the LORD of Hosts says: “If this is impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be impossible in My eyes?” declares the LORD of Hosts. Zechariah 8:6 BSB

He (Jesus) said, “The things impossible with men are possible with God.” Luke 18:27 BLB

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for Me?” Jeremiah 32:27 BEB

For I am the LORD, I do not change. Malachi 3:6 NKJV

Some truths are easier taught, and caught, face to face. There’s something about looking a person in the eye and speaking directly to them, personally. Today’s devotion attempts to relay such a truth with the meager means of a keyboard. Even before I begin, I know it will fall short. Yet, I also know that God is more than able to speak directly to our hearts through His Word being read and shared. So, let’s take a quick dive into a bedrock truth that has enabled me (and many others) to face life’s impossibilities.

Think for a moment … when is the last time you absorbed the reality of a trial or a person or a circumstance and came away thinking, “This is impossible”? If you have a prayer list, this item has probably been deleted. If not literally, at least subconsciously. I know, it’s hard to admit, isn’t it? Or maybe you’ve not lived long enough to bump up against what appears impossible. As for me, I have a few “impossibilities” that readily come to mind.

Recently, as I thought deeply about a couple of those impossible situations in front of me, I could almost hear the Lord speak to my heart. Stopping me in my mental tracks, He spoke, “Because it’s impossible in your sight, does that mean it’s impossible in Mine?” My heart melted at His pointed reminder.

We must not allow “facts” to get in the way of the Truth.

Nothing is impossible for Him. Nothing. Not the trial staring us in the face and not the one around the corner, yet unseen. While this truth doesn’t guarantee a particular outcome, we can rest assured that His lack of ability will never be the reason for a “No” or “Not yet” answer. We serve a God who raises the dead.  Who takes a few saltines and sardines and creates a banquet for thousands.

Because it appears too difficult in your site, have you mistakenly thought it was too difficult for Him as well? Have you, like me, subconsciously marked it off your prayer list and moved it to the category of “this is impossible” list?  Like me, have you stared long at a particular challenge and in the process began trusting in your own insight and understanding rather than trusting Him, His Word and His ways?

I have no idea if your “impossible list” includes cancer or addiction. Broken vows or broken children or broken dreams. Grief or depression. Death or discouragement. But this I know, there is nothing impossible for Him. Nothing is beyond His ability. Keep praying. Keep trusting Him. He will either change your circumstance or change you in it. Perhaps both.

If it is to be a great miracle, the condition is not difficulty, but impossibility.

Streams in the Desert 10/14

As I shared at the beginning, I would much rather look you in the eye and speak this. Look you in the eye and listen as you share your impossible circumstance, tell you I’m sorry for your pain and then pray with you. I would take your hand and lift you/your circumstance to the only One who can handle it, our Lord Jesus Christ. Asking Him to strengthen you, to move mightily on your behalf and to fill you with His peace as you walk through the trial. To draw you ever closer to Him, as you lean hard on Him. And to give you authentic hope as you trust Him to do what only He can do. The impossible.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

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By the Hand

 I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt…

 I will bring you up out of the suffering and oppression of Egypt … to a land flowing with milk and honey…

Hebrews 8:9b AMPC    Exodus 3:17 AMP

I love to walk hand in hand with my husband, whether we’re power-walking trails at a nearby park or strolling through grocery store aisles. There’s something tender, personal and even “safe” about such a simple gesture. It also necessarily means that we are going away from, and then to, the same location, together.

In today’s Scripture reading we hear our Lord say this about His people, “I led them by the hand.” God, the Creator, Sustainer and Lord of all…”led them by the hand!” If that isn’t enough to blow our minds into face-to-the-floor worship, He goes on to say where He led them from, “Out of Egypt.” Let’s keep this simple. Egypt is B-A-D, full of emotional, physical and relational pain.

Though the ancient Israelites were in, and then led out of, a literal land of Egypt, you and I encounter our own versions of “Egypt” don’t we? The emotional ripping and tearing of abuse or addiction. The relational pain of pornography or divorce or loneliness. The physical challenges of our own illnesses or the searing pain of helplessly watching those we love suffer.

Beloved, He promises the same, for you and I.

Lord, enable me to find my security in You alone. Not in my spouse or children or career or bank account or service or ________, but in You alone. The utterly faithful One.

I will lead them.

By the hand.

Out of Egypt.

Our Sovereign God has not promised to whisk us away in a fairy-tale-esque escape plan. No. But He has promised to lead us out. To lead us through… step by challenging step. And miracle by miracle, if needed. Providing the manna of His Presence along the journey as He leads into our own land flowing with the milk and honey of joy in the midst of, peace in spite of. And blessing us with, “I’ve been where you are” compassion and empathy.  Handing us a testimony that shouts His great faithfulness that led us by the hand through the wilderness and out of our own Egypts, right into the promise land of fulfilling His purposes in us, and for us.

God is God. Because He is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will, a will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.

Elisabeth Elliot

My Lord, Such tenderness and compassion You show through the promise to lead Your people (which includes me!!) by hand… out of my Egypt and into the promise land where I will testify of Your great faithfulness to restore and deliver. I love You beyond words. In Jesus’ name, Amen

 Written by Becky White for Jesus

So that…

As He passed along, He noticed a man blind from his birth. His disciples asked Him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?  Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.    John 9:1-3 AMPC / NASB

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 1 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV

While Jesus took time to actually notice the man born blind, and now begging for a living, His disciples landed on another approach.  Observing the overwhelming trial the man endured, they wanted to know why he was born blind in the first place. “What did he or his family do to deserve this?”, they asked, with an implied assumption. Not exactly empathy in action. Jesus explained, “This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in Him.” I’ll be the first to admit, being born blind in that culture isn’t something I would have volunteered for.  And yet, this man was given the honor of being used so that … his life and eventual healing might be used to display God’s glory.

Later, the Apostle Paul tells us that God comforted him, so that he might be able to comfort others with the same comfort he had received. God allowed painful trials into Paul’s life, so that his need would drive him to the God of all comfort. So that … he could authentically comfort others.

Hospital bracelet

Now, let’s get real world. I have a few “so that” scenarios in my own life (I bet you do too). My first-born daughter, Tiffany Anne, died at three days old… Gut-punch excruciating. As I look back at that tragedy, it was through her death that I gave my life to Christ.

So that I might surrender to the Saviourand glorify God.

Foot prints

Fourteen years later, I gave birth to a still-born son. Yet another horrific ache that words cannot adequately express. I can’t as easily see the “why” of his death, but through such profound loss, God has graced me with authentic empathy and compassion for others who suffer and long to know “why.”

So that I might share the comfort I received… and glorify God.

Heart surgery aftermath

Just over a year ago I suffered a health emergency that nearly took my life, and that included months of rehabilitation. Out of that trial came more empathy and a devotional book (Stony Paths, learning to trust Him on the stony paths of real life) with a message of encouragement for those who walk through their own stony paths

So that I might offer authentic hope… and glorify God.

And of course, the ultimate, so that, is Jesus Christ giving His life as a ransom for us. Living a sinless life, suffering, dying and rising from the dead … so that you and I might have a way to the Father.

Let’s bring it back home. What “so that” situations have been allowed into your life? Think it through. Hold them up to the light. Is there a tragedy or a difficulty that God has graced you with so that….? Allow Him to use your life, and all you’ve endured, as a display of His glory.

We must understand that for God to give “songs in the night,” He must first make it night.

C. H. Spurgeon

Father, Oh how I long to bring glory to Your great name!  I hand You all that has touched my life, use it as an illustration of Your goodness, faithfulness and a display of Your glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

God is for You

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?

You have taken account of my wanderings;

Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?

This I know, God is for me.

Psalm 56:3-5,8-9 NASB

“This I know, God is for me. He loves me and He has a good plan for my life.” Many years ago, at the encouragement of a friend, I spoke that phrase out loud several times a day. For months. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I mumbled, cried and choked out the words rather than boldly speaking it out in some grand faith proclamation. During that season of near overwhelming difficulty, I saw no outward evidence that He was for me. Truth be told, it looked and felt the opposite. Yet I made the choice to purposefully speak out what I, soul-deep, knew to be true.

I knew, because I knew my Father. I knew because I knew His Word and His complete faithfulness to honor what He says. God was for me. Admittedly I didn’t know much else. I would have been unable to articulate how He was going to move on my behalf or why I had to walk through such seasons of testing and trials…but this I knew… God was for me, regardless of my outward circumstances.

Years have passed since I walked those darkened halls of difficulty when in desperation, I reminded my spirit out loud of the Truth. Since then, I have strolled through a few rose-strewn paths, as well as having nearly crawled through a few more valleys of pain. And I have come to realize, that whether it’s a deep valley or handling the frustrations of everyday life, I must call that same simple truth to mind. Daily.  (Of course, God being for us doesn’t mean we’re handed a collection of magic wands to wave away trials.)

And what about you?  Have real-life trials smacked you between the eyes, or have the ordinary, routine challenges of everyday life caused a limp in your walk? Would you be willing to take the decades old advice given to me? Look your trial square in the eye and then speak out loud, “this I know, God is for me, He loves me and He has a good plan for my life.” Whatever our circumstance, He is worthy of our trust.

“There are no ‘ifs’ in God’s Kingdom. His timing is perfect. His will is our hiding place. Lord Jesus, keep me in Your will.

Corrie Ten Boom

My Lord Jesus, I rest in Your sovereign control over all I face and rest on the bedrock knowledge that You are for me. Astounding. You. Are. For. Me. Enable me to receive that, and walk in it.  in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Written by Becky White for the Lord Jesus

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