How Can We Avoid Putting a Bandaid on Others’ Grief and Pain?

Putting a Bandaid on Others' Grief and Pain

When Jesus singled out Peter, James, and John to sit with him in the Garden of Gethsemane, his instructions to them were brief and straightforward: "Remain here and watch." He asked them to stay in a particular place and be on guard, to be awake and be with him. Mark 14:35-36 describes Jesus's pleading prayer… Continue reading How Can We Avoid Putting a Bandaid on Others’ Grief and Pain?

Do You Ever Wonder if God Has a Reason for Your Suffering?

A Reason for Your Suffering

Now that winter with its "firm, business-like cold"1 has arrived here in Maine, bare branches open up the landscape for a good view of the horizon, but the sun does little to mitigate the monotonous gray or the hard-as-iron ground under my feet. I'll admit that most days I take to the basement exercise bike… Continue reading Do You Ever Wonder if God Has a Reason for Your Suffering?

Your On-Ramp to Comfort and Joy for Seasons of Suffering

Comfort and Joy for Seasons of Suffering

I stood today on the front deck, camera pointed upward, waiting for the wind to blow. The rain of colored leaves was more dramatic in person than in the video I was trying to make, but I know this particular beauty signals the beginning of the end: the end of a season of brightness and… Continue reading Your On-Ramp to Comfort and Joy for Seasons of Suffering

What Does Hope Look Like? (Meditations Over a Stained T-Shirt)

What Does Hope Look Like?

“Hey, do you think you can get this stain out, Mum?” He handed me his T-shirt, still warm from his body, and I assured him that boiling water would make short work of blueberry juice on cotton. As the kettle boiled and the water poured and the steam rose from the kitchen sink, I thought… Continue reading What Does Hope Look Like? (Meditations Over a Stained T-Shirt)

Why Does Evil Exist in the World?

" I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you." Habakkuk 1:5

Sunday Scripture Why is it that the big questions float to the surface unexpectedly? It's not when I'm sitting alert with open journal and quiet mind, but rather when I'm pushing a shopping cart or a vacuum cleaner hose; when I'm mixing cookie dough or scrubbing a pot, that a face comes to mind or… Continue reading Why Does Evil Exist in the World?

What Does Suffering Have to Do With Hope?

Faithfulness in the moment is our highest, and sometimes our most difficult, calling. Our assignment in times of waiting, wondering, and every form of suffering is to follow the path of hope.

Sunday Scripture My youngest son leaves for college at the end of August--or at least that's the plan. College in the age of COVID-19 involves a certain amount of uncertainty. To date, four of his seven classes have been declared "remote," but no one has even come close to answering his questions about how one… Continue reading What Does Suffering Have to Do With Hope?

Knowing God in the Midst of Our Pain

"Suffering is never for nothing." ~ Elisabeth Elliot

Elisabeth Elliot offers the most durable definition for suffering I've ever heard: Suffering is Having What You Don't Want -- This covers everything from cancer to a flat tire. Or Wanting What You Don't Have -- A spouse, a child, a new job. Life on a fallen planet includes suffering of all types and intensities,… Continue reading Knowing God in the Midst of Our Pain

A Melody Above the Noise of Your Grief

God sings a song of renewal and restoration within your pain.

Written by real people with genuine feelings--often worn closer to the surface than this stoic New Englander might like--the Bible gives voice to a full range of emotions. There is plenty of joy, lots of celebration, and this has found its way into our worship. However, we are less comfortable with the practice of biblical… Continue reading A Melody Above the Noise of Your Grief

The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

The life and legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

When Ray Rhodes, Jr. was investigating topics for his dissertation, he followed his life long interest in Charles Spurgeon and began to research Spurgeon's marriage and the spiritual element of his relationship with his wife of thirty-six years, Susannah Spurgeon. Surprisingly, his interest led him away from "the prince of preachers" and toward a more… Continue reading The Life and Legacy of Susannah Spurgeon

When You’re Sitting in the Winter Room

Better to be burned by the Word's searing statements than to dismember it in dangerous denial.

When life sends a hard turn in a direction I am not expecting, all the cracks and flaws in my theology show up.  The wheels come careening off my carefully constructed orthodoxy, leaving me in the ditch with all the prosperity gospel folks or the "Where was God?" finger pointers. When God does not “cooperate”… Continue reading When You’re Sitting in the Winter Room