Guest Blogger Jane M. Tucker: Better Days to Come

I went to bed feeling fine and woke up with a pain in my leg so acute I could barely walk. How did I injure myself while sleeping?

“It’s probably bursitis,” my doctor said.

Bursitis? Isn’t that an old people’s word?

On days like this, when my body lets me down, my thoughts sometimes turn gloomy. Will this pain last forever? I wonder. Is it a foretaste of misery to come? Getting old is not for the weak!

My earthly body is my home in this world. It’s the means by which I process all my experiences. Without it I would not be human, and if I weren’t human I would not know the Lord Jesus. I’m grateful for my body, but I know it’s not going to last forever.

In First Corinthians 15 the apostle Paul addresses the Corinthians’ doubts about the resurrection. It’s true, he tells them. Jesus’ body was resurrected, and ours will be too. Our resurrected bodies will be different from our natural ones, just as a seed planted in the ground is different from a stalk of wheat. “The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” (I Cor 15:42-44 NIV)

The promise of an imperishable body makes my current imperfect one bearable. Someday eyeglasses and allergies and random bouts of pain will end for me. Maintaining my health becomes a means to serve the Lord, not the focus of my life.

The promise of a body raised in glory and power makes me look differently at my appearance. I do what I can to be neat and attractive. But I don’t see any reason to put time and money into looking younger than I am. Someday I’ll look much better than I do right now. I can wait for that.

The promise of my natural body being raised a spiritual body reminds me of my purpose on earth. I’m not here to glorify self, but to work hard for the glory of the Lord.

Friend, are you struggling with the aches and pains of growing old? If you know the Lord Jesus, you have every reason to hope for better days to come.

“We . . . would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8 NIV

Jane M. Tucker is a lifelong writer and reader with a deep love for the art of storytelling. Her Midwestern roots inspire the stories she tells, both in her books and on her blog, Postcards from the Heartland. Jane is the author of the Lottie Braun series, about an Iowa girl with a big gift for music, and the family she loves with all her heart. Lottie’s Gift, Lottie’s Hope, and Lottie’s Freedom are available at Amazon.com and Crossrivermedia.com.

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Thank you, Jane, for sharing your encouraging thoughts with us this week!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early May. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

Photo used with permission from Picmonkey.com Stock Photos

Where Is God When Times Are Bad?

“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.” Ecclesiastes 7:14 NIV

Nothing like a little gem from God’s Word to put things in perspective, huh?

Why is it, I wonder, we are so quick to thank God and acknowledge his presence and hand in the awesome blessings that come our way, but when something bad happens, we say, “Where were you, God? Why did you let that happen?”

When tough times come, has God really stepped away from us? When painful events descend, has he removed his hand from our lives?

If we believe the Word of God—and in particular the above verse from Ecclesiastes—no, God is not an aloof observer when our world is falling apart. He allows grief, hardship, and pain to touch our lives and will use those experiences for good in some way.

Romans 8:28 (KJV) says, ” And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The question is will we believe that truth and trust God when we are hurting?

Let’s remember that we are dearly loved children of God (1 John 3:1), and he stands ready, just as we do with our children, to help and comfort us through our bad times. Let’s not let our trials distance us from our Father. Let’s draw close to him and let him carry us, trusting all the while that he will not waste our pain.

“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone. ” Lamentations 3:32-33 NIV

*How has God used your pain to bring about something good?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early February. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*My photo

Undone by the Gift of Our Savior

4161935408_9b02a46dd9_zLast year at this time, my husband Don was enduring a season of pain like he’d never known before. On November 15, 2014, he fell roof-high from a ladder and fractured his spine in eight places. He was laid up at home for almost two months before he could attempt a return to a modified work schedule. He needed pain medication on a regular basis for a while. It was rough.

One day during December while I had a favorite Christmas cd playing and “Joy to the World” was wafting through the air, I went in to check on Don and he was crying. He was completely undone by the gift of our Savior.

He said, “He could have come down from the cross. He could have come down. But he stayed. He suffered. For me.” Because of the pain Don had been enduring, the fact that Jesus came to earth to die a painful death to pay for our sins took on a whole new level of meaning for him. Our “Joy to the World” came at a great cost. A cost Jesus was willing to pay.

As we listen to and sing the carols of Christmas this year, let’s listen and sing as if it’s the first time we’ve heard or sung them. Let’s be touched afresh by them. Let’s come undone by the gift of our Savior.

Why not start with “Joy to the World”? I’ll print the words below. Let’s glory in its message together today!

“Joy to the world , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the world, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.”
*lyrics by Isaac Watts

*Has a carol of Christmas ever taken on special meaning for you?

*Flickr photo by jeffweese, Creative Commons License

Sometimes We’re Fragile

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Fragile

A wave larger than me
hits from out of nowhere,
crashing over me
engulfing me
but I’m not at the beach.
The only wetness I feel
is that of my tears
flowing as from a faucet
triggered by the tiniest
memory or thought,
brought on by the barest hint
by just a glance of the familiar.
With quick hand to my face
I try to catch the sob,
try to soften its effect
to hide my vulnerability
to protect others from the wave,
from the grief that’s now my portion.
The unexpected loss overwhelms,
I’ve never felt so fragile
not knowing when the wave
will wash over me again.
I’d be in despair
crushed without hope
if not for the Lord
if not for his love and peace.
But he’s with me
giving strength for each step
lifting my face to his light
holding my fragile heart
in his hand
supporting my frame
with the love and comfort
of family and friends.
Life is fragile
and sometimes so are we,
but that’s okay—
that’s when love swoops in
and carries us,
that’s when the Lord
tenderly wipes our tears.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

*How has the Lord upheld you when you’ve felt fragile?

*Flickr photo by jenny downing, Creative Commons License

A Painful Mercy

Sometimes God says no to our most earnest requests. We plead, we bargain, we pour out our hearts’ deepest desire and still he doesn’t give us the answer we long for. Other times his answer is wait. And sometimes we’ve already waited an excruciatingly long time as it is.

These answers of no and wait—and wait some more—can really hurt. After all, we’re not talking about casual, wouldn’t-it-be-nice kinds of requests. We’re talking about earnest requests. Requests born of desperation, heartache, and deep need. So when our deepest desires are not granted, the accompanying pain and disappointment run deep as well.

What we may not realize is that God’s painful no or wait  may in fact be a painful mercy. He alone knows all the results a yes might bring. He alone knows the future. When it appears he’s withholding our heart’s desire, he instead may be saving us from an even greater grief.

Many of you know that our family has been experiencing a season of waiting for quite some time now. During this period, the answer no has been our portion time and again. We’ve dealt with heartache over and over and have not understood why God is answering the way he is.

But what if we—and what if you in your situation—could see into the future, could see what God sees. Maybe our family would see a turn of events that would be more devastating than the current answer of no or keep waiting. How about you? What might you see in your future? I think we all might see that God’s no may in fact be a painful mercy.

It all boils down to trust, doesn’t it? Even when the answers we want don’t come, will we trust God? Will we continue to believe that he loves us and has good things in store for us? Will we acknowledge that he may be planning to give us something even better than our original request?

Don’t get me wrong—trust is not a pat answer. Trust doesn’t negate the pain. But it does bring peace. It does keep hope alive. It does acknowledge that God alone knows the future and that he will indeed walk with us through times of painful mercy.

“Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

*Have you experienced a painful mercy in your life?

*Flickr photo by minniemouseaunt