One Perfect Way to Pray for Those in Crisis

img_7208“‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Luke 22:42-43

When Jesus came face to face with the greatest crisis of his earthly life—his impending crucifixion—God showed him his love.  The scripture above allows us to be witness to that tender display.

As Jesus plead with the Father to take his cup of suffering away, yet submitted to God’s will at the same time, we see the Father reach out to Jesus in love by sending one of the very angels of heaven to minister to him. And when God did this, when God showed Jesus his love, it strengthened him.

So when we watch others go through times of great difficulty or crisis—whether physical, emotional, or spiritual—one perfect way we can pray for them is by asking God to show them his love. And as God tenderly finds personally tailored ways to do just that, those hurting and struggling will experience God’s loving touch. Those in crisis will be strengthened.

Do you long to help loved ones and others in crisis today? Get down on your knees in prayer and cry out, “Lord, show them your love!”

“When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, ‘Don’t cry.’” Luke 7:13

*How has God shown you his love in a time of crisis?

*My photo

Embracing the Storms

3450217305_542343a37e_z*I wrote this piece several years ago and used it in the August 2009 issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter. The next issue comes out May 1. If you have not yet subscribed, sign-up is free and to the right!

The phone startles you awake. Your boss asks you to step into his office. An email, a text, or phone message brings you to a standstill in shocked denial. Each of these, just moments in time, intrude with the power to change everything. A storm has hit.

We’ve all been there—most of us several times. The first half of this year alone, my own little family has weathered some mighty rough waters.

First, an ongoing health crisis with my mother-in-law dominated for months before leveling out to a more stable place. Then, with no warning, our son-in-law lost his job in an economy where jobs are few but applicants are plentiful. And finally, another—and far more tragic—unexpected loss struck close to home. A good friend and her son were killed in a car accident.

Through each of these storms, as well as others I’ve experienced over the years, I’ve been reminded that we are not alone. There is a refuge. God stands ready to be our strong tower, our anchor in the storms of life. In fact, it’s during dark times when he shows us the extent of his love and gives us incredible, personal touches. Many times it’s when we’re hurting that he shows himself most tender.

A few months ago I spoke with a loved one dealing with a very private storm. She had no idea how it might eventually pass or what the final outcome would be. I suggested that she try to get past the grief of the situation—to grieve, yes, but then to try to go on as well to embrace whatever God’s will or purpose might be. In other words, I encouraged her to embrace the storm.

We can find great peace in embracing storms. Not because we enjoy them, but because we know God is working through them. Not only that, but as he walks through the storms with us, we can count on moments when he will wrap his arms of love around us and even pick us up and carry us.

I hope I remember these truths the next time a storm sweeps into my life. I hope I can find the strength to embrace it. And when I do? I’m confident I’ll find the Master of the storm already embracing me.

“When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence.” James 1:2–4, J. B. Phillips translation

*Is there a storm you need to embrace in your life right now?

*Flickr photo by jlwo, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: A Light for the Darkness

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Some of us may find ourselves in dark places today. If you’re struggling with fear, depression, grief, or life circumstances that seem hopeless, please know that you’re not alone. All of us have been there at one point or another.

The good news is that there is a Light for the darkness. If we will but look, if we will but lift our eyes, the Lord will be our light during our darkest moments. He will be our guide, our comfort, our hope. May these verses point you to him, my friends. May hope be your portion today!

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

“Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” Micah 7:8b

“You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 18:28

“‘I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.’” Isaiah 42:16

*When has the Lord been the light in your darkness?

*Flickr photo by jeet_sen, Creative Commons License

Midweek Morsel: Praise God When All Looks Lost

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What can we do when all looks lost, when the outlook for a situation can only be described as bleak? What do we do with our thoughts and feelings? What action can we take?

Many responses are possible, but let’s look at one example from God’s Word. Consider this portion of the prophet Habakkuk’s prayer in Habakkuk 3:17-19:

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

When all looks lost, let’s praise God and rejoice in him in the midst of it. He will be our strength, he will enable us to go on the heights.

*How has God helped you when all seemed lost?

*My photo

Midweek Morsel: When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

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“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God . . .” Psalm 73:16-17a

Since the earliest of times, people have been grappling with situations in life that just don’t make sense. Natural disasters, loved ones taken much too early, infertility, injustices of all sorts. The list goes on. The whole issue of why bad things happen to good people is nothing new to our generation.

In the verse above, the Psalmist Asaph, like many people today, struggled to understand why the wicked prospered. The whole dilemma was oppressive to him—until he entered the sanctuary of God. What happened then? The last half of verse 17 tells us that then he understood their final destiny.

When we’re burdened and discouraged and life doesn’t make sense, let’s remember to turn to God—to enter his sanctuary. Everything may not be made plain to us, but God will give us a fresh perspective and help us understand. He will give the peace we need to carry on.

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25

*How has God helped you when you’ve entered his sanctuary?

*Flickr photo by pdbreen, Creative Commons License

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