Tag Archives: trials

Three Responses to Adversity

– Joe Fornear

Driving away that day, I was stunned yet incredibly moved by my friend’s response to her situation. cross maze - 9-11-14How could she have such a great attitude? She could not swallow, talk, walk or eat. She had come from California for cancer removal surgery and a week of recovery in a Dallas hospital. Instead, she had four surgeries followed by a major stroke which paralyzed one side of her body, and a four month ever-extending stay in Dallas medical centers. As a Stage IV melanoma survivor, I had some rough moments of my own. Yet I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to have her set of challenges.

(For more on Joe’s journey, reply to this email and ask for his free ebook, My Stronghold).

During several visits in the last few months, she has tried many times to speak to me. But I’ve managed to understand only one sentence the entire time, and that only because she said it with such amazing clarity. Her sheer determination somehow pushed through the fog of the stroke and she said, “No matter what happens, I’ll stay with Him.” Wow.

In a CaringBridge post, another friend with pancreatic cancer provides a clue on how to have this type of attitude. He and his wife mined a gem from Warren Weirsbe’s commentary on the book of Ruth about three responses to adversity.

“When trouble comes to our lives, we can do one of three things: endure it, escape it, or enlist it. If we only endure our trials, then trials become our master, and we have a tendency to become hard and bitter. If we try to escape our trials, then we will probably miss the purposes God wants to achieve in our lives. But if we learn to enlist our trials, they will become our servants instead of our masters and work for us; and God will work all things together for our good and His glory.”

The concept of “enlisting our trials” may seem a bit slippery, but if enlisting them makes trials slaves and not masters, I’m motivated to figure out how to hold on. So here are three foundational beliefs that might help us to enlist trials.

  • God is far bigger than my trials – I’m not a helpless victim of fate. He has allowed this in my life and with a snap of His finger could remove them.
  • God is so good that He would not cause me to suffer for no reason. Though I don’t understand His purposes, He does, and I eventually will too.
  • God is hanging on to me, so I don’t have to panic when I’m feeling overwhelmed!

Enlisting trials won’t make them easy, but it will cut them down to manageable size. This is why my friend had it so right, “No matter what happens, I will stay with Him.” Where else would we go?

How to Master Your Human Race

-Joe Fornear

In the human “race” we all have a course marked out for us – a path God allows for His highest purposes. Sometimes the course is a pleasant power walk around a soft, oval track. At times it’s a crawl over vast stretches of unforgiving wilderness.runner - 8-7-14

The imagery of life as a race was used by the author of Hebrews when writing to a group of Christ followers. They were reeling from the violent reaction to their new found faith in Jesus. Some had been imprisoned and others had their possessions confiscated (Hebrews 10:34). Many were wondering if the fight was even worth it. Did you ever feel like your race may not be worth it? I have. During my battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma, I felt imprisoned by bed rails while cancer carted off huge chunks of my valuables – time, health, finances and well-being.

Yet for perspective, spending time in the literal wilderness was a common leg in the journey of many of God’s favorites. Abraham, Moses, Jacob, Joshua, Caleb, Elijah, David, Paul, even Jesus, did some laps in the desert. John the Baptist knew his course would eventually lead there, so early on in his ministry he just picked out a desert cave!

So considering the ways of The Great Charter of Courses, I wonder if we spend too much time trying to change our journey and not enough time mastering its challenges. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should diligently and boldly seek course change – be it physical healing or deliverance from a rough situation. Even Jesus sought a Plan B route before His crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane! Yet there is a stumbling block in forgetting to move forward while we wait for circumstantial change. Hebrews describes this tendency to get off track as being “encumbered” or “entangled” – neither are good when we’re trying to run.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

So what are these encumbrances and entanglements? To name a few:

  • Self-pity – Giving our troubles way too much power.
  • Resentment – A grudge against another – Giving another person way too much power.
  • Shame – A grudge against ourselves – Giving our own righteousness way too much power.
  • Discontentment – A grudge against God – Giving Him too little power to satisfy our souls.

So listen up; hear the cheers from “the great cloud of witnesses” that are rooting you on each step of the way! Run your course with endurance – it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Above all, “fix your eyes on Jesus.” He not only models focus for us in the midst of trials, but as “author and perfecter of our faith,” He works that same supernatural focus into us!

Props to Coping with Crisis

-Joe Fornear

Last summer I was out on the lake in my 25-year-old boat, which you can think of as a giant fish magnet – just saying. At one point I decided to move so I started the motor and shifted into gear.boat ride - 7-11-14 Yet whenever I increased the throttle, the motor would only roar – there was no movement. A few guys stopped by to troubleshoot, until one finally towed me into the dock.

As I was pulling the boat out of the water on the trailer, I mentioned to a guy that my motor sounded great, but the boat wouldn’t go. While I was tying the boat down in the parking lot, he walked over and said, “Maybe your boat won’t go because it has no propeller.”

Sure enough the prop had come loose, spun clean off the shaft, and fallen into the lake. When the boat was in the water, no one could see that it had come off. I was embarrassed, but relieved there was a simple solution.

This boat breakdown was a bit like coping in my own strength during my Stage IV cancer battle. The Lord was “ever present” with His incredible power, but like a motor without a prop, I was not utilizing Him. I insisted on being strong in myself, and I was going nowhere slow – just drifting on the water.

I believe the key to coping with crisis is dependence on His power. In Paul’s prayer for the Colossians, the result of this dependence is great endurance, patience and joyful thanksgiving – which would come in handy in a cancer battle or in everyday life!

… being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father… – Colossians 1:11-12

Paul was no stranger to hardship. He mastered some miserable circumstances – jailings, whippings, beating and stonings. He knew what it took to not just survive, but to thrive. So like Paul, let’s allow dependence on God’s power to propel us forward into great endurance and patience, even joy.

You might be thinking: “Joy now, in the midst of my awful circumstances? No way!” But Jesus said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God!”

Are We There Yet?

– Joe Fornear

As we settle into the heat of summer, it’s easy to forget the snow and cold of another season. It seemed this past winter would never end. flower in snow - 6-16-14In the same way, trials seem like they too may never end, but they do. And they will:

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away. And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” -Revelation 21:4-5

Like little children in the back seat of our Heavenly Father’s car, we call out, “Are we there yet?” Sometimes endurance is our only choice – while God is up to something.

One thing encouraged me in the midst of the trial of my life – the concept of “seasons.” As the Lord promised in Isaiah, His Word will come to pass – perhaps not right away, but in time. For now, there may be rain, snow, even drought, but He is always sowing His seed and a harvest of blooms will come forth to prove His steadfast love toward us.

For just as rain and snow fall from heaven, and do not return there without saturating the earth, and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please, and will prosper in what I send it to do. – Isaiah 55:10-11

Wait for it… we’re not there yet, but it won’t be long. At Stronghold Ministry, we’re praying for all of you who are suffering and grieving, or in any difficult season, to find His Word faithful and true for you today.

Having Dropped Calls?

-Joe Fornear

I’ve always believed we pay far too much for something as unreliable as cell phones. call me sign- 6-2-14How many times have you been let down by the lack of a simple connection? We had to install a mini cell tower for our cell phones to work – in our own home!

Sometimes I think we see prayer like a cell phone contract. It’s hard not to expect Him to perform – to answer when we call. Reconciling this was a struggle during my battle with Stage IV cancer. If He really loved me, He should be as committed to my  well-being and comfort as I am, right?

Yet when I reviewed the “contract” – His promises in the Bible – it’s clear He never promised a struggle-free life. In fact Jesus guaranteed just the opposite:

I have spoken these things to you that in Me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world. – John 16:33.

Note He provides “peace” and “good cheer” in the midst of tribulation, not necessarily by the removal of tribulation. Although we all love when He removes them! Yet this reminds me of Psalm 23 where He “sets a table for us in the presence of our enemies.” The basis for peace and good cheer is that by His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus mastered the world’s major “glitches” – pain, suffering, sin, death, even hell (more here on His free gift of eternal life).

Supernatural coping skills can be tapped “in Him.” We too can overcome our tribulations  – through dependence on Him and calling out to Him. He can “hear you now” – your calls are not being dropped. He sometimes answers in ways we might not expect, nor prefer.

So when your battles are great and you’ve called out to Him a thousand times, don’t lose heart. He specializes in giving strength and comfort to the weary to those who call out to Him.

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2.

Father, please lift up so many of our friends who are really hurting right now. Show yourself to be comforting and empowering in the midst of their heartache, weakness and pain. You are an ever-present help in times of trouble.

Believe, Know, Laugh

– Joe Fornear

I’m not the only one who loves to watch babies laughing – one video has 30 million hits on YouTube. baby laughing - 5-9-14No doubt God teaches us a lot about ourselves through children. After all, we’ll always be children to Him. In the first couple years of life, little ones develop what’s called Object Permanence, when they realize an object exists even though out of sight. We can tell when a child first “gets it” by watching their reactions while playing peekaboo or hide-and-seek. When their parent’s face appears suddenly, some kids express relief through unrestrained joy and laughter. All is definitely well – the absence was only temporary.

In numerous promises throughout the Bible, the Lord insists He will never hide, leave, or forsake (Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5; Joshua 1:5; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 41:17). Talk about “Object Permanence” – we couldn’t get rid of Him if we tried (our post on Psalm 139).

But still, we cannot yet see His face, and the stress and isolation of intense pain can certainly cause us to question His Presence, if not His existence. I admit during my knock-down-drugged-out battle with cancer, He sometimes felt a million miles away.

Even John the Baptist questioned Jesus’ Messianic credentials… and disappearing act. What Messiah allows His wingman to rot in jail? Jesus responded, “Blessed is he who does not stumble over Me” (Matthew 11:6). God allows our lives to get hard – real hard. Yet faith can keep us from stumbling and falling. Our faith can grow very strong when tested, but only if we understand and embrace the role of trials. Purified faith brings the full assurance of His Presence – object permanence. Then as Peter says, we will know Him, and have great joy both now on earth and later forever in heaven – the ultimate in permanence:

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:6-9

One last thing about children – when things are difficult they think the difficulty is permanent. Parents are forever trying to convince their youngsters that pain and uncomfortableness is only temporary. “We’re almost there.” “The pain will go away soon.” The Lord is forever trying to convince us as well – and He absolutely loves to watch us laugh.

Unpacking Guilt

-Joe Fornear

During a high stakes health crisis, the last thing we need is to carry around a bunch of guilt. Yet during my own cancer battle, I never felt as guilty in my entire life. I had a nagging sense of not measuring up in so many areas of my life. Now some of this guilt was bogus, and some legit, but the combination made a hard situation worse. The sources of my guilt:iStock_000023227985_Small - overcoming guilt - 4-25-14

  • Getting cancer in the first place. Could I – or even should I – have avoided getting sick in the first place? Too much sun; bad diet; not proactive enough, etc.
  • Not being able to do my job. I felt so unproductive and sometimes useless.
  • So many people having to take care of me. For an uncomfortably long time, I was giving nothing back, only taking. I was supposed to be taking care of my wife, kids and church, but they were taking care of me!
  • Past sins, regrets & rocky relationships. I would have done quite a few things differently.
  • Not coping very well. Sometimes my greatest condemnation was self-imposed. At times, I was ashamed of how weak and needy I felt.

So how do we overcome guilt? My answer is we don’t, because wecan’t. The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ’s blood sacrifice is the only thing in God’s eyes that truly wipes away our sin and guilt. Still, the cleansing and forgiveness from Christ must make a difference in how we view ourselves. Otherwise we’ll try to “pay him back” or “be worthy” of His forgiveness, or some of us just beat ourselves up all day long. This payback is what the Bible calls, “dead works.”

“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” – Hebrews 9:14

Paul understood this concept well. Despite his incredible religious accomplishments, he ceased trying to develop his own righteousness. Instead he put all his faith and dependence in Jesus’ righteousness for him:

“Not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith.” – Philippians 3:9

This was not a one time exchange for Paul, it was his lifestyle. Guilt is a horrible motivator, and an even worse taskmaster. So whatever the source of your guilt, whether it is legit or bogus, trade it in for the eternal righteousness which comes from God and is absolutely free to us sinners who ask Him. Find out more on how to receive this free gift of eternal life – The Two Ways To Get To Heaven.

Can you relate to this battle with unpacking guilt? We’d love to hear from you!

3 Keys to Winning Wheel of Fortune

– by Joe Fornear

How would it feel to be called out in the Holy Bible because you weren’t getting along with another person? Euodia and Syntyche were so lucky. In Philippians 4:2, Paul pleads with them to find harmony. But what if, as is often the case in the Bible, their names reflected personality traits or symbols which led to their clashing? If so, and I think it is, there are intriguing underlying lessons here.wheel of fortune - 4-11-14 Euodia means “pleasant journey.” Syntyche means “with destiny,” a name derived from Tyche, the Greek goddess of destiny or fate. Tyche was often blamed when life was confusing and spinning out of control. The Romans called this goddess, Fortunas, who spun her “Wheel of Fortune.” The TV game show plays upon this timeless concept – life can deliver setbacks or wonderful prizes, and we all would agree that hardship clashes with the pleasantness of life. Now Clement was asked to help the two get along (Philippians 4:3). Amazingly, his name means “calm.” So to merge the symbolism of the three names, serenity brings harmony between the good times and bad. During my battle with advanced Stage IV metastatic melanoma, serenity was hard to find. Joni Eareckson, now 64, has been in a wheel chair since 17 from a diving accident and she is now also battling cancer. She knows well the titanic clashes of our inner Euodia and Syntyche: “We want a God who supports our plans, who is our “accomplice”; someone to whom we can relate as long as he is doing what we want. If he does something else, we “unfriend” him.” So how do we maintain internal serenity and friendship with God in the midst of hard times? Three keys to serenity:

  1. Trust. There is no such thing as fate, nothing happens without the permission of the Sovereign Lord of the universe – see the Book of Job. And just as Job discovered that God had a good plan which He was working behind the scenes, we know He will work all things to the good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
  2. Wait. The Lord promises and demonstrates throughout the Bible that our suffering will also be short. As Paul says, compared to eternal glory, our trials are light and momentary (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
  3. Depend. Even if we know the right responses – that we need to trust and wait – Jesus taught that without His strength and empowerment we can do nothing in our own strength (John 15:1-5). Paul added that the very same power that lifted Jesus from His grave can lift us up to supernaturally handle hard times (Ephesians 1:18-20).

Lord, we ask You to pour out Your power on us that we might rest in You no matter what happens.

Standing Firm on Those Shaky Days

– By Terri Fornear

The evil “day” in Ephesians 6:13 can feel more like an evil eternity! How do I “stand” as Paul says when things are really tough?armor - 2-28-14

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm, therefore… – Ephesians 6:10-14.

It’s funny, he uses the word stand, when I feel like I’m slipping, dodging, tripping, falling all over the place.

Standing means:

1) I have to stop! Stop battling, stop trying to figure everything out.

2) Admit my ways are not working.

3) Realize this thing is bigger than me and my abilities.

4) Put on the invisible armor, God’s armor… HIS righteousness, truth, peace, grace, and faith. Stand in HIS work and strength.

Now, as the darts are coming, the confusion rising, the battle raging… NOW, as I stand in all of Him the war is being won. Don’t look around, feel His Life now! Then, He promises:

After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. – 1 Peter 5:10

The F Word and Cancer – Focus

– By Joe Fornear

Not a day goes by that I don’t read or hear the f bomb dropped on cancer, or the phrase “cancer sucks.” Trust me, I totally understand the sentiment, and I’m not in judgment mode here. Nor am I wishing to lecture anyone on how to live.walk on water - 2-18-14

I’m just wondering about the wisdom of focusing on how bad something is in order to cope or overcome it. Can we give our trials too much power, thereby making them even harder to overcome?

I speak from experience here. During my battle with advanced Stage IV metastatic melanoma, there were times I vented externally at cancer, and sometimes my venting was strictly internal. Still, the result was the same – the cancer got bigger and my God became smaller. Venting is the antithesis of praising God.

I think God illustrated forever the power of focus during the storms of life through Peter’s walk on water. When Peter kept his gaze on Jesus he was able to stay above water. When he focused on obstacles, the wind and waves, doubts overcame him and he sunk.

Now fortunately, there is a Plan B if we find ourselves sinking or under water. I have discovered, like Peter, that the Lord graciously responds to that simple prayer, “Lord, help me.” He always lifts us up with His strong right hand.

Still, He prefers we learn how to stay on top of our circumstances. The secret is to keep focusing on how big God is! He is the God who flung 300 billion stars across our Milky Way galaxy, which is just one of 100 billion galaxies in the universe. So do the math. Which is bigger, God or cancer? There is no comparison… so why focus on how bad cancer is? Eyes on Him.

Mountain Moving – a Shovel at a Time

– By Joe Fornear

Once there was a gardener whose daily job was to move a half ton of dirt. He was worn out at the end of each day, yet the load was manageable. Some days he was focused and peaceful even when he encountered obstacles. At other times, he didn’t feel so strong, he doubted his ability to keep on moving the dirt. The daily mounds began to morph together, forming an immovable and overwhelming mountain — in his mind.shovel - dirt - 2-6-14

He discovered the solution when he trained himself to approach his work…

  • One shovel at a time…
  • One wheel barrow load at a time…
  • One day at a time.

Sure, sometimes God will move our mountains in a flash. Yet sometimes a mountain of troubles is moved “a shovel at a time” by His enduring power through us. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Lord promises all the coping power we’ll ever need to match our loads.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

Keep in mind He only dispenses grace in real time – moment-by-moment. In other words, we won’t get tomorrow’s grace today. So don’t allow your daily loads to form a mountain in your imagination. Tackle each load with His power one day at a time, shovel by shovel. Jesus said it all in Matthew 6:25-34:

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Read Jesus’ words again – very slowly, applying His advice to every challenge you face. If He says there are no worries – then there must not be any worries! He’s got you in His grip.

Lord, we know You don’t always move every mountain, so give us the power to handle our trials today.

Face Time – Living in the Presence

– By Joe Fornear

Our struggles can appear so high, wide, and long – sometimes insurmountable to us. Yet appearances are a poor monitor of the multidimensional realities of God.bread of life - 10-23-13

When the Lord set up the temple worship system in Exodus, He illustrated His proximity to us with the placement of a simple food in the innermost chamber of the temple.

“And you shall set the showbread on the table before Me always” – Exodus 25:30.

This showbread was to be ever-present, always fresh, always warm, and eaten daily by the priests. Literally translated “bread of the presence (or face),” the Lord offers His very presence, even His face, as food for our spirits. Jesus echoed this concept by offering Himself as the Bread of Life for our spiritual hunger (John 6:35).

In the desert experiences of life we may allow ourselves to be starved from Him. Our greatest temptation may be to basically give up on God. As I look back to my battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma, three things tripped me up:

  • Disappointment with God – I had not asked for what seemed like a senseless detour, and I wanted my life back. Yet He brought me to a place of surrender — not to the cancer — but to embrace His plan to fight together with Him, not against Him.
  • Expectations on God – If God was with me, shouldn’t the cancer immediately go away? No, He showed me there were higher purposes even in the fight, accomplishing eternal goals with His presence in and through me.
  • Numbness about God – At times in my pain and confusion I stopped hoping. Sure I was worn out, but my spiritual numbness was also a form of self-protection. Fortunately, He grabbed me by the hand and walked me through the fog of the war.

Our lives might be totally different than what we envisioned. Still, He’s not left us– He’s promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). So let’s turn back to Him and ask Him to rekindle the sense of His presence.

Lord, we hurt deeply, and only You can soothe that pain – help us open back up to the reality of Your sweet Presence.

Beyond The Noise Inside My Head

– By Joe Fornear

There is a lot of “noise” about how to fight cancer. During my battle with Stage IV metastatic melanoma, there were thousands of voices advising me on sound waves - 10-11-13how to cope – and those were just the ones inside my head.

Yet there was one voice that changed everything. One word from the Lord was worth days of spinning and casting about for emotional, physical or spiritual breakthrough. His “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12) brought a peace and freedom like no other.

It’s no wonder while describing the building of Solomon’s temple, there was one very curious restriction on the workers — no noise from tools was to be heard in the house of the Lord:

The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built.
– 1 Kings 6:7

The context of this account shows Solomon was not against talent and hard work – there was plenty of skillful labor involved. The takeaway to me is to  develop the essential skill and work of hearing God. The temple was the place where people meet with God, and God meets with people. Above all, He is a living God; He must be “heard” to lift up His loved ones.

Prayer is a two-way conversation. Yet how do we discern which voice is His? I’m not suggesting we wait for God to speak audibly. Most often His voice is an inner reassurance; a strong sense of His presence; or a supernatural confidence that one way or another, things are going to be OK.

So whatever your trials, take a break from pounding the tools of analyzing and activity, and just sit with Him.

Lord, Your voice and truth sets us free – teach us to listen… and teach us how to listen.

Breaking Well

– By Joe Fornear

The storyline of one TV show is not so different from that of hundreds of people who are diagnosed daily. A 50-year-old father and husband is informed his cancer is Breaking Well - 7-31-13inoperable, so he launches a plan to secure his family’s financial future. What is unusual – this high school chemistry teacher uses his expertise to cook and sell a very potent brand of methamphetamine. To preserve and expand his growing nest egg, he plunges deeper into violence, and gradually embraces a drug kingpin’s lifestyle. Thus, the name of the show, Breaking Bad.

Fighting cancer has a way of breaking people. The battle changes us, leaving us above all things – different. The only question is – which direction will we break?

  • Will we allow faith or fear to reign over our lives?
  • Will we allow pain to drive us to the Lord or to drift us away from Him?
  • Will we treat people better or end up bitter?
  • Are we open to leverage our experience to help others or will we leave the battlefield asap?

In his considerable sufferings, which included stonings, beatings and physical illness (Galatians 4:13), Paul the apostle learned to break well.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Paul saw past the tyranny of the short-term demands of his pressing needs; excruciating pain; and the deliberate cruelty of others. He saw unseen but lasting realities of a loving God who has our backs; an incredible glory to be revealed; and an unfaltering hope that ultimately the entire universe will break well. In the meantime, we can trust Him in the confusion of our battles, and we too can break well.

Father, our battles are fierce, so we need Your grace and strength to respond well – we thank You for being here for us.

Hug a Caretaker Today

The Single Most Destructive Attitude We Can Have – Part 3 – Resenting Caretaking

– By Joe Fornear

The type of resentment which might be most difficult to admit is resenting caretaking. Let’s face it, the futility and helplessness of simply observing someone facing a major crisis can be overwhelming. But frustration is compounded when a caretaker invests massive amounts of time, finances, energy and emotion.Dealing w Feelings

Job’s wife was not the first or last caretaker to crack under the strain. In hopes of ending the string of tragedies visited upon her family, she snapped at her sick husband: “Do you still hold to your integrity, curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Clearly, bitterness had crept in — she even resents the fact that he was coping well!

I can’t blame Mrs. Job though. Caretakers often journey through suffering under a different set of rules than patients. Consider three contrasts:

  • Patients have no problem “making it all about me,” while caretakers feel guilty even considering their feelings, so they usually just suppress them.
  • Patients loudly proclaim that they “want their life back,” as I did during my battle, and most onlookers totally understand. Yet such statements from a caretaker will usually be considered self-centered.
  • Common courtesy is to ask people how they are doing, but if you’re a caretaker, you will first be asked about the patient. Your well-being is either an afterthought or overlooked altogether.

So how does a caretaker handle an impossible load? The answer must be to tap into the supernatural. Human love has its limits. Divine love does not. He wants to give us His love to flow through us to others. Just ask and keep asking — moment by moment.

To help unravel the feelings and frustrations of caretaking, we offer a free new resource written by a caretaker for caretakers, patients and really everyone with feelings. My wife, Terri, recently published a book called Dealing with Feelings, A Journal of God’s Promises. This book will help you separate the lies from the truth about God. Lies can creep in during hard times. It is a tool to get to the root of your emotions to resolve them Biblically. As Jesus said in John 8:32 & 36, “The truth will set you free… and if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

So send us your address and we’ll send you Dealing With Feelings for free. If you insist on paying something, just make a donation to Stronghold Ministry. And hug a caretaker today!

Father, Your Son endured the ultimate suffering for our sin, and You watched – You understand this pain. Give us Your supernatural enablement to watch and graciously help when our loved ones suffer.